Learning online: A challenge to achieve better learning outcomes

The UNICEF Young Reporters share their personal experience, tips on overcoming challenges, and key takeaways to achieve better learning outcomes

Marija Mitrikeska (15), Branislav Maksimovski (16), Dorisa Zemon (16), Eva Pecalevska (15)
Adolescent boy in bed following an online class on his laptop
UNICEF/UNI313124/Adelson
13 November 2020

Nobody ever expected that one day a digital platform would replace a classroom. That we would take tests from our own homes or that we would not hear the school bell ring again. Distance learning is a challenge for everyone involved. Especially for us students. Each of us has our own unique experience transitioning from classroom-based learning to learning online. As UNICEF Young Reporters, we want to share our personal experience, tips on overcoming some of the challenges, and what we take-away from these uncertain times to achieve better learning outcomes.

 

MARIA'S ADVICE ON HOW TO BE MORE EFFECTIVE WHEN LEARNING ONLINE 

The shift to learning online has left some of us feeling uncertain about how to deal with it. But we can turn uncertainty into ambition. Here are some solutions that have helped me as a young student to improve online learning.

A well-organized learning space. Learning in bed with snacks next to me and turning on the TV for background noise sounds tempting. But I found it to be unproductive. I achieved better results when I created a space in which I had little to distract me. For me, a well-organized space means a desk with my laptop, textbooks, and wristwatch to keep track of the time. If I turn on my mobile phone to check the time, it immediately distracts me, and of course, I need good lighting. I noticed that this helps me to concentrate better. I absorb information faster, and at the same time, I am filled with positive energy. Now, instead of fussing over learning and worrying about concentrating, I organize my space the best I can.

Collaboration. I study best in a group with some of my classmates. Learning in a group has many benefits for me. We motivate each other, we share different opinions, and we learn from each other. The opportunity to ask my classmates questions when something is ambiguous, our mutual discussions, help me get better acquainted with the material. That's why we create online groups where we can collaborate and have fun at the same time. And more importantly, stay in touch and connected.

Experiment and finds what works best for you. Some of us learn better in the morning. Others in the evening. Some learn better visually with small notes on the side of their pages. Others learn better when listening. Once I found what worked best for me, it helped me reach my best potential. I spend two hours studying at my desk - entirely focused on what I do not understand. I read over the material several times until it starts to become more clear. After I finish reading, I always find and watch a video related to the topic. But I think the most important thing is that my cell phone is turned off and doesn't distract me. This is exactly what helped me drastically improve my grades. It helped me to understand better the material we are learning. And best of all, I achieve all this in much less time than I am used to.

Get active during the lessons. Like in the physical classroom, to absorb new knowledge and get good grades, it is most important to be active in classes online. Being active helps us get better acquainted with the material, become more interested, build more self-confidence, and learn faster. From my personal experience, when I am more active during the class, I feel the difference. I ask more and more questions. I have become more and more interested in what we are learning. When things are unclear to me, I first ask lots of questions, first to teachers, and then the other students. We can't compare online teaching with classroom-based learning, but with the help of teachers and classmates, we are much closer to gaining new knowledge.

These are just some of the tips that have worked for me to make learning online more effective. I hope that they will inspire others to share their ideas and together we can turn this time of uncertainty into a time of doing things better.

 

WITH MOTIVATION TO EXCELLENCE

Although this period came to us unexpectedly, with increased motivation and by setting clear goals, we can still benefit from it. The reduced hours in classes forced us to devote more time to self-learning. This is not an easy way to learn. But it helps us grow as individuals and contributes to our personal development. We learn to be resourceful and independent. We become aware of the consequences of our actions. Self-mastering the material teaches us research skills. We learn to communicate better with our teachers, to build our own opinions and attitudes about the things around us. We are compelled to use different resources - encyclopedias, professional materials and additional literature, videos, tests, and quizzes that are readily available online. This unexpected situation has forced us to develop new personal learning techniques to achieve greater success in learning. More than anything, it's taught us to find the good in the bad and to proudly say that we have succeeded!