Connect and learn outside the classroom

2 December 2020

There will be times when you need to complete activities outside the classroom, either collaboratively or on your own.

Man on a chair in a field scattering pages of a book


Effective studying and learning

Try to have a designated study space, preferably away from where you sleep and without distractions. This isn’t always possible though, so make a conscious effort to switch off from studying and create a boundary between academic and non-academic time. Think carefully about the best times for you to study, make yourself a schedule and stick to it. As well as timetabled sessions you will have deadlines to complete work or participate in online activities so keep track of these and make sure you don’t miss them! 

Getting the most from your learning material

Lecture or presentation style content will often be pre-recorded for you to watch or listen to. You will also need to read books and articles and these may often be online.  

You probably already know that after about 15 to 20 minutes of studying you start to lose focus and it’s important to take regular breaksHere are some other tips based on neuroscience findings to help you make the most of learning: 

  • Watch, listen or read the same content again, on a different day. Sleeping between study sessions, or changing your study environment, helps to process and integrate new ideas. 
  • Don't 'multi-task'. If you try to do two things at once, your brain switches between each task and you end up with gaps in your attention on both tasks. 
  • Take notes, preferably by hand. Something about the process of handwriting seems to aid retention.  
  • Plan to share your new knowledge. Having this goal helps to maintain focus while studying and explaining concepts to someone else helps to cement your own understanding. 

Taking part in online discussions

You may be asked to take part in online discussions.  Here are some tips on how to do this effectively. 

  • Think before you post. Is what you are about to say adding value to the conversation? 
  • Ask questions. Questions should be clear and unambiguous and have a possible solution. Use questions to probe for new ideas and keep the conversation going. 
  • Be willing and able to support your statements with evidence. 
  • Be kind and respectful. This should probably go without saying but never forget that you are talking to real peopleKeep your criticism constructive and don’t make it personal. 

Find out more

You can find much more guidance and tips of how to study effectively, participate in online discussions and maintain a healthy life balance in the Connected Learning at UCL course in Moodle. 

Last revised: 7 September 2021

Caroline Norris, Digital Skills Development Manager, ISD