Many of our classes have moved to remote learning. It is a little different than what you have been doing—and we get it. You enrolled in trade school because you wanted to work with your hands and get to know what using real equipment is like. You might be wondering, how are you going to learn through a computer?
The good news is, you’re not alone. This is a sudden change for a lot of people. And learning remotely isn’t hard, it just takes some getting used to.
We put together a list of tips that will help you transition more smoothly to a remote learning environment where you can thrive.
Find a Place to Sit and Focus
Your bed or couch in front of the TV won’t be where you’ll excel at an online course. Locate a place in your home where you can focus on your instruction and coursework with minimal distraction. You’ll need at least the following:
- A comfortable chair
- A table
- A computer
- Headphones or earbuds
Create a Routine
When you train in person, you drive to school to work with tools and equipment with instructors and other students every day. You know what to expect and what is expected of you.
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When you learn online and away from your instructors and fellow students, it’s another situation entirely. It’s a new reality you’ll need to plan for.
Taking extended breaks and putting off coursework might be tempting with the new flexibility online courses offer, but remote learning requires just as much dedication as in-person learning does. Don’t let the comfort of your home make you forget why you enrolled in the first place.
- Go to bed and wake up at certain hours.
- Eat breakfast.
- Be online in time for class.
- Take breaks throughout the day.
- Complete assignments on time, and don’t wait until the last minute to do them.
- Write down what you need to do to prepare for tomorrow.
Flexibility is nice, but it still requires planning. Manage your time wisely, and you’ll never have to worry about falling behind.
Study, Listen and Take Notes
You know what makes hands-on training so great? The hands-on part. It’s hard to beat handling actual equipment and doing something from start to finish, all with verbal instruction from an experienced pro right by your side. That’s the big appeal of trade school.
You need to adapt to a different style of learning for online instruction. It’s not all that different from how you learned in high school or any college courses you may have taken.
Take notes. Get a planner or a notebook in which you can write down what your instructor is explaining to you. This is the next best thing after hands-on learning. Take as many notes as you can, and review them regularly to make sure the information sticks in your head.
You won’t have the luxury of working in a booth or on an A/C unit to brush up on your skills, but don’t underestimate the value of good, reliable notes that you can refer to at any time during your program.
Your instructor will be speaking to you via a computer. Have a good pair of headphones or earbuds so that you can clearly hear everything they say. If you don’t have headphones or earbuds, make sure the room you’re sitting in is quiet so that nothing can drown out their voice.
Talk to Your Instructors and Other Students
Your instructors are just as dedicated to your success as they were before social distancing and the transition to remote instruction. They are with you every step of the way and want you to be prepared to enter the workforce after graduation.
Don’t be afraid to ask your instructors as many questions as you need. Miss something in class? Couldn’t understand what they said during instruction? Ask them to repeat themselves.
Having trouble with your internet connection? Did a family emergency come up that will force you to miss class? Tell them.
Face-to-face talking isn’t an option right now, so communication is more important than ever.
Ask other students for their phone numbers and email addresses. Add them on social media. Share your notes with them. They possibly have notes on subjects that you missed, and you might have information that would also help them. Form study groups together to go over what your instructor taught in class.
You might not be right next to them, but you’re all still in this together. Don’t let the distance discourage you from reaching out to your fellow tradespeople in training.
Manage Your Family Life
If you have young kids at home, chances are, they have to stay home from school. Lots of schools are shutting down around the world, forcing students of every grade to come home and either learn online (like you) or wait until schools open back up again.
You know your kids. They might want you to play with them while you’re trying to focus, or they might want to use the computer when you need to use it for class. It will be a period of adjustment.
This means you might have to plan your school schedule and your family time around each other.
Wake up earlier than normal to prepare their breakfast. Explain to your children why you need the computer and why you won’t be able to play with them as much as they would like you too.
Don’t feel guilty for leaning on your extended family during this time. They might enjoy some quality time with grandparents or aunts and uncles during the hours you need to spend studying (provided your extended family is healthy and practicing social distancing!)
You can even get your family in on the fun. Give your kids your notes and ask them to quiz you. It keeps your mind sharp and your family involved.
Adopting to this new normal will take time, but if you follow the steps above, you’ll feel better about transitioning to remote learning and will excel in class. And once these orders to close businesses end, we will welcome all students back to our Jacksonville and Houston campuses with open arms.
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