How to Improve Your Studying Environment
As an online student, you may have a variety of environmental barriers that interfere with your ability to study. These could include living in a dorm, with children, or other relatives who may interrupt your study time. This post aims at providing some strategies to improve your environment when completing work and studying for your online course.
Find or setup a location for you to work on your online course. Figure out what works best for you.
This might include going to the library or to the local coffee shop. You may even decide to create a space at your house (e.g. office space or desk space) for such work. Having your own space is ideal as it can provide you with an area to organize course materials.
Be aware of the noise level you can handle without getting distracted.
Some individuals like to have a certain level of noise to complete their work. For instance, you may prefer the silence and quiet of the library or you may prefer the background noise of a coffee shop. Personally, I like listening to classical music as I am working on my own work as a graduate student. I find that it is just the right amount of background noise without distracting me from the task at hand.
With that being said, try to minimize distractions, specifically social networking sites.
Life is full of distractions, therefore, it may be difficult to get rid of them all. However, you can try to eliminate or minimize your biggest triggers. For example, maybe working early in the morning or in the evening (not too late) may be one way to avoid familial and/or friend distractions. Another big distraction could be social media and online games. There are several different types of software (some free, some paid) that will allow you to block sites that distract you. Another suggestion is creating a separate user just for work purposes.
Put the phone away.
I put this in its own category since distractions due to our phones can be a separate, albeit connected, issue. Checking our social media sites, emails, as well as receiving text messages, we are inundated with things that distract us. My suggestion is either turning your phone on silent (and possibly even turning it over so you cannot see notifications pop up) or completely turning it off. You will be less tempted to check your cellphone if you cannot see notifications.
Organize your study space.
This does not just mean organizing your study space physically (e.g. setting up a home space). This could also mean organizing your computer so that you can find important documents/files with ease.
Ensure your study space has proper lighting.
If the lighting is too dim, this may make it difficult to read materials or cause you to strain your eyes. To avoid this, try to work in brightly lit environments (natural light is typically better) where you can see all of the information on the page.
Keep a positive attitude.
It may be difficult to keep a good attitude if you feel distracted or frustrated. However, remaining committed to your online learning will surely help you overcome any challenges you may encounter when taking an online course.
Good luck in setting up your online learning environment.
Questions? Contact me!
The following references were used to provide a brief snapshot on strategies for successful online learning environments (all links retrieved on 6/18/15).
- California State University, Fullerton. Tips for becoming a successful online learner.
- Concordia University Saint Paul. 5 strategies for creating a good study environment.
- eLearning Industry. 5 ways to optimize your learning environment for better results.
- Touro College. 10 tips for successful online studying environments [Infographic].
- Western Governors University. 11 ways your study environment affects productivity (And how you can improve it).