While the world has continued to be turned upside down by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, students have had to find new ways to continue learning effectively. Some programs have been issued by the Ontario Ministry of Education, while schools have shifted to a more online focus out of necessity.
While physical schools in Ontario have been closed and education becoming more challenging we’ve been asking ourselves, what can we do to help students earning an Ontario high school diploma online or offline better understand how to learn during Covid-19?
Since Ontario eSecondary School was founded as an Ontario online high school and is Ontario Ministry of Education accredited, we know a thing or two about learning online. That’s why we’ve provided some information on how to learn at home.
Set a Daily Routine
Many people who work from home for a living find that keeping to a routine in the morning helps them create a mindset that they are going to work. This same technique can easily apply to going to school. This handy article highlights why it’s important to set a routine if you’re working, or learning from home.
Think of it this way? Normally you’d be getting up in the morning to go to school. What do you do before you leave? Online learning during the covid-19 pandemic is not much different, so set a routine!
Try some of these routine-setting tasks to ensure you keep yourself in the right mindset:
- Start a morning routine. Something as simple as making your bed and having a shower every morning can help build a routine and are small victories or a task accomplished every morning.
- Commute. Would you normally walk to school? Try going for a walk in the morning before you start your day. That way you can get some fresh air and can prepare yourself for the day ahead.
- Get dressed. Don’t work in your pyjamas because it blurs the line between school and home. But as this article in Fast Company highlights, it’s important to create boundaries between work/school and home.
- Set up a dedicated workspace. As we covered in one of our blog posts in March, establishing a defined workspace has many benefits such as allowing you to control your environment and avoid distractions, but also assist with setting a tone you prefer, whether with music or complete silence. If you have a workspace that you go to every day, you continue to set boundaries between school and home.
- Set a schedule for designated learning time. We’ll get into this a little later.
- Take breaks away from your workspace. It’s important to continue to set guidelines by eating lunch in another location than where you are learning. Make sure you take adequate breaks at least every 60 to 90 minutes.
- Avoid social media. Try to avoid social media as best you can during designated learning time. Social media can be extremely distracting and can also add to anxieties, FOMO and other mental health challenges. Save your Toosie Slide Tic Toc for later in the day.
Whether you’re working on earning some credits online, or working from home, setting a routine can help you get there. Once you’ve set a good routine, its important to focus, taking us to our next piece of guidance.
How To Be Goal Oriented and Intentional In Your Learning
Have you ever noticed how easy it is to stay glued to your workspace for hours at a time without accomplishing much? Since being out of a classroom may mean that you no longer have a structured schedule to adhere to, it’s useful to consider how to be goal oriented and intentional about what you set out to learn. This can make a huge difference to how you learn.
Maybe you have a normal school schedule. You start your day with Advanced Functions in period one and SCH4U after lunch? Your school’s timetable is intentionally set up to break up your learning in digestible chunks. Within each lesson your teacher puts together, there may be a lecture, some work time and some other form of activity all split into digestible chunks as well.
It is well known that planning ahead of time is the most effective way to structure your learning. If you’re online learning and even better taking an OES class, there is a strong likelihood that each lesson is broken up this way and we recommend scheduling your day like this too.
Schedule some Designated Learning Time (DLT). Spend some time figuring out what you’ll do before the start of each day so that you can work efficiently and be sure to detail what tasks you may need to learn. Try making a list and set some priorities on what you will learn to get organized this year.
Set Up Your Workspace
In our blog about Effective Study Habits, we covered the importance of setting up a workspace as an effective study habit. Of course many of the tips we’ve covered in past blogs highlight key tips to learn from home effectively, but this particular tip is one of the most important.
When setting up your work space, it is necessary to ensure your space is clear of unnecessary debris or distractions. Much of the learning that is happening since Covid-19, is focused on getting Ontario high school credits online. So, ensuring your workspace is well calibrated for a computer or laptop is critical. In this helpful video, an expert on ergonomic workspaces explains how important it is to set up your workspace so that it works for you. Desks aren’t designed to any specific person, they’re designed for everyone. Therefore, it’s important for you to set up your work space customized to your liking.
