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  • Harneet Sumal

Tips for Online Learning

By: Harneet Sumal, Contributing Writer

Education has been forced to change from in-person instruction to online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It may seem more efficient to some, considering the flexibility of time and learning pace it provides. However, it also brings other disadvantages that are harder to tackle than in traditional classroom learning. Maintaining a healthy balance between one’s school life and personal life is an appropriate approach to a rather varying learning style.

Tips for Online Learning

  1. Record all necessary information about your classes, learning platforms, and teachers on a sheet of paper. Including passwords, emails, meetings, class times, and more. When needed throughout the course of the school year, you can refer back to it.

  2. Be proactive and take initiative before class to be further engaged with the class. Arrive 10-15 minutes early to ask questions, get clarifications, and engage in a conversation with your teacher or peers. This will set your mood for the class and help you gain a respectful attitude towards the class.

  3. Prepare for your class beforehand to prevent a mess. In advance, gather all materials needed, check your devices and tech gadgets, and have a comfortable environment to learn. Most importantly, make sure you have access to the learning platforms and other resources online to prevent technical issues.

  4. Take a break! It might feel like a broken record to say this. But, there is a twist I want to add. Make your breaks shorter! If you have faced procrastination, you understand that breaks can turn into hours. Establish breaks that focus on your mind and body including meditation, drinking water, going on a quick walk, or looking out the window.

10-20-30 Rule

It can be challenging to set a routine for online learning with flexible hours. Using the 10-20-20 rule, you can simplify your work. The rule is broken down into 3 parts of the study session. Firstly, spend 10 minutes preparing for the study session. Ways to prepare are tidying up the learning environment, gathering all materials, having snacks, or doing some jumping jacks. These 10 minutes are beneficial to calm your nerves and get you motivated for learning. Secondly, the next 20 minutes are for reviewing the material. Jump to the latest material or content you’ve learned and go over the main ideas. By looking in the mirror and explaining to yourself the main ideas, you will find the learning gaps and fill those in the 20 minutes. This is a great way to retain information for the following part of the rule. Thirdly, spend the 30 minutes putting new material or content into practice. Whether you are working on a project, writing in a journal, or making study notes, these 30 minutes are efficient for applying knowledge.

Ways to connect

As students, it is in our best interest to grow and use the knowledge we gain at school. Online learning does not offer a one-on-one relationship with our teachers that we have in a traditional classroom setting. In order to optimize our learning online, we can share stories to build empathy and personal connection. Real-life problems help us understand the core content much better than regular slideshows. As well as, addressing learning breakdowns is just as important. Walking through the steps of learning in a class, it is common to find a learning barrier or obstacle. To facilitate a better understanding, there are many opportunities to get back on track. If your teachers offer office hours, take advantage of that time, and work through your learning gaps. Other ways to do that include watching videos, having discussions, making visuals (flow chart, diagrams, etc), and reading out loud the material.

Learning breakdown diagram made by Harneet Sumal. (idea from “The Era of Online Learning” Niema Moshiri by TEDx Talks).

Good luck!

It is common to take a while to adjust to the new learning style. With some changes, learning can be optimized even when not at school. Teen Health 101 gives great advice for a number of topics that you might encounter as a teen. Try out these tips and share them with your fellow classmates and friends!

Cover picture:


Moshiri, Niema. “The Era of Online Learning”. Youtube, uploaded by TEDx Talks, June 14, 2017,

Aaron Barth. “Why e-learning is killing education”. Youtube, uploaded by TEDx Talks, March 19, 2020,

“Advantages of Distance Learning”. Youtube, uploaded by The Skills Network, May 6, 2016,

Estella. “How I study and prepare for online classes 10 tips”. Youtube, uploaded by Study to Success, August 23, 2020,

“A to Z of coping strategies”. Youtube, uploaded by Our Mental Health Space - Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, November 26,

“3 tips to succeed in online classes”. Youtube, uploaded by studyign, April 24, 2020,

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