A Foolproof Formula for Staying Motivated During Online Learning

A Foolproof Formula for Staying Motivated During Online Learning

How can you stay motivated when learning is online?


In a typical classroom, you have a