Separating Home from School as an Online Learner

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Posted on February 6th, 2011

The most obvious difference between online learning and classroom learning is the place in which the learning occurs. Figuring out how to adjust to learning in a place other than a classroom can be tricky at first. With this comes the difficultly of learning to separate school from home. Because an online student’s classroom is often times his or her home, this separation can seem nearly impossible and the importance of doing so is often overlooked.

It is essential for an online learner to establish a “classroom environment” within their home that will be conducive to learning and studying. As an online student, chances are most of your coursework is done from your laptop. When this is the case students are often tempted to do everything in one place, such as a bed, kitchen counter, or couch. Creating separate spaces for work and leisure activities encourages you to focus on one thing at a time. If you are sitting on a couch or at a desk in your bedroom to work on your online class it can sometimes be too difficult to restrain yourself from turning on the television or taking a quick nap in bed.

By designating a specific space for learning within your home, you help to eliminate distractions that might deter you from performing to your fullest potential. Choose a room or corner in your home or apartment that is a low traffic area with few visible distractions. Guest bedrooms are great places to set up home offices and work areas. Be sure to let your family members or roommates know where you have established your “home classroom” and what the rules of that area are. This will help your friends and family aid in your online education rather than hinder it with enticing distractions.

Just as important as it is to designate a “work only” space within your home, it is also important to designate a “leisure only” place within your home. Designate a room or area in your house or apartment that serves the sole purpose of relaxation and downtime. You will never bring online school work to this area. Being a student is stressful and difficult. It is essential to your mental health and to your academic success that you find a way to relieve that stress. By assigning areas in your house with specific functions, you have a simple way of defining work time and leisure time.

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