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We’ve all engaged with online learning at some point and some may be quite immersed now as current students. Even if you have set routines, it always helps to remind ourselves of small changes that can have a big impact on our experience and maximize learning effectiveness.

Shut down unproductive screen time during class and when working on assignments or reading. We are glued to our phones these days, but social media and texts distract from the task at hand. Put aside the phone (even in another room!) and turn off notifications (except for emergency contacts) for a few hours to focus and concentrate. Let people know your class and study times and ask them not to contact you during those times. They’ll be glad to support you!  Class time may be online, but it’s best for your brain to take notes with a physical pen and paper. The process of writing activates different parts of your brain and reduces eye strain from extensive screen time.

Don’t waste time multitasking. “But I thought multitasking saved time?” Nope. Researchers have found that the mental effort required to switch from one task to another takes more time than focusing on one activity. Multitasking also increases errors and reduces overall productivity. The more complex a task is, the more time is wasted.

Take breaks. Allow your brain to rest, instead of trying to get something else done. Take deep breaths, close your eyes, look up at the sky. Rest allows your brain to process new information and ready itself to learn more. When studying or working on a project, take a 10-15 minute break for every hour spent on task. Walk away from the screen, take a short walk, or listen to a favorite song.

Celebrate the small things. The human brain works on a reward system. By rewarding ourselves when we complete a task, the brain produces dopamine and strengthens our motivation to perform that task or behavior again. So give yourself a shout out! Be your own cheerleader! Marking each success is a reminder  you’re one step closer to crossing the commencement stage.

Note: If using a phone for class, stop and get a loaner laptop from the school, or look out for sales and purchase an inexpensive chromebook or tower. For help, contact a digital navigator with the City of Philadelphia.

Sourced from Goodwin University