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Last Updated on January 27, 2021

9 Remote Learning Tips for Efficient and Effective Learning

9 Remote Learning Tips for Efficient and Effective Learning

If you’re taking a course or working on a degree at the moment, chances are that you have to take most of your courses from home instead of at a physical location. This is called remote learning and brings with it some unique challenges.

How do you learn efficiently when learning remotely? How can you absorb the material and learn at an accelerated rate, and most importantly, find enjoyment in it and keep up the motivation? We’ll talk about all of this and more here.

What Is Remote Learning?

It’s easy to confuse remote learning with online learning. Before we continue, it’s important to define what remote learning is and how it differs from online learning.

The main difference that I want to point out is this: Remote learning is when the classes or courses have been designed to be taught in-person but are being conducted in an online environment. This kind of distance learning usually happens, for example, during a pandemic.

Online learning, on the other hand, is when the classes have been specifically designed to be taken online instead of in a traditional classroom environment. Courses taken on Udemy or EdX are examples of online learning.

Preparing Your Environment for Efficient Learning

Before we get into some of the more advanced accelerated learning techniques, we need to cover some basics first. Without these fundamentals in place, it might be difficult to effectively apply the accelerated learning techniques that I will share with you later.

1. Have a Dedicated Learning Space

For efficient learning, focus is everything. Having a dedicated learning space that is set up in a way that makes you feel comfortable is a great help for your focus.

A lot of people find that this helps, mainly for two reasons:

  1. Since you associate that space with learning, you will be less distracted and find it easier to get into the correct mental headspace that is conducive for efficient learning.
  2. If you have a nice space with a good vibe, you are more likely to associate learning as something you enjoy.

2. Get Rid of Distractions

Once you have set up your dedicated learning environment, get rid of all distractions. Distractions include everything from people, TV, the radio, other open tabs on your computer, and most definitely your phone.

We are all different, and we get distracted by different things. Therefore, knowing which distractions you have to get rid of is about knowing yourself and being honest about what distracts you personally.

3. Have a Dedicated Learning Time

If learning or studying isn’t your favorite activity, then scheduling in a set time every day as your dedicated learning time is a great aid. Apart from the obvious benefits of the structure you get, it has an amazingly helpful side-effect: It requires less effort to get started.

When you have promised yourself to abide by a strict time to go over your notes and revise, you don’t have a choice when that time comes. If it’s entirely up to you to choose when to study, you might sometimes put it off completely.

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As a result, you won’t establish the habit of getting started, and a habit is your greatest ally. Why? Because a habit has the extraordinary ability to make difficult things easy.

In his amazing book, Essentialism, Greg McKeown says:

“Learning essential new skills is never easy. But once we master them and make them automatic we have won an enormous victory, because the skill remains with us for the rest of our lives. The same is true with routines.”

Priming Your Brain for Efficient Learning

What you do before a remote learning session can be just as important as what you do during it. If you’re not in a mental state where your brain absorbs new information with ease, half of your learning session might be wasted.

In this next section, I am going to give you 3 tips on how to get into the right mental headspace so that you can access states of laser-sharp focus and absorb the material with ease.

1. Look Forward to Your Learning Session

Jim Kwik, a world-renowned expert on learning and memory, says that learning is “state-dependent.” This means that the mood you’re in affects how efficiently you’re learning.[1]

Here is how memory works, according to Joshua Foer, the author of the brilliant book Moonwalking with Einstein:

You remember things by what you associate with them. If you’re on holiday or you’re having an amazing experience at an event, you are likely to remember this event because it had such a profound impact on your emotions. As a result, it’s very likely that you will remember a lot of what was said at that event. This is because you connect what has been said to how you felt emotionally during the event.

Humans are incredibly emotionally driven creatures. The way we learn and memorize things is also profoundly impacted by our emotional state.

If you struggle with looking forward to your learning session, try to realize what a great thing learning is. For many adults, learning is the most fun thing that will happen to you today. It’s a break from work and all obligations. It’s about upgrading yourself—it’s your time.

Now, I’m going to give you a simple but effective tool that will hack your brain into looking forward to the learning session. This will get you into an excited and positive state of mind—the best state for learning at an accelerated rate and to soak up knowledge like a dry sponge.

