In response to the global Covid-19 pandemic, many educational institutions have transitioned from in-person to online learning. For students who are used to classroom settings, a different learning setting can pose new challenges, especially when trying to remain productive and motivated. Here are some strategies to adapt to an online learning environment.

In this unprecedented time, it’s important that we support one another and find ways to make the transition easier. Whether it is creating a special space for learning, or making an effort to stay in touch with loved ones, there are many strategies that can help ease the transition to learning from home, while also maintaining focus and productivity.

Go to sleep and wake up at the same time as you usually do
Even though you are learning from home, it’s important to structure your day as you normally would on a standard school day. Keeping your normal sleep schedule will help you maintain normalcy and prevent you from being too tired during the day.

Change into the same clothes that you would normally wear outside
While the thought of working in your comfortable pajamas may seem attractive, putting on daytime clothes you would normally wear outside home puts your brain into “work-mode,” giving you the mindset needed to perform better. It will also prevent you from panicking if an instructor chooses to enable the “video” feature on a live class session.

Set a clear timetable for what you plan to do
Organising your day into concrete tasks that you want to accomplish will help keep you focused and on-track. Be sure to also schedule in regular breaks, ideally at the same time that you would typically take a break at school. This will help your mind to concentrate throughout the day.

Create a learning space at home
Choosing a dedicated spot in your home from which you will work can also help you maintain focus. If possible, try to avoid working from your couch, bed, or anywhere else normally associated with resting. The learning space should be free of clutter, so as to put you in a “work-mode” mindset.

Set self-imposed deadlines
Especially for more open-ended projects, setting yourself a deadline will keep you more focused and productive as you watch the clock. When you’ve met a deadline, celebrate your success and treat yourself to a reward.

Practice physical activity and maintain a healthy diet
With no classrooms to walk to, sports games to play, or gyms to exercise in, it can be easy to neglect your health when spending all day at home. Making an effort to exercise during your breaks and maintaining a healthy diet is important for both your physical and mental health. Whether it is through doing some push-ups between assignments or replacing unhealthy snacks with healthier options, there are many easy ways to ensure you can keep healthy while working from home.

Reach out when you have questions
While in class it is easy to raise your hand or approach your instructor when you have questions. It can feel difficult to get help when studying from home. If you need help with a concept, it is important to reach out and ask for help. How you do this depends on your school’s system. If your classes have moved to live online sessions, take advantage of opportunities to participate in discussions or ask questions. Along with keeping you engaged with your coursework, this will also keep you focused on what you are learning. Otherwise, there are also many resources online which can help to explain challenging concepts.

Try to avoid distractions
From interruptions to notifications, studying from home can make it difficult to stay focused. When choosing where to work, try to find a spot where you will have the least noise and distractions. To avoid procrastination, some students download a website blocker that temporarily blocks social media sites while they are working. You may also want to turn off notifications on your computer and put your phone away (ideally out of sight) while doing your schoolwork.

Make an extra effort to stay connected with others
Physical distancing doesn’t have to mean social isolation. While you may no longer be able to spend as much time in person with your friends and family members, it is important that you stay connected with your loved ones. Video calls and online messaging applications can help relieve the isolation of being confined to your home.

Take some time to disconnect
While it can be easy to immerse ourselves online, this is also an opportunity to engage in other forms of learning, and to complete projects that you have delayed working on at home, or read new books.