Online learning has grown from strength to strength in recent years. A combination of the now widespread availability of digital technologies and a desire to make higher education more easily accessible to a larger pool of students has led to a rise in the number of online learning platforms.

But while online or distance learning delivers many advantages for students, it comes with a few challenges as well. The following article delves into three key strategies that can be used to facilitate successful online learning for students in higher education.

1) Record Online Lectures & Leverage Captioning

The engine that drives any course of study, whether it be online or offline, is the series of lectures delivered by the tutor throughout a module. But these lectures are also frequently very dense in terms of information. Trying to remember all, or even most, of the lecture can feel overwhelming, even when taking notes. 

Recording online lectures can be a highly effective strategy for better learning. Many colleges and universities now come equipped with lecture capture technologies that teachers can easily use from anywhere. But not only do such tools streamline the process of delivering engaging lectures; they also provide an enhanced online learning experience for students.

The most obvious benefit of this strategy is that it gives students the freedom to rewatch lectures as many times as needed. It removes the pressure of having to retain every detail of information as it’s being presented, and means that the lecture can be reused as a study guide later.

In addition to lecture capture technology, advanced tools like Caption.ed can now improve the learning experience even further through captioning. Platforms such as this provide an accurate transcription of the lecture without teachers or students lifting a finger. Studies have shown that using captioning can lead to higher grades and overall better performance in a learning environment.

2) Use The Cornell Notes System

Learners who benefit from taking lots of notes can turn to the Cornell Notes system for assistance. This strategy facilitates the compression and clear organisation of notes. While there are different specific approaches to this practice, a popular one is the “two columns” method.

In this approach, students divide their page into two columns: a questions and keywords column, and a note-taking column. The latter is usually at least twice as large as the former. 

Throughout the lecture, a student will write the key headings and questions that structure the lesson in the questions column. They can then populate the note-taking column with the central concepts of the lecture, paraphrasing where possible for brevity.

Thereafter, the student can cover the note-taking column, answering the questions in the other column to test their knowledge. The impact of the Cornell notes method has been highlighted in a number of studies. It provides a good way of developing systematic, comprehensive, and revision-optimised notes.

3) Utilise The SQ4R Method

The effects of the SQ4R method include optimising learning, as shown through different research studies. SQ4R stands for Survey, Question, Read, Respond, Record, and Review. By following the six steps in this approach, students can maximise the amount of information retained from course readings.

  1. Students need to survey the texts in question by reading the headings, introductions, and conclusions. This will provide a “big picture” understanding of the information in question, including its central focus.
  2. The next step is to create questions out of the headings that were scanned in the previous step. For example, “The Fall of the Roman Empire” could change to “What caused the Fall of the Roman Empire?”
  3. Step three involves actively reading the text, taking care to thoroughly digest all the information. While reading, however, it’s important to try establishing the answer to the question from step two.
  4. From there, students should respond to the set question. They can close the text and use their reading to create a satisfactory answer. If this proves difficult, students can simply repeat step two until they manage it.
  5. Thereafter, it’s important to record what was learnt. Precisely how this is done is up to the individual student. They can choose to use bullet points, write long notes, or use any other method. The essential point is that students are writing down the material in their own words.
  6. The last step entails reviewing notes frequently and thoroughly. By doing this regularly students will come to gain an excellent understanding of the course material and its subject matter. This leaves students well positioned to excel when exams come round.

Go With Tried & Tested Online Learning Strategies

There are numerous methods that students can leverage to maximise their virtual learning. The three online learning strategies outlined above are widely favoured approaches that have proven to be effective in higher education. By utilising these techniques, students can position themselves to perform at their highest level. This sets them up perfectly to stand out in an increasingly competitive job market.

Why not take a look at how Caption.Ed could improve your learning?