20 Ways to Better Study Online

How to get the most out of studying online during Covid-19


With many of us studying online rather than face to face, here are 20 hints and tips to help you get the best out of your online learning or course. They’ll also help with your other Webex and Zoom business meetings!

In reaction to the ongoing global health situation, Oakwood International have reconfigured our CIPD, ILM and CMI qualifications to be delivered online and through interactive, blended learning. We are calling our new programmes Oakwood’s Workshops Without Walls, and if you're studying with us, we hope these tips will help!

  • Use your desktop or laptop PC: phones and tablets just don’t give the functionality you’ll need.
  • Make Google Chrome your default browser.
  • Use an up-to-date operating system (MS Windows, Apple Mac OS or Google Chrome OS) and antivirus.
  • Switch off your popup blocker.
  • Whether you are working at home, your regular workplace or a co-working space, you’ll need fast reliable wifi or a cabled connection between your PC and your modem.
  • Make sure you have private space with light on your desk and your face, low background noise, plenty of table space, paper and pens to hand.
  • Minimise your risk of being interrupted for the entire period of each module: 9.00 to 15.00, Sunday to Thursday.
  • Pay attention! Switch off your phone, email, social media and all the other apps on your PC. (GotToTraining will tell your tutor when you use other apps.)
  • Access to a printer is really useful, so you can work on some documents in paper form.
  • Switch your webcam and mic on so that you can easily communicate with your fellow students and your tutor during discussions and exercises.
  • Use a USB headset or headphones and a good microphone, if you have them, to improve your sound.
  • Move the webcam on your PC so that it’s in front of you and at the same level as your eye line.  You’ll look your best without a camera pointing up your nose.
  • Think about what’s behind you when you’re on camera: bright lights or an unshaded window will put your face in shadow.
  • Practice your non-verbal communication.  When you want to speak, raise your hand and keep it up until your tutor, or the person speaking, acknowledges it. (There’s also a button that lets you raise a virtual hand when your webcam is off.)  If you agree with what others say, give them a thumbs up, or a vigorous nod of the head, and keep doing it until you are acknowledged. If you REALLY agree, a big smile and waving ‘jazz hands’ (the sign language version of applause) conveys your meaning. If you disagree, shake your head.
  • Try not to interrupt people when they are speaking and forgive them when they interrupt you.  GTT has clever noise-cancelling software but it’s not perfect and it can fail when more than one person speaks at the same time. The software also introduces a delay in reaction time, so participants find it difficult to ‘naturally’ take over the flow of conversation when others finish and fall silent.
  • Use the written chat box to talk to your tutor and fellow students during presentations.

  • Don’t expect (or let your bosses expect) that you can do a day’s work AS WELL as attending Workshops Without Walls.  Online and blended learning is highly experiential and participative and you’ll feel tired at the end of each day!
  • Don’t overload your evenings with socialising or activities: take some light exercise and rest.
  • Make sure you rest your eyes in the evening.  Staring at a screen so close to your face all day can be tiring for your eyes, so go for a short walk in the evening, somewhere you can see the horizon.
  • Get a good night’s sleep, to be ready for the next day on your Oakwood Workshops Without Walls online learning programme.
Unlike other online and e-learning, our online courses are tutor-led, highly interactive and experiential, with plenty of human contact.  For example, in the CIPD qualification programmes, you take part in three week-long training modules.  Days are a little shorter than in training room-based learning: starting at 9.00 and finishing at 15.00, with comfort breaks and time for refreshments and lunch.  You spend each day talking and listening to your tutor and fellow students, just as you would in a face-to-face programme.  There’ll be polls, exercises and breakout sessions throughout every day to keep you engaged.  Most of the assignments are submitted through the Online Services pages of the Oakwood website, while others are conducted and assessed as part of your attendance during the programme.

Oakwood’s Workshops Without Walls programmes are lower in price than our training room-based programmes. And, if you work from home, there’s no commute, no traffic, no parking worries: as soon as the working day ends you can relax.  Much better for your work-life balance and wellbeing!

So long as the Covid-19 continues, Oakwood will be offering all our programmes as Workshops Without Walls.  Once the lockdown ends we’ll relaunch our training room-based programmes as well.  But we’re so proud of these new programmes that we’re sure that even after the Covid-19 crisis, many students will choose our online and blended programmes: all the interaction and learning but with a lower price and a better work-life balance.

Call Oakwood today at +971 4 359 9020 or info@oakwooddubai.ae to discuss which Oakwood Workshops Without Walls programme is best for you!