2. Segment Intending

Founder of Mindvalley, Vishen Lakhiani, has developed a great mental tool called segment intending that sets your day up for success. It’s the perfect tool if you struggle with staying positive about your remote learning experience.

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The best part is that it takes only 1-2 minutes and is easy to do. You can do this in the shower or while you’re preparing your coffee in the morning.

Here is how it works:

In your head, go through the course of your day, and split it into segments. The first segment might be your morning routine before going to work. The next one might be your commute to work, then the hours where you are at work. The last segments might be the time right after work, dinner time, then your evening activities, and the last one should be when you go to sleep.[2]

For each of these segments, imagine that they are going remarkably well. Imagine that you’re having a stress-free commute to work. Imagine that you’re having an extraordinarily productive workday while having fun with your colleagues. When you get to the segment including your study session, imagine that it will be really exciting learning something new.

It’s called segment intending because you split the day into segments and produce good intentions for each segment.

3. The Reset Technique

Let’s say you have had a long, stressful day. When you get home, you are supposed to study for two hours through remote learning. How on earth are you meant to focus completely on your learning when the events that happened previously that day are gnawing away at your mind?

By using the Reset Technique, of course!

The Reset Technique removes emotional baggage from your mind. It “resets” your mind so that you can carry on with what you’re supposed to do with a clear mind free of all distractions. This will enable you to focus 100% on the task at hand.

I call it the Reset Technique because it pretty much works the same for you as a reset or restart button does for your internet router or computer.

Here is how it works:

Sit down on the chair by your study desk, and close your eyes. Take a deep breath and count slowly down from ten to zero. Feel yourself getting calmer as you approach zero, and when you reach zero, your mind is in a relaxed state. For the next 2 minutes, just breathe in and out slowly and deeply, and focus your attention on nothing else but the fact that you’re breathing in and out.

When you open your eyes, you’ll have just done a quick reset of your whole “system.” Now, you can approach your learning session with a much less distracted mind.

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I first heard about a similar technique from author and high-performance coach Brendon Burchard in an interview. He just called it “a quick 2-3 minute meditation” (which is exactly what it is) and proposed it as a way of not carrying emotional baggage from one part of your day into the next.[3]

Accelerated Learning Techniques for Remote Learning

So far, we have talked about how to prepare yourself and the environment around you to maximize your learning efficiency. Now it’s time to focus on the actual learning session.

This is where the magic happens.

1. Note-Taking

Note-taking is incredibly important if you want to learn fast and efficiently. It sounds obvious, but few people know how to actually use their notes after they have taken them.

If you’re watching a lecture on your computer screen, take a quick note of everything that sounds like it might be important. Right after the lecture, while the information is fresh in your head, go through your notes and collect all your key points on a single sheet of paper.

The reason why this helps is that having an overview of the whole topic makes it easy to understand the big picture of the subject you’re learning. Having all the key points neatly on a single page makes you feel less overwhelmed. If all the key points can get space on one page, you feel confident that you can learn it easily.

If your teacher has already provided you with a list of key points, it might be tempting to think that this relieves you of the obligation to make notes yourself, but it’s important that you make your own notes with your own words. The reason why this is so important will become evident when I tell you about the Feynman Technique, which is my next tip.

Learn to make note-taking your habit during remote learning: Why Successful People Take Notes And How to Make It Your Habit

2. The Feynman Technique

“If you can’t explain it to a six-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself.” –Albert Einstein

What Einstein said above is what the Feynman technique is all about. This is a learning technique that Nobel prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman developed and used himself.

Using the Feynman Technique is easy:

Pretend that you are explaining a concept that you’re learning to a child. You can either write it down or say it out loud. Identify the parts of your explanation that you’re struggling with communicating clearly, and take note of gaps in your understanding of the concept.

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Then, read up on the concept again and try to simplify the explanation one more time. Repeat this until you can confidently explain the concept in simple terms.

Why is the Feynman Technique so effective? Shane Parrish from Farnam Street puts it well:

“Sometimes we use jargon and complicated language to hide what we don’t understand. The Feynman Technique lays bare the true extent of our knowledge.”[4]

To explain something in your own words, you are forced to really think about it. This is exactly why teaching is one of the best learning techniques, even in remote learning. If you want to learn something really well, teach it to somebody.

