“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” - Arthur C. Clarke

Technology has revolutionised the world of teaching and now we can learn almost anything online almost instantaneously. Online teaching has grown in recent years, especially during the lockdowns and restrictions caused by the pandemic.

But how can you learn effectively while learning remotely?

Here’s our advice.

Choose the Right Online Tutor

To make sure that online tutorials are effective, you need to make sure that you’re getting the right type of teaching. Without it, you run the risk of falling asleep at your computer.

How can you find the right online tutor?
The right tutor for some may not be right for others. Choose carefully! (Source: mohamed_hassan)

In some cases, you get to choose your teacher. In this case, make the most of choosing the teacher that works for you.

In the digital age, you can easily find tutors, especially on platforms like Superprof. The tutors’ profiles will give you a better idea of who they are. You can also read what their other students have to say about them. A lot of tutors also offer the first lesson for free so you can see if their personality and teaching approach are right for you.

Even online, you can go with your gut when choosing the right tutor. Whether it’s for English, music, or sewing tutorials!

Find out more about online tutorials.

How to Organise Online Tutorials

Make sure that you’re organised! This might seem obvious, but the more you organise, the more you’ll get out of your online private tutorials.

When going online is all you have to do to start your lessons, it can be tempting to get lessons at any time of the day. However, try and have your lessons at a regular time as the routine will make the tutorials better for you and your tutor. It’s a good idea that you leave enough time between sessions to make sure you can internalise everything you’ve learnt. Fail to prepare; prepare to fail.

Discuss how often you should see your tutor each week. It’ll depend on your schedule and their schedule. You can then book a regular timeslot. You can always change this scheduling if it stops working for you.

The Right Equipment for Online Tutorials

If you don’t have access to a decent internet connection, you’ll struggle to get the most out of your online tutorials.

Before you start online tutorials, you need to make sure you have the right gear and a decent and stable internet connection! It’ll be annoying for both you and the tutor and will harm the lesson.

Check the speed of your internet with Speedtest.

There’s more to it than just your internet connection, though. Make sure you have a computer or device powerful enough to run video conferencing software. Clean up your computer by getting rid of large files that you don’t need any more or back them up onto a reliable external hard disk.

To make the lessons run smoothly, make sure you have a videoconferencing program such as Skype or Zoom, for example.

Find out more about the programs you'll need for online tutorials.

Take Notes During Your Online Private Tutorials

How can you stay awake during an online tutorial?

It’s not always easy. Even if you have the most engaging tutor in the world, a lack of interaction can sometimes lead to distraction. Especially if you’ve just had a big meal and would rather have a nap.

How can you learn effectively with online tutorials?
Taking notes during your online tutorials is a good way to stay focused. (Source: StartupStockPhotos)

Stay alert by taking notes. It might seem silly, but taking notes is good for helping you to focus and pay attention. You have to listen to take notes. By forcing yourself to take notes, you’ll force your brain to focus on what you’re hearing and what you’re writing.

Taking notes doesn’t mean writing down everything the tutor says or illegible nonsense, though.

How about sketchnoting?

Sketchnoting is visual notetaking. You can use drawings and icons to link ideas and concepts.

Sketchnoting can be very effective, especially for visual learners. In addition to keeping you focused, it can also be quite fun. Who doesn’t love drawing, after all?

You don’t need to be an incredible artist to try sketchnoting.

So why not give it a try?

Learn about how to find online tutorials.

Choose an Appropriate Place for Your Lessons

Your work environment will affect how well your online private tutorials go. Above all, make sure you’re in a quiet place.

There’s no point in trying to have a private lesson in a room filled with other people. Go into a room on your own. You need to stay focused so a place free of distractions is ideal.

Where should online tutorials take place?
While online tutorials can take place almost anywhere, it's a good idea to choose a calm and quiet place for them. (Source: DomAlberts)

Make sure your workspace is clear of clutter, too. This isn’t because your tutor will tell you off if it’s not clean. It’s much easier to focus without clutter distracting you. It also makes it easier to find things if they’re in their proper place.

Ask Your Tutor Questions

Much like in classes in school, you can learn a lot by asking your teacher the right questions.

This doesn’t mean you can interrupt them every second but you should ask for clarification if you don’t understand something. This can help you stay focused as well as clearing up any doubts you may have before you move onto new topics.

Of course, if there are others in the class, you won’t get as many opportunities to ask questions. You might want to write down a question if you don’t have the opportunity to ask it and then ask it at a later date. You can ask them at the end of the lesson or send them in an email.

Focus On the Right Window

To make sure that you’re focusing on your lesson, make sure you keep the videoconferencing software on the screen. It’s very tempting when we’re working on a computer to do several things at once. Looking at the news, checking our Facebook, chatting to friends, etc. There are so many things to distract us and, ultimately, make our online tutorials less effective.

Much like your workspace, clear your digital workspace of clutter before starting your lessons. You’ll have less things to tempt you.

There are also tools you can use to block distracting websites while you’re working or in an online lesson. Of course, there’s nothing stopping you turning off the blocker but it can help an awful lot.

Keep Your Camera On

In a similar vein to the previous tip, keeping your camera on can make you focus more. Some people like to turn their camera off when they’re not talking to their tutor.

However, this is a quick way to find distractions as nobody can see you, you’re more likely to do things you’re not supposed to be doing. By knowing that the tutor has an eye on you, you’ll be less likely to get distracted or do other things.

Find out more about the equipment you'll need for online tutorials.

Study Between Each Session

Whether you’re in an online lesson or a face-to-face tutorial, this advice is important. Studying between sessions allows you to internalise what you’ve been studying, check you’ve understood it, and prepare questions for the tutor.

That’s why it’s important to spread out the sessions. Your brain needs time to assimilate new concepts and there are different stages of the learning process that you need to respect.

Studying for between 10 and 20 minutes can sometimes be enough. Of course, don’t worry about studying more if you need to.

Take Breaks

Taking breaks is essential. Your brain can’t focus for hours on end, especially in front of a computer. If you’ve planned several lessons one after the other, try to get up and move around between them. Even if it’s just for a minute.

By taking breaks, you can give your brain a breather and ensure that you’re more focused.

How often should you take breaks during online lessons?
Regular short breaks can keep you focused on your online lessons. (Source: Engin_Akyurt)

You can also use the break to stretch your legs and get the blood flowing a bit. Sitting for hours in a chair isn’t good for your health. Regularly walking around for a minute, even in your flat, has a lot of benefits. Similarly, you can rest your eyes by looking away from the screen during your breaks.

Online tutorials can be rewarding for both students and the teacher. Students are happy because they can learn on a budget whether they're at school, university, or looking for help with new professional or personal skills. Tutors and teachers enjoy them as they can schedule more lessons each week as they don't have to waste time or money on transport to the student's house.

With the right tutoring platform and digital resources, online tutorials can be just as effective as face-to-face tutoring in many different subjects. While in-person courses are better for hands-on subjects, the digital classroom is more than adequate when it comes to teaching academic subjects and skills.

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Joseph is a French and Spanish to English translator, language enthusiast, and blogger.