We use cookies to personalize and improve your browsing experience. 

To learn more about how we store and use this data, visit our privacy policy here.

With COVID-19 forcing millions of students into a remote or distance learning atmosphere, many learners find themselves struggling to adjust outside of the classroom. Here are some common roadblocks with remote learning and ways to defeat them.

  1. Never-ending distractions

    Students often equate being home with relaxing or after-school time. With many schools transitioning from in-person to online, students are now expected to utilize their home spaces for remote learning. With that comes a long list of distractions that would not have been available in the traditional classroom, including televisions, cell phones, video games, or even the family pet. Whether you’re logging into a learning session or studying for an exam, try to remove all distractions around you and use a quiet space. Focus on the task at hand. Make a checklist of the things you need to accomplish each day and check each item off as they’re completed.

  2. Lack of motivation

    Learning outside of the classroom requires efficient self discipline and time management skills. Since no one is there to remind you to complete assignments or study for an exam, you have to rely on yourself to stay on task and get things done. Sometimes this can feel overwhelming and initiate feelings of giving up. Making a plan, setting attainable goals, and taking breaks to recharge your energy are all ways to help you stay motivated and keep on track.

  3. Failing to stay in contact with instructors

    Running an idea by your instructor or asking him a question is easier to do before or after a class. But how can this be accomplished when you don’t physically see your instructor during remote learning? Contacting your instructor through email is helpful, but you may not receive immediate feedback from him when you need it. If possible, schedule a phone or video call with your instructor and come prepared with the questions or topics where you need feedback. Find out what your instructor’s office hours are and plan ahead to get on his calendar.  

  4. Feeling disconnected from your peers

    No in-person class means you won’t be able to interact with your fellow students face-to-face to work on group projects, study, or just unwind together. Completing school work alone can often lead to feelings of isolation, depression, or anxiety. Combat this by scheduling regular phone or video calls with friends and classmates to feel connected. Take a socially distanced walk with a friend. Interact with your neighbors from a safe distance. Staying connected with others boosts your mental health and wellbeing, while also making you feel supported.    

  5. Not speaking up and falling behind

    It’s easy to go along with online lessons and feel too intimidated to speak up when you have a question. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your instructor and ask for guidance or clarification on a topic you don’t understand. Form an online study or discussion group with other interested students to review the course material and study together. 

Remote learning comes with its share of challenges, but also provides students with opportunities for flexibility, convenience, and networking with your peers.  

Related: A Beginner’s Guide to Online Learning

Looking for online schools and programs? Visit Peterson’s online college and grad school search tool to learn more.