6 tips for online learning success

Sydney Community College Blog | By Claire Pickard on

Lady using laptop in workspace
Photo by Vlada Karpovich from Pexels

Sydney Community College has a 30+ year history of bringing Sydneysiders together to learn in creative and practical classes without the high commitment of dollars or time. It’s learning that fits into everyday life – for career, fun, or the simple achievement of building skills.

When along came COVID and lockdown last year, we saw clear demand to continue offering these opportunities. We committed to online Zoom classes that are small, live and interactive – to capture the banter and group dynamics of an in-class experience.

We switched many of our business and computer courses to online delivery, as well as an entire program of 15 languages courses – including Auslan Sign Language and English short courses.

And the benefits are many: classes in the privacy and comfort of your own home are easier to get to and fit into your day. You can learn after the kids are in bed, with no need for a sitter. Plus, we're sure the tea/coffee and snacks will be much more to your liking.

15 months and more than 320 Zoom courses later, here we are in another lockdown, with online our only way to keep students learning - for now.

So let’s look at some simple things you can do to ensure the best experience learning online.

How to win at being an online learner

Woman gesturing in a video meeting

1. Know your way around Zoom

Please ignore this tip if you’ve spent the last year working on Zoom – you'll be right across the chat bar and where to unmute yourself. But if it’s all new to you, take the time to check out Zoom’s video tutorials – or maybe plan a Zoom catchup with a friend and have a play with the features. It’ll take the stress out of your first session and you can use that class starting time to chat with your tutor and other students instead.

2. Log in early

Although it can be amazingly quick to log in and start, we all have those days when the modem needs a reset, you can’t find the meeting ID or you mistake the Google Duo icon for Zoom, and oops, sorry, which platform was it, again...?

Assume that’s going to happen and get yourself logged in and ready with time to spare before every class. You’ll be relaxed and calm at the start of the class and you won’t miss the all-important intros and housekeeping.

3. Dedicate a space for learning

Create a space away from distractions so you can concentrate and learn. Headphones are a big help if you can’t close a door on others who share your space. Ask housemates or family members to respect the time you have committed to this learning and get their support to keep pets or children occupied elsewhere.

4. Bring it all to the table

Course notes, homework, any materials or references you might need... Have it all ready to go on your device or at your workspace.

5. Don’t forget this is a classroom

In the comfort of home, it’s easy to forget you’re also out in public here. The regular classroom protocols apply to any Zoom class: you should dress, behave and speak appropriately - and maybe set your devices to “do not disturb” for the duration.

6. Get engaged

Active participation will give the best learning experience for all students – and the tutor as well. You’ll enjoy the session and learn more effectively when you: have your video on so others can see you, take part in discussions, and ask questions via the chat bar or “raise hand” button. This instant feedback your tutor gets from active participation helps them deliver a more lively and inclusive learning experience for everyone.


Online Courses

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Sydney Community College Blog