How to Stay Focused During Online Learning

Learning online can be challenging. In face-to-face classes, you need to physically and mentally prepare yourself by leaving your home and commuting to your school. On the other hand, online classes happen right in the comfort of your room. That’s why you need a lot of discipline to maximize the experience.

Because you’re in your house, midway into a class, you may be distracted by the thought of food easily accessible. This is one of the major issues facing college students today.

So, how can you stay focused during an online class?

Here are some tips that will help you:

1. Set up an Ideal Workspace

Don’t ever stay in your bedroom to do your work! You could be tempted to lie down and take a nap.

It will help to set up a fixed place in your house to study. If your living space permits, find an area outside your bedroom or away from the kitchen.

Regard this place as a school-focused zone. Make sure that it’s a quiet workspace where you won’t be distracted by any surrounding noise.

You may get a lamp to improve the lighting and avoid strain on your eyes. Also, ensure you have a table and a chair that you’ll be comfortable sitting in for long hours.

This is a big step in staying focused for an online class.

2. Have a Dedicated Study Time

When creating a routine, pattern if after the schedule you would have if you had face-to-face classes. Keeping to the typical on-campus timetable will make you more productive while studying online.

Flexibility is an advantage of online learning, but it’s also a major cause of procrastination and laziness among students. When you create a schedule and stick to it, it’ll help you adjust to the demands of your new learning environment without getting distracted.

The process is as simple as setting a time during the day to complete each task. When it’s time to work on a project, don’t do other things. Ensure you start what you have set aside to do that time.

3. Eliminate Distractions

Studying in your room with the TV on is like shooting yourself in the leg. Your dedicated study room should be far from electronic noise.

Also, set your phone on “Do not disturb” mode until you have completed the task for the day. The recurrent notifications coming from your phone can be very distracting. Besides, you may find yourself mindlessly scrolling through a social media page for hours if you get distracted.

Nowadays, social media can be among the biggest distractions for many people. Because it has become a part of our daily lives, it’s difficult to abandon it. However, you can decide to ignore the temptation to use social media until you are done with the assignments and classes for the day.

Generally, distractions make it easy for you to procrastinate. So, avoid them at all costs.

4. Reward Yourself

Break study sessions into 25-minute intervals, then reward yourself five-minute breaks in between. Also known as the Pomodoro technique, this time management method can be a quick way to build the habit of productivity.

Research shows that taking a five-minute break after a long study session has many benefits.

So, take it easy and don’t overwork your mind. You don’t have to complete an entire module in one day. When you take short breaks in between, it will help you relax. As a result, you can return with renewed energy and sometimes, a completely new perspective on your assignment.

5. Use a Timer

There’s a notable amount of research out there suggesting that tracking time while working and taking breaks can increase productivity. Doing so will give you insights into how you spend your time throughout the day.

We recommend using time tracking software to help you identify common time wasters. There are apps that monitor the programs you use and the websites you visit. Using a program like this will help you become aware of the non-productive activities you do throughout the day.

6. Ask for Help

When you need assistance with any course, reach out to your teachers or your classmates who are also studying virtually. Most online learning platforms have a chat section where you can ask your questions.

Not being able to see your teachers and classmates in person should not be a hindrance to your learning. On the contrary, make it a habit to ask questions when you don’t understand a topic.

If you are more efficient when studying in a group, reach out to your classmates and set virtual meetings with them. In a study group, people can hold each other accountable.

Establish a rapport and ask questions.  Don’t shy away from building connections. You’ll be surprised to learn that most of your classmates will appreciate having a study buddy.

7. Take Hand Written Notes

Always keep a pen and notebook with you during an online class. Ideally, you should have separate notepads for every subject.

You may resort to typing your notes, but writing with a pen and paper aids your learning. This method helps you pay more attention to details and remember information faster.

8. Catch Some Sleep

Do you believe that sleep is important to your learning too?

Research by the US National Institute of Health shows that the amount of sleep college students get is one of the strongest predictors of academic success. Getting adequate sleep plays a critical role in reducing memory loss. Avoid cutting down on your sleep time to take an online class.

Instead, plan to take scheduled naps during the day to make up for the sleep you might not be getting at night.

9. Update Your Technology

It is distracting to start battling with tech issues while a class is ongoing. You can’t be focused in an online class when you can’t hear or see properly. So, make sure you update your apps and check your internet connection.

Get the necessary information about the online platforms your professors use for discussions ahead of time. Also, watch videos to become proficient with the tools to avoid confusion when your classes have started.

Also, stick to your professor’s schedule instead of watching the recorded classes later. Whenever you attend live online classes, you will be encouraged to interact and participate.


If you keep these tips in mind, you’ll be able to maximize your online learning to the fullest. There are tools and techniques you can use to ensure that you can get the most out of the experience.