3. Spaced Repetition

Spaced repetition is the single most effective technique for solidifying something in your long term memory.

Spaced repetition is a memorization technique based on progressively increasing the time between each time you review the material you are learning. Repetition is essential if you expect to remember something long term, and spaced repetition is one of the most successful structured repetition systems for this purpose.

Spaced repetition has been tested by psychologists and has proven to be more successful than repeating previously learned material at random intervals. This is because you take advantage of your brain’s psychological spacing effect, which involves reviewing the material at the point when you are about to forget it.[5]

This technique stems from the work of the psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus. He developed something we call the forgetting curve. This is a graph that shows that each time we actively recall the same information, it takes longer for it to decay from our memory[6].

Ebbinghaus' forgetting curve and review cycle.

    In my opinion, the best way to start taking advantage of spaced repetition is with an app such as Anki. This app will automatically space out the time intervals for you, based on how well you remember the information you are reviewing.

    Learn more about spaced repetition here: How to Use Spaced Repetition to Remember What You’ve Learned

    Summing Up

    Once you set up your environment, prime yourself for learning, and use accelerated learning techniques, you’re ready to get moving with remote learning.

    Now it’s up to you to take action and apply the tips and techniques we went through above. Remember, the hardest part of doing something hard is starting it. Once you’ve done that, you’ll be on a better path to learning and growing.

    More Tips on Learning Efficiently

    Featured photo credit: Windows via unsplash.com

    Reference

    More by this author

    Sindre Kaupang

    Entrepreneur and filmmaker, founder of Productive Headspace and Beyond Music

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    Last Updated on January 27, 2021

    How Online Learning Enhances Your Professional Skills

    How Online Learning Enhances Your Professional Skills

    Online education is becoming increasingly popular today, with dozens of online courses being held on a regular basis all over the globe. So why does online learning attract millions of people around the world? How does it enhance your professional skills and advance your career, and what is the future of this education trend?

    Nowadays, studying on the Internet is not only popular, but it is also very convenient. Starting from choosing an educational course, picking the right tutor, planning the time for the classes, and carrying out payments—everything can be easily done online.

    What Is Special About Online Learning?

    In recent years, due to the global growth of the influence of the Internet, the role of online learning has increased significantly. People like the simplicity, financial attractiveness, and fun of this way of learning in comparison with the traditional education. Indeed, by studying online, you get easy and quick access to any material on your subject.

    You can also choose any convenient time and place for an online class to take part in.[1]

    The strategic goal of distance learning is to provide people of any professional activity and at any place of residence with equal educational opportunities through the use of new information and communication technologies. Based on the use of distance learning solutions, the education system creates additional opportunities for updating training content, teaching methods, and knowledge dissemination.

    It contributes to all levels of education. Thus, a large number of people who cannot afford studying in higher educational institutions due to the lack of financial or physical capabilities[2], or professional employment can sign up for an online course.

    Online learning is also focused on the organization of corporate training. It is difficult for corporate workers to make a training schedule to complete traditional full-time study. Being able to independently study when they are comfortable is key for this category of students. With distance learning, every employer has a chance to plan his/her workload and schedule.

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    Benefits of Learning Online

    You may have perhaps thought about the opportunities that online learning can offer compared to traditional full-time education. Although the classic, well-established way of education and online learning do not exclude but rather complement each other, the advantages of online learning are quite extensive.

    Some of these benefits include:

    • There is no need to pay rent or incur other costs associated with studying in the classroom.
    • You can choose a training program and study while being away from the city.
    • You can choose any educational institution even if it is located outside of your country.
    • You are not connected to the venue of the training courses and have a chance to combine work and education.
    • You can organize your time for learning, which contributes to higher motivation, better time management, and the ability to analyze and synthesize the material being studied.

    Of course, there are many great things about online learning, which are mostly associated with online learning flexibility,[3] availability, and a high level of customization of the educational process.