This infographic highlights some key ideas for how to set up your workspace for maximum productivity so you can establish effective study habits and set controls for you to check while you learn at home.
- Control your noise levels. The less you’re exposed to noise, the lower your stress levels may be.
- Music. In some cases, music can be distracting.
- Light. Dimmer light levels can be helpful for ideation, while brighter lights are good for analytical thinking.
- Comfort. Make sure you are comfortable. When you sit up straight to type, you have higher work output.
- Colours! Studies have shown that exposure to different colours can impact your mood and how you work.
- Posture. Much like comfort, being sure to sit up straight and aligned, with your computer at a proper height can ensure you’re working comfortably and efficiently.
- Keep a warm workspace. A study by Cornell University found that output improved by 150% when an office temperature was kept at 25 degrees celsius.
- Reduce Clutter. Keeping your desk clear from clutter can increase productivity.
- Plants! A little greenery can also help increase productivity and clean the air, too!
- Use natural lighting. Where possible, having natural light can help improve your mood and productivity.
Although all of these tips above are great for creating a productive workspace for learning, it is still a tough time for many people. That’s why it is increasingly important to focus on your mental health.
The world has been turned upside down and everyone knows this is an unprecedented time. It’s easy to get bogged down in the news and that can certainly weigh on people. It’s good to practice mindfulness to help get you through these times. Mindfulness is something that is in the news and social media a lot lately. It’s trendy, but there’s a reason it is trendy. Being aware of your body and mind has been known to reduce stress and relieve tension in your body.
There are four parts to mindfulness as it pertains to the modern day.
- Attention regulation. This means the ability to maintain awareness of one thing during meditation, such as your breathing/breath. This can help develop positive emotions.
- Body awareness. This is the ability to monitor your body’s sensation and is meant to foster emotional awareness and regulation.
- Chante in perspective on self. This is the ability to alter your self-perception and is important to creating a growth mindset. (More on growth mindset in our blog later this month).
- Emotional regulation. This is the ability to adjust emotional responses through a variety of strategies/techniques. When practicing mindfulness, it’s good practice to expose yourself to emotions whether they be good or unpleasant.
There are many ways one can practice mindfulness that is easier than others. As mentioned earlier in the blog, it’s important to take breaks throughout your learning from home day in order to reset your focus, but it’s also great to reset your mind.
Consider building some exercise time into your schedule. This can be as simple as going for a walk or run, doing some yoga or meditation. Being intentional about exercise and moving throughout your day can make a huge difference to your energy and wellbeing.
There are a few ways you can easily get moving in your day:
- Take regular breaks to move around. Research suggests that our brain uses downtime to make important connections that shape our identity and social behavior.
- Use a sit and standing desk. If you don’t have access to one of these, try setting up your computer or device on a box on top of a table or desk.
- Block time off during your day to get a workout in. There are apps such as the 7 minute Workout (Apple or Google Play) or Down Dog which offer virtual workout plans that you can do from home.
Regardless of what works for you, being aware of your mind and body will help you get through this trying time, but also are techniques you can bring with you through your life as you grow as a human being. Growth is important as a person, but academic growth is also important. Sometimes in order to build academically, it is helpful to have some structure.
Take a Structured Online Course
As an accredited Ontario online high school, we structure our courses per the Ontario Ministry of Education standards. We break up our lessons into very intentional and digestible content. This is partially out of necessity to ensure our courses are consistent for all students and creates a positive and streamlined experience so you can have a positive online learning experience.
If you’re currently attending high school in Ontario, or if you’re looking for an adult high school in order to upgrade your marks as an international student, OES has a wide range of online courses available. From SBI4U to MHF4U, the amazing teachers at OES are ready to support you and help you meet your goals all over the world.
The Ontario eSecondary School has been inspected and accredited by the Ontario Ministry of Education. What does this mean? As a virtual school, all of our courses are recognized by and can be used toward an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) and are also recognized as part of your OUAC application. This makes OES a great partner for upgrading Ontario high school credits online and is also perfect for adult students or international students looking to earn credits for post-secondary. Learn more about our courses at oeshighschool.com