Studying online in the comfort of your own home offers some great advantages, but it also comes with a unique set of challenges.
Distractions such as the latest episode of Game of Thrones, that mountain of laundry, demands of children and partners, or simply the pantry can all tempt you away from the task at hand.
You’ll find it far easier to knuckle down in a space dedicated to educational pursuits, so quit trying to fool yourself into thinking you can achieve just as much with your laptop balanced on your knee, your phone in one hand, and the TV remote within reach of the other.
A space of your own
Yes, studying online offers flexibility, but that doesn’t mean working from the couch, high-traffic kitchen table or bed is really the best option. If you have a study or spare bedroom you can use to shut out the rest of the world, stake your claim on it – before someone else tries to turn it into a home gym!
If you have limited space, try setting up your study environment with a desk in a quiet corner of the house. Let your family know when you’ll be studying and ask for their cooperation (i.e. minimal disruptions) during those hours.
The right gear
While kitchen counters can be convenient, their odd height can put you off your A-game. Set yourself up at a sturdy table or desk that’s the right height for you – something that aligns around your waist is generally best – and a comfortable chair with a high-back for support is a must. An ergonomic and adjustable option may be a little pricier, but if you can afford it, the investment will be worth it in the long run.
You can’t expect to nail your study efforts without the right technology. Update your software, like the latest version of Office, Internet Explorer or OS X, to streamline your study processes. If necessary, look at upgrading your broadband connection to cut down on wasted and infuriating download time.
Make sure you have everything you need to support your learning within reach, so you don’t have any excuse to go wandering off mid-lecture or quiz to retrieve the right tool. Stock up on pens, highlighter markers, post-its and a bunch of binders and folders to keep everything in its place.
Try to keep your textbooks and worksheets in one area near your desk, rather than leaving them sprinkled throughout the house – this will keep important notes from accidentally landing in the recycling bin or school backpacks!
Good lighting is crucial for productive study. Natural light is best for the brain, so if you can, position your desk in a place near a window or skylight. If you’re limited by the layout of your house, or you need to study at night, increase the wattage of your bulbs and add a desk lamp.
In terms of sound, go with whatever works for you. While some people prefer to work in silence, others find the lack of background noise distracting. If this is you, try playing some acoustic or classical music. You can even stream the sounds of a coffee shop to get those creative juices flowing!
Do you have tips for studying at home? Let us know @SEEKLearning!