    What is more, the advantages of  e-education compared to the traditional way of learning are also obvious:

    • The possibility of lifelong learning
    • Students are trained independently in their own way; they choose the time and place that suits them best
    • A variety of subjects are at your disposal
    • The possibility to follow your own pace—students learn the subject as fast as they can; they can review the material as many times as necessary
    • You can choose a place where you want to study (at home, at work, etc.)
    • The opportunity to participate in the highest quality or prestigious programs—you can attend courses at the best educational institutions, which are conducted by well-known experts, regardless of where they take place
    • Opportunity to choose your own way of studying the subject—active or passive learning and various levels of interaction
    • Practical work with various technologies—you not only get information about the material being studied but also obtain additional knowledge and skills about the use of various technologies

    Types of Online Learning Programs

    Educational institutions providing online learning programs can be divided into three main categories:

    Distant Universities

    For example, in the USA, there are a few of such educational institutions providing Bachelor’s and Master’s programs.

    Decent establishments will have the necessary accreditation.

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    At the same time, there are also non-accredited programs, so it is important to find out what kind of accreditation a particular program has.

    Corporate Training and Courses

    Such educational organizations provide trainings and programs leading to obtaining a certificate and developing or strengthening any professional skills.

    As a general rule, these are non-accredited programs established in accordance with the individual requirements of clients. Therefore, it is highly important to find out information about the course structure, its means and methods of communication, as well as student support provided.

    Traditional Universities Providing Online Education

    Many traditional universities and colleges have recently launched a part of their programs online, thus, expanding the list of courses offered.

    How to Pick a Suitable Online Course

    There are three main features defining a quality distance education program. If you want to pick an online course that will contribute to your professional development, then you should pay attention to the following things:

    1. Course Structure

    A online education program never copies the lecture program of the same/similar course. Instead of simple full-time study program duplication, the course is to be carefully organized in such a way to involve the student in the learning process with interesting topics and themes being discussed.

    Besides, the structure of the course is to provide you with more opportunities to organize the online learning process than it would be possible with full-time education.

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    The main idea of any online course is that it should be focused on the student, allowing them to set the course content based on his/her personal needs and professional objectives.

    2. Means and Methods of Communication

    An online learning program may involve a wide range of information delivery methods; it could be email, telephone, online platforms, interactive television, newsgroups, audio/video conferencing, etc.

    Communication methods need to be as consistent as possible for your learning style, so make sure to check it beforehand so that you stay on the safe side.

    Depending on a course type, they can be either synchronous or asynchronous. The former require the simultaneous participation of both tutors and students, which allows for their interaction in real time. In this case, the means of information delivery include interactive television and video conferencing.

    In turn, asynchronous methods are very flexible; they allow students to choose the time convenient for them to work on the course material.

    3. Support and Contact With Students

    Although participating in training courses remotely, students should in no case feel isolated from each other. A truly quality program will involve a variety of methods and techniques for creating an atmosphere of real interaction between students and a tutor.

    When choosing a distance education program, clarify how students get help and support from their instructors. Ensure that there is online support, chat rooms, online bulletin boards, and other student counseling and support tools.

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    How to Use Online Learning to Enhance Professional Skills

    Online education is a valuable tool in a fast-paced and highly competitive working environment. Professionals and experienced workers turn to online training or distance tutoring services to advance their career paths and strengthen their knowledge.

    After all, online learning improves your skills and helps you acquire new ones without being distracted from work.

    Whatever your level of training, area of interest, preferred format or schedule, you will definitely find something that suits you.

    Everyone prefers to study in different ways, and online learning can give you as much time and attention as you need. Flexibility and convenience make the process of online learning more relaxed, especially for those who are extremely busy in their everyday life.

    The advantages of the online learning method have already been appreciated by many large companies around the world.[4] This type of education attracts many; not only with the opportunity to train a large number of employees at once but also with its affordable price.

    Thus, large enterprises reduce the costs of staff development while maintaining high-quality training. Online corporate learning can be done both during work hours and after business hours.

    Final Thoughts

    The rapid development of information technologies and the widespread access to the Internet form new requirements and opportunities for modern learning experiences.

    Taking into account all its features and benefits, there is absolutely no doubt that online learning helps you grow professionally and will enhance your career.

    More About Online Learning

    Featured photo credit: Stefan Vladimirov via unsplash.com

    Reference

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