Experts give their top five tips for remote learning
Online learning has become the new normal since last March, and since the most recent lockdown was announced, searches for how to learn new skills online have increased by 218%, suggesting more people want to utilise their spare time at home to learn.
Research collated by The University of Law (ULaw) reveals searches for ‘online law degree’ are up 83% from January 2019 to December 2020. However, when lockdown was introduced in March, searches increased 217% compared to at the start of 2019. With the approval of the new SQE courses in October, ‘online law degree’ saw a huge 456% spike in searches.
Furthermore, searches for ‘online business degree’ also saw a huge increase of 8,800% from January 2019 to December 2020. Interestingly, in 2019, business and administrative studies had the highest university enrolment numbers of any subject, enrolling 358,480 students. This is unsurprising, as a business manager’s salary is £43,074 on average; nearly 21% more than the average advertised salary.
With ULaw's online campus showing a 99% uplift in students enrolled last year, making it the University’s largest campus, Carol, Campus Dean at The University of Law Online, shares their top tips to get the most out of studying and learning online:
1) Don’t work in isolation
Just because you’re at home, does not mean that learning online needs to be an isolating experience. Communicating and collaborating with others online should be an integral part of studying as it gives you opportunities to test ideas by listening and responding to other learners, and allows you to share concerns and offer support so we do not feel alone.
Luckily, online technology creates a number of options with collaborative software, webinars, video messaging, discussion forums, and blogs.
2) Set a routine
Setting a routine is very important so you can plan how you’ll spend your time effectively. Carol said: “Try to follow your ordinary routine as much as possible. Get up at the same time as normal, follow your usual morning routines, and go to bed at your usual time. Set alarms to remind you of your new schedule if that helps.
“Setting a routine can be an effective aid to good time management. Success as a learner depends on managing study time well; this will require organising one’s time and planning where study will take place. Having an effective strategy for managing study time will help.”
3) Minimise risk to physical and mental health
With the winter weather and new lockdown restrictions, it can be easy to slip into bad habits and neglect things that keep our physical and mental health in good shape.
Carol suggested: “Make a conscious effort to eat a nutritious diet with plenty of water and try to partake in an enjoyable form of exercise each day.”
4) Test yourself
Testing yourself is one of the best ways to boost learning - even if you’re simply practicing on your own, and not taking a high-stakes exam.
Testing is more effective than other methods because it requires you to not just remember the material you’ve learnt but shows how well you can use that in different situations.
5) Take regular breaks
The brain has two modes - focused and diffused. While in focused mode, you're able to learn the nitty-gritties of a problem. In diffused mode, you're better able to see the big picture and bring it all together. Therefore, it's important to let your brain relax for a while after a particularly intense session of study or practice, to give it time to see the bigger picture.
One good way to practice this is using the Pomodoro technique, which has you work on a project for 25 minutes, and then give yourself a 5-minute break. After four such sessions (that is, 100 minutes of work, with 15 minutes of break) you take another break for 15-30 minutes. This technique helps to keep your mind invigorated and ensures you don't suffer mental fatigue.
Carol commented: “It’s interesting to see the huge uplift in searches for both ‘online law degree’ and ‘online business degree’ during these uncertain times.
“Whether you’re working from home, in education, or simply find yourself with some extra time on your hands, learning a new skill can be a really fun and rewarding process.
"Developing new skills or getting your degree online also means there are a whole host of tools and resources immediately available at your fingertips, whether that’s from a home office or even from the comfort of our beds.”