During a time of considerable upheaval—with a global pandemic and fluctuating stock market—it can be difficult to adjust to new routines and the added stress of working, and learning, remotely. For many working adults, the move to a full-time remote environment is unprecedented, and many are now trying to juggle earning their degree, working, and living in one space. The same holds true for students and teachers who are making the transition from a traditional brick-and-mortar school to online education, and are facing the challenges that come from adapting to a new learning and teaching style.
As a pioneer in online, competency-based education, WGU Tennessee is marshaling its years of experience and offering best practices for learning, teaching, and working from home.
Establish a routine and stick with it.
When working and earning a degree from home for the first time, it can be easy to let your normal routines slide. Breaks from your normal schedule like staying up late, neglecting exercise, and sleeping late all impact your ability to focus and be productive. In fact, studies have found that up to 40% of our daily actions are powered by habit and routine.
As you make the transition to online learning and work, it’s important to establish a routine and keep it consistent. Try to wake up and go to bed at the same time every day, change out of pajamas, and set dedicated hours for online coursework. The flexible nature of online work can lead to procrastination. Sticking to a routine can help make focusing easier and give you dedicated time to work on your degree program.
Create a dedicated space that minimizes distractions.
For those used to working in an office and learning in a classroom, the move to doing these activities from home can come with its own set of distractions. To help sharpen your focus and minimize distractions, create a dedicated space in your home for work and studying. While it can be tempting to work from your couch or bed, this can make you feel less productive and also cause strain on your back and neck. Find a desk or table where your computer is roughly at eye level and is far enough away from windows and TV screens to limit how often your gaze wanders. Social media, text messages, and notifications can all break your concentration and make it difficult to stay focused. Turn off all screens that you’re not using to work, and try muting notifications or putting your phone in “do not disturb” mode while studying.
Schedule time for coursework.
Remember that online courses are still real courses, and it’s especially important to set aside time to watch lectures, complete assignments, and study when your course is self-paced. Schedule a few hours a day or week to work on your degree program, and make sure to let family and friends know your study hours to help limit distractions.
Show up and be engaged.
With all of the change happening in the world right now, it can be difficult to focus on courses and exams. However, the best thing you can do for your education is to show up and be engaged. Pay attention to lectures, ask questions, and set aside time to complete assignments. Now is also a great time to set up online study groups with your fellow classmates to review material and ask questions.
If you’re interested in taking the next step in your education and pursuing a degree with WGU Tennessee, visit https://www.wgu.edu/online-degree-programs.html to learn more.