Online Learning: The New Normal

May 2020: The world is a very different place to what it was a few months ago. Coronavirus and lockdown, social distancing and school closures have changed how we need to learn. After spending your whole school career learning one way, you may be struggling to adapt to this new normal. Here are some tips for creating new habits to help you adapt your habits for online learning:


1. Have a dedicated study space, like you would in a classroom. Make sure it’s quiet, with a comfortable desk and chair, enough light (preferably natural) and limited distractions.


2. Make sure you have a laptop or desktop with a good WiFi connection. Create shortcuts on your desktop to all the online learning resources and programs you’ll need for quick and easy access.


3. Make a timetable for yourself, like you’d have in school. This could look like: 

  • 08:00 – 09:00: Tune in to an online Maths lesson
  • 09:00 – 09:30: Do homework from online Maths lesson
  • 09:30 – 10:00: Tea & snack break
  • 10:00 – 11:00: Study a chapter in Biology textbook
  • 11:00 – 12:00: Spend time outside & eat lunch
  • 12:00 – 13:00: Tune in to an online English lesson
  • 13:00 – 13:45: Do homework from online English lesson


4. Remember that online learning is more intense than face to face learning. If you’re in Grades 10-12, you should only be doing 3-4 hours of online learning; in Grades 6-9 this should be 2-3 hours; in Kindergarten to Grade 5 you should only be doing 1-2 hours of active learning per day.


5. Make sure you spend time outside or being active every day. This will keep you healthy and improve your mood.


6. Spending time reading or watching educational series (like Planet Earth) are also great for your brain when you’re not studying.


7. Make time for your hobbies – these will take the place of extracurricular activities while you’re not at school. 


8. Try to socialize with friends online or over the phone. Social interaction is really important for your development at this age and will help you to validate any concerns or struggles you’ve been experiencing.


9. Set academic goals for yourself, and reward yourself when you’ve achieved them. Speak to your parents about your goals, so that they can help you keep on track, and celebrate when you’ve reached them.


10. Plan ahead! Although there is still some uncertainty in terms of when schools will go back to normal, plan your studying and your time as though your exams and tests will go ahead as planned. Planning ahead will help you with boredom, lack of motivation and anxiety. Your parents can help you with this too.


This article first appeared on