Tips for learning at home

Teenager in study mode, wearing headphones and taking notes at a desk with laptop open.

We have all had to adapt to new and sometimes challenging situations this year. With the national lockdown earlier this year, many of us were faced with working or learning from home for the very first time. As we continue to deliver the majority of our courses online, we’ve put together some tips for how you can effectively learn from home.

If you’re thinking about applying for a course that starts in January, here are some tips for learning at home so you can be prepared for learning in 2021.

Start your day right

It might be tempting to hit the snooze button and get out of bed at the very last minute, since you don’t have to travel in to a college campus. If you start the day right, you are likely to be more engaged with your learning. That might mean going for a walk or doing some exercise first thing in the morning, speaking to a friend before your class starts or making yourself a nice healthy breakfast. Sometimes a lie in might be exactly what you need! Starting your day with something you enjoy will motivate you with your learning throughout the day.

Create a study area

We probably won’t all have a separate room we can study in but you should try your best to set up a learning area that is separate from your living and sleeping spaces. This means you will be productive while learning and still be able to enjoy your downtime by keeping them separate. If you do have to learn from your bed or the sofa, you could try getting dressed and making your bed so you will feel more productive.

If you have to share the dining room table with a sibling, parent or roommate, you could set up a rota or set some ground rules for the space so you can all learn and work in harmony.

Books on shelf in college library.

Ask for help

When learning from home you might find it more difficult to ask your lecturers or classmates for help with something you’re stuck on. It’s important to know that support is available for all students at the college so remember to ask. You can speak to your Learning Development Tutor (LDT), your lecturers or a member of the guidance team.

All students at Edinburgh College have access to SilverCloud Health, an online mental health platform. SilverCloud offers a range of emotional support programmes, including cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), which are designed to help improve your mental health and wellbeing. You will receive more information about this once you enrol.

Take regular breaks

Studying for hours at a time will likely lead to burnout and make you feel unmotivated, so taking regular breaks from studying is really important. With online learning you might experience something called ‘Zoom fatigue’ so it’s even more important to take regular breaks when learning and studying at home. Remember to take a lunch break and get outside for some fresh air if you can!

Get into a routine

If you’re thinking of coming to college in 2021, you might be thinking about how you will juggle your learning with a part-time job or around raising a family. This is when managing your time and getting into a good routine is so important.

You will have classes at set times throughout the week, but learning from home should give you some flexibility to complete assignments and study in a way that works for you. If you’re more of a morning person, you might want to get some work done first thing. But if you need to work around your family, you might work better in the evenings when your kids are in bed.

Create a routine that works for you by scheduling your day around your classes, what study you need to do on top of your classes, work, family commitments and time to relax. If something changes and your routine no longer works for you, change it up so it fits with how you best learn and your lifestyle.

Close up shot of a clock face.

Use your phone as a study tool

While sometimes your phone might be a distraction, it can also be a great tool to help you while learning at home. You can use your calendar to add in your classes, use reminders for any course work or assignments due and use voice notes to make notes of important things quickly. You can also use the timer to manage your time by giving yourself set times to complete tasks or for scheduling your breaks.

If you learn well with background noise you might also use your phone to listen to music or podcasts.

As a student at Edinburgh College you will have access to the Microsoft Office Suite which you can get apps for on your phone. This means you can check emails and attend college classes on Teams on your phone.

Ready to start your application? View our courses.

Teenager in study mode, wearing headphones and taking notes at a desk with laptop open. Text on image reads "Ready to start your application? View our courses".