Study tips for online learning

Tyler York
Man learning at home

The alarm goes off and another day welcomes you. 

In these not-so-ordinary times, waking up means looking out your window and starting your day plugging into the virtual world and saying good morning to colleagues through video thumbnails. What used to be a mad rush to get out of the house and face the work day traffic, has been replaced with going through emails in comfortable sweats. 

Yet even with the new reality, many companies still need their employees to pass their licensing and professional exams, like the FINRA SIE or FINRA Series 7 in the financial planning industry. Like it or not, you’re being thrown into online learning.

While learning from home may take some adjustment, it’s actually pretty manageable with some small adjustments to your workflow and routine. As an online-only learning company, we’ve compiled some study tips for young professionals like you to learn from home or take an online class effectively.

Study tips start and end with your environment
Photo by Izabelle Acheson on Unsplash

Study tip #1: Create physical and mental space

Quarantine means being at home, often with your roommates, partner, or family. It’s hard enough having to concentrate on your work at the office – now you can watch TV or talk to someone in your household whenever you want.

In order to learn effectively, you need to create physical and mental space for learning. Find a desk, table, or seat that you can consistently claim as your study area. Keep it neat and organized, and do your best to only study when you’re in that space. That way, you will train your brain to switch to study mode when you sit down there.

Study tip #2: Have a plan

Working from home has many temptations – your bed, your television, or even your friends or partner. To avoid getting distracted when learning online, you have to set plans and goals to achieve them. Hold yourself accountable for how many hours of studying or chapters of the material you want to do in a given week. Even better, make this plan public with others in your household so they can support your goals and hold you accountable.

Example of a study schedule

Study tip #3: Block your schedule

Avoiding distractions is critical to being able to learn effectively online. You can’t learn when you’re on a conference call or talking to your spouse – your brain requires focused concentration to retain new information. 

It’s also so easy to sit down for what is supposed to be an online learning session only to spend much of that time on Facebook or Reddit.

The best way to avoid distractions, hold yourself accountable, and “have a plan” is to block out study time on your calendar. We recommend doing this weekly. It helps you force yourself to stick to your study schedule and pre-plan how many hours of studying you will do that week.

Notes
Photo by Matt Ragland on Unsplash

Study tip #4: Write good notes

As old school as it may sound, taking notes is still the most effective way to create helpful references and guides. And it’s no different when taking an online class, especially if it’s a webinar or conference format that includes other attendees or students. This form of active studying will help you remember what is being taught and gives you a homemade set of study material for everything you learn.

Study tip #5: Take a break

Online classes are developed to be as immersive as possible, but it’s natural to have your attention fade after studying consistently for an extended period. Taking breaks is the easiest and most effective way to maintain your focus over long periods of time. We recommend one five to ten minute break every hour of studying, but do whatever works best for you.

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