How To Get The Most Out Of Your Online Tutoring

For the majority of students, previous school years were a period of consistency. You start school, it's all in person, you meander to Christmas then it all picks up afterwards as we head towards exams in May. Well, May is just over a month away. Crunch time has arrived.

But school years of late have been a rollercoaster. They've had more twists and turns than a John le Carre novel. We're all coming out of a very strange journey through a pandemic. For many of us, that journey was spent largely online.

So, given how important these next few months are for education; how do you make the most of your online learning and tutoring?

Is The World Ready For Online Learning?

A recent Guardian article reported that new students have ‘lost the discipline of learning.’ Their reasoning is that the months of lockdown without exams to prepare for could mean they struggle to adapt to learning independently at both sixth form and university. 

Similarly, research from the National Union of Students (NUS) suggests one in five students don’t have access to online learning. Specific groups were hit hardest, and as many as one in three students said their online learning experience was of poor quality, essentially losing months and even years of progress.

The science of learning states that even the summer holidays can be detrimental to development if we neglect the habit of learning entirely. Although it gives students a well-deserved break, it tends to make going back to school even more woesome.

Although this all sounds quite disheartening and drab, there are several factors that provide us with hope. For example, 46% of individuals aged 16-24 in Great Britain already use online learning materials in their education, from online classes, YouTube videos, access to collaborative lesson notes, etc...

The current generation is often referred to as "digital natives", having grown up in the age of the internet. Hopefully, this experience with technology, coupled with the structure provided by learning institutions, will allow students of all kinds to succeed with online learning well into the future.

How To Get The Most Out Of Your Online Learning


Your own learning routine is a cornerstone of your online studies. If you keep up positive habits, you will see noticeable results. Whilst it’s tempting to get complacent when your classes are on the internet, it’s vital you stay focused. You can do that in the following ways:

  • Treat it as you would IRL

One of the best ways to succeed with online learning is to treat the experience as you would with an in-person class. This means approaching your studies in the same way you would if you had to attend school. Hold yourself to the same standards, making sure you’re organised, on time, and ready to learn. No phones or distractions should be in sight!

As enticing as the prospect of studying from your bed or in your dressing gown, it’s not conducive to learning. You wouldn’t do it during your regular studies, so avoid doing so when you’re learning online.

  • Stay disciplined

Part of treating your online learning as you would with an in-person experience is to keep disciplined. Although your home doesn’t look like a school, you still need to have the same self-discipline when it comes to independent learning. Your class and study schedule should match that outlined in your courses, and you also need to dedicate time to your own studies outside of that. 

Set aside time and space in your day to study, and stick to your timetable once you have it. Try and account for the time spent at your desk, as well as that for things like lunch, short breaks, and the end of your day. Writing your schedule down can help, as it might force you to stay on track with your learning.

  • Contribute

Learning is a two-way process. Although turning up to online lectures or reviewing the material is important, so is getting involved with the discussion. Ask questions where appropriate, and don’t be afraid to seek help with the material if you need it. 

You may also find that there are things like discussion groups, forums, or message boards where you can post questions. Try and contribute to these where you can, whether it’s reading what others have written or asked questions yourself. At the end of the day, you’re there to learn, so if you don’t understand something, you have a right to ask for clarification!

  • Follow up

Once your class is over, don’t just forget about it and move on. As well as writing up your notes, spend some time to think about the subject you covered and any questions that were asked. Make sure that you’ve grasped the details before you conclude your learning. 

Keep in touch with your tutors as well. They may ask for feedback on their materials and videos, for example.

Skills and Space

  • Time management

Ahhhhhh a staple of my blogs so far, need I say more or just refer you to this article right here? It covers many methods of structuring your time to get the best results. You'll see that even though it's less enjoyable for some to choose to study over other activities, once you get into the habit of time management - you don't even miss the "free time". Your body and mind can become motivated to study with some rules and strict practice.

  • Organisation

We’ve already outlined how important your learning routine is. As well as organising your time, you need to plan how you’re going to complete your work, where you’re going to study, and what type of environment is best for you. 

There are all kinds of ways you can organise your efforts. A study diary, filing system, and to-do lists are all useful. Similarly, you’ll want to make sure that you have everything you need for a productive work environment.

  • Choose somewhere quiet

When you’re sitting down to study, you want to make sure you have a quiet area to sit in. For live online tutoring, you’ll want to make sure you can confidently contribute without the risk of background noise bleeding through on your microphone. Similarly, a quiet spot allows you to focus on your learning materials, giving you time for studying and reflecting.

  • Communication

When you’re learning online, strong communication and collaboration skills are vital. The skills needed are different from those required in the classroom, meaning it’s worthwhile thinking about them. As well as discussing and sharing your work with tutors, you may be required to work with others on projects and assignments. 

Understanding where your strengths and weaknesses are in this regard is essential. By working on these skills, you can ensure that you understand course content and that your needs and questions are understood by others.

Author's profile picture

James Gurnett

25th March

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