At the height of summer, when the sun is beaming and the sprinklers are whirring, it can be difficult to stay inside and study. Summer is fleeting, and missing even an hour of it feels like sacrilege.
But your education comes first. Online learning during the summer months may require a little more willpower on your part, but the rewards for your hard work will be evident. You’ll enter the fall feeling academically refreshed and mentally primed – a perfect way to start the school year.
To help navigate your summer studies, check out these four tips, which will help set you up for success!
Beat the Heat
Overheating isn’t just a computer problem. That supercomputer in your head can also overheat! Cambridge Brain Science reports that as temperatures rise, cognition drops, meaning that in the midst of heat waves or peak summer weather it can be increasingly difficult to concentrate, much less study.
If you have the privilege of air-conditioning, use it. If you don’t have air conditioning, just make sure you find a cool spot in the home to study, ideally with fans set up. If neither of the above are an option, consider finding a quiet, indoor public space – a library or public rec centre – that has internet access.
Be an Active Participant
The best online schools, like Ontario eSecondary School, put a lot of care into courses, with qualified Certified Teachers and unlimited, on-demand tutoring available online. Make use of those available resources.
It can be tempting to view online education as a go-it-alone endeavour, but it will be a richer experience if you actively participate, asking questions and seeking guidance when you’re having trouble. You have to be your own advocate: show up, ask questions, get answers and ensure that you understand the material.
Set Process Goals and Manage Your Time
You can divide goals into three broad categories: performance goals, outcome goals and process goals. The former two have more to do with end results, while process goals concern the steps you need to take along the way. Summer is a season of distractions, so it’s important to set small, rolling goals – have this chapter read by Thursday, this worksheet done by Monday, this outline completed by the following Wednesday, etc.
One of the fantastic things about e-learning is how flexible it is. But in order to succeed, occasionally you need to scaffold your time with hard goals. This requires time management, the ability to compartmentalize your time effectively. Set aside time entirely dedicated to your online studies, that way you have the rest of the summer for the following.
Enjoy the Summer
It may sound counterintuitive, but in order to study properly, you need to take breaks and enjoy your summer. A 2018 study published in Learning and Instruction found that a student’s ability to stay on-task diminishes with increased instructional duration. In layman’s terms: there’s only so much learning your brain can take at one time, before cognition and retention suffer.
So go out and enjoy the summer. Especially if you’ve managed your time effectively, setting aside dedicated study time, it’s a healthy part of the study process to give yourself a break!