5 Tips for Helping Students Get the Most Out of Virtual Learning During COVID

Dr. Mike Hill

Love it or hate, as we move deeper into the Fall season, it appears virtual learning will be around for quite some time. While brick and mortar learning certainly remains the default option, due to COVID conditions, many parents are electing to keep their students’ learning online. While some students can manage the transition well, for most, virtual learning remains a challenge. Although learning from home is a viable option, there are also several pitfalls that must be avoided for students to maintain their learning progression in a virtual setting. Below are five tips for helping students learn more effectively from home.

1. Create an academic environment. One of the most significant predictors of student learning is the ability to engage with the learning content. While learning from home, it is imperative that, as much as possible, students work in an environment that is conducive for learning.

Minimize distractions. Avoid unnecessary background noise such as televisions, background activities, and conversations among other family members, which can be equally distracting for classmates.

Avoid working from bed. If possible, students should avoid learning from their beds. When working from their beds, students are prone to get “too comfortable”, fall asleep, and develop poor habits for when they eventually return to brick and mortar i nstruction. Additionally, lying in bed too long can cause students to have trouble sleeping at night, which can also have a negative impact on their learning and mental health.

Make sure the learning space is well-lit. Adequate lighting helps students to remain alert, and work more effectively, while also making them more visible on camera.

2. Use a schedule or calendar. Working from home means students do not always have the physical reminders of class times, assignment due dates, and other cues that help them keep track of their learning activities. Using a calendar or schedule to keep track of school tasks is even more critical in a virtual environment. Falling behind academically due to poor planning can have a negative impact on student learning outcomes. 

3. Dress for success. Students should not attend virtual class in pajamas or sleeping attire. Students should be dressed for learning from head to toe, including school uniform and shoes. When students do not physically transition from sleeping and lounging, their brain subconsciously functions as if they are still in a state of rest rather than ready to engage in rigorous learning.
4. Get outside. Getting outside and stepping away from the computer is just as important as being fully engaged in instruction. The human brain was not designed to work in isolation. Students will need time to get outside and engage in physical activities in order to rejuvenate their bodies and minds and to keep them at peak performance. 

5. Stay in touch. The risks of becoming disconnected during virtual learning are quite prevalent. It is imperative that students, parents, and teachers engage in regular communication regarding student learning and progression. Virtual learning is still learning, and we must engage in it with the same heart and effort as brick and mortar. The academic success of virtual students depends on effective communication. 


Dr. Mike Hill is the Principal of University Preparatory in West Palm Beach, FL. He has a passion for serving others through education. He has more than 16 years of experience in various instructional and leadership roles in both public and private sectors of education.