Every student knows how easy it can be to become distracted during class. Whether it be talking to your classmates, doing unrelated activities on your smartphone, or even just falling into a daydream, we’ve all been there. Online classes share some of the same possible distractions as traditional schools, but also have their own new possible pitfalls, while avoiding some others. Many students and their families may be concerned with distractions during online classes, however, with a few tips, students may even find it easier to focus during online classes than during traditional school.
1. Find or Create an Ideal Study Location
While traditional classrooms are designed to be effective study locations, there can still be a number of possible distractions, such as the talking to your friends. With online classes, this distraction is definitely still a possibility, but it can also be more easily sidestepped simply by putting your phone away. However, online study comes with its own set of distractions.
It would be easy enough to study from the comfort of your family living room, however, shared spaces can be hard to focus in, given that you family or even pets, could easily distract you. Setting up to work in your bedroom would help negate distraction from others in your household, but you could be distracted by the temptation of all the gadgets, gizmos, and other personal things that may be around the room (including the comfort of your own bed).
If you do choose to create your study space in the privacy of your bedroom, here are some tips to help you create an ideal environment and avoid distractions:
- Carve out a dedicated study area in your bedroom and fill it with all the things you might need for your class. You can immerse yourself in an environment, even a small one, that helps you put your brain in “study mode.”
- Make sure to have a chair and desk that are comfortable and functional. Some students might prefer amore traditional desk and chair, while other may want do so something like a bean bag chair and a laptop table. No matter what style you choose, having a comfortable and functional place to study is essential.
- Put other distracting items out of your line of sight. If you think you might be tempted to distraction by other things in your bedroom (such as a tv, video game console, books, etc.), then make sure to create a study area where those temptations are out of sight. By keeping these distractions where you can’t see them will make it easier to focus on your work.
Another option for taking your online classes is to go to a public location like a library or community centre. Sometimes this space can allow a student to get in a study mindset and remained focused, but other students might be distracted by the books and other resources available there. Here are some ways you can make a public space a good study location for you:
- Noise cancelling headphones. If you find chatter or other sounds easily distracting, investing in headphones that will cancel out background noise can help you focus your attention. Alternatively, if you find listening to music helps you to study, using regular headphones with music that will help you concentrate can be just as effective.
- If you’re easily distracted by visual stimuli, it might be a good idea to find a remote corner of a public space. Most libraries will have study stalls or even rooms, where you can go to focus on your work and not be distracted by other things happening around you.
There are many options when it comes to finding a study space, and what works for one student may not work for another, but that’s okay, because with online learning, you get to choose what works best for you. Being mindful of your environment can be a great way to combat distraction and increase your productivity.
2. Study at a Time That Works For You
If you take online classes from home, maybe there are times when your home is a bit busier, and you have other things that tempt you away from your lesson. That’s okay! With online learning, or at least asynchronous online learning, like that offered by Ontario Virtual School, you can take that time to do other things, and reschedule your study time for when things are a bit quieter, and it’s a bit easier to focus.
The time of day you choose to study can also have an impact on your ability to focus as well. Maybe you’re not a morning person, and being tired leads you to daydreaming. Perhaps you find that you are better able to focus late at night or in the afternoon. With online, asynchronous courses, you can feel free to work at any time! It might not be traditional, but if it helps you learn more effectively, then why not?
Sometimes you might be busy with things outside of school. We all have issues in our lives that distract us from time to time. Maybe we just received big news, or we have plans coming up that we just can’t stop thinking about. With asynchronous online learning, it’s okay to step away from the lesson for some time, and come back when we are better able to focus and retain the information. So long as you can make sure that you’re still completing the classes, then doing that at a time that works for you can help to keep distraction at bay, or even simply deal with the distractions before resuming your class.
3. Take Advantage of the Unique Tools Available During Online Classes
Online classes come with their own unique tools that can help a student fight distraction. For example, at Ontario Virtual School, students are able to pause, rewind, and replay lessons at any time. Sometimes a distraction may be inevitable, but don’t be afraid to admit to yourself that you weren’t paying full attention, if you were distracted while watching a lesson you can just replaying the relevant part of the lesson you missed.
If you’re working on an assignment for an online class, and not viewing the lesson itself, it might be a good idea to turn off the wi-fi on your computer, as even though it’s easy to turn it back on, that one little step might help deter you from the temptation of going online when you don’t need to, and help to keep you focused on your work.
You can set timers for yourself, on your computer or off of it, for when and how long you want to focus on certain tasks. You can set these timers for whatever times and durations you like, as long as you know that they will allow you enough time to complete your responsibilities. You can even schedule a time for you to set aside your work and relax, to indulge in distractions, so that you’re rested and ready when it’s time to return to class. Again, the options are yours, and you can use them in whatever way works best for you.
There are many different ways to counter distractions during online classes. With the additional options online classes give students, they can come up with whole new strategies that suit their own unique needs.