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Strategies for Overcoming Challenges in Online Education

By ANNA KARLOVA - February 27 2024
Strategies for Overcoming Challenges in Online Education

In the whirlwind of 2020, we were thrown into a whole new way of learning. Students and grown-ups had to switch to learning from afar. We now live in a world where learning never stops. Back in the days of our parents and grandparents, only a few folks kept learning throughout their lives. Most people got a specific job, stuck with it happily, and that was that. Nowadays, most adults who want to grow, have more opportunities, or change their lives for the better have to keep learning all the time. But learning is kind of tricky. 

Our brains are always learning stuff, but it’s usually in the background, like when something makes us excited or happy. That kind of learning happens super fast. But when we want to learn something on purpose, like a new language or a skill, our brain starts to struggle. In times like these, motivation becomes crucial. 

In comparison, learning in a regular classroom and learning online is different in many ways. In a physical class, it’s a bit easier because more things are pushing us to learn. Being around other people, having friends, maybe a bit of competition, and the chance to be the best – those are all extra things that help us learn. Now, though, many people find themselves alone with their online courses. No friends to compete with, no one to compare themselves to, and often no clear deadlines. The fun tricks and games in online classes don’t always work as well as the fear of exams, for example. In online learning, you have to make your motivation.

Your brain needs to know what good things will come from this learning. Such is due to a chemical called dopamine, which makes us feel good. It performs a trick on our brain that makes us think everything that leads to pleasure is important. So, when you start an online course, try to connect it to good things that will happen in the future, things that matter to you. Ask yourself: What good things will be possible? What will happen in my life when I finish this course? The more good things you can think of, the better.

Learning changes our brains

Even if you only listen to a course in the background once, it alters how your brain functions. Online learning allows you to revisit previously learned material, a luxury often unavailable in traditional in-person learning.

There are different levels of learning. 

The first level involves listening to an online course while engaged in background activities. As you stay occupied, the course playing in the background readies your brain for further learning later.

The second level includes two essential practices: taking breaks while listening and either taking notes or speaking aloud. Taking breaks can be compared to making a layered jelly. If you let one layer solidify before adding the next, you create a structured result. If you mix everything together, you end up with a mess. Learning should resemble making jelly- one small piece at a time. Using a well-known approach, such as the Pomodoro Technique, can aid in this process.

The third level, particularly crucial in online learning, involves conveying what you’ve learned to someone else. This engages multiple parts of your brain, enhancing your ability to remember information. Every time you share a poem you’ve learned by heart; you’re training the part of your brain responsible for verbal expression.

The fourth level is akin to “learn by teaching.” To grasp a subject thoroughly, attempt to explain it to someone else. Understanding deepens when you convey information to others, especially if done multiple times.

The fifth level revolves around practicing what you’ve learned. Your brain might resist this, as fear of making mistakes can be daunting. However, practicing is about engaging with the material regularly, not necessarily achieving perfection.

Some people don’t like repeating things. They believe that if you repeat something, you didn’t understand it the first time or you’re not smart. However, when we revisit information repeatedly, it’s similar to telling our brain, “This is important to me.” In a world full of information, we need to focus on what is important to us. If something is crucial, and you want to remember it, repeat it before bed to signal to your brain: “Please remember it.”

Online education is now a part of our lives

We have to keep learning and motivating ourselves, stop waiting for things to be perfect, take charge of our learning, set goals for ourselves, and be our teachers. This new way of learning means we have to be responsible for what we know. As we move through this ever-changing educational world, the power to learn, adapt, and do well is in our hands. Embrace the adventure of learning with courage, keep trying, and never stop seeking knowledge.

This article was written by Anna Karlova, who loves learning throughout her life and has a strong passion for Data Analytics.

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