It is almost impossible to avoid online education nowadays. Pre and post-pandemic, virtual education has been increasing in popularity. We recently shared an article featuring the advantages and disadvantages of virtual education in healthcare. There are positives and negatives, we know that for sure. We also know that digital education is here to stay in healthcare education and beyond. So with that, we are sharing key tips for succeeding with virtual education.
Manage Your Time Wisely
There is often an unconscious assumption that virtual courses require less of your time. In some ways that may be true – you do not have to get dressed for class and there is no commute. But, that is where the time-saving ends. If you approach online learning with the mindset that it will require less time commitment, you will set yourself up for possible failure. Online learning takes time. Your course curriculum and syllabus should specify the approximate time required for the course. It is vital you familiarize yourself with the suggested study and participation time suggestions.
If Your Class Includes Participation, You Need to Participate
Online education does not mean you do not need to interact. In fact, most, if not all classes require some form of interaction, whether it be discussion forums, video calls, group sessions, and/or live lecture streaming. Again, be sure to check the class syllabus and requirements. Participation will typically be a part of your grade for the course. You do not want to needlessly affect your grade because you ignored the participation guidelines.
Create a Productive Study Environment
Where will you study? The kitchen table may not be the best place for you to get focused studying and coursework done. The kitchen table is an example because it happens to be a common study place, and for some of us, spaces like the kitchen or the living room couch are the only places we have available. If you have few options, use what you have, but of course, a dedicated, private space is best.
Whichever space you use, align it so it works for you. Make it the best space possible. Do this with any workspace you will be using. For example, if using a table, clear it of clutter. If it is dirty, take a few moments to clean it. Also, tell family members you are studying and you need to focus. Also, consider options like going to local coffee shops. They may offer you more space and less personal distraction.
Test out what environment works best for you and then stick with the one where you are most productive and focused.
Establish a Schedule for Participation and Study
When will you study? When will you attend class online? When will you do your online participation tasks? One challenge of virtual education is self-motivation. You have to motivate yourself to show up and do the work. Setting a schedule helps you stay on track. It helps you organize your daily priorities and ensures you are fitting in time for classwork, study, and participation. This maximizes your chance of success.
Use the Appropriate Technology
Do you have the tools you need for class? This is not about going out and buying an expensive computer that is beyond your budget. But it is about assessing your software and hardware to make sure you are ready for class. For example, if your computer does not have a functioning webcam, but your class requires you to attend web classes where you are on camera, you will need to either use another device or get a webcam.
The most important thing is that you prepare ahead of time. Do not wait until the class begins to start scrambling for the right equipment. Doing so may cause you to miss class activities and you will start the class off on the wrong foot.
Similar to most industries, online education in healthcare has become popular, whether we like it or not. The best way to cope with this evolving method of learning is to find the best tools and strategies for effective class participation and study habits. Do what you can to set yourself up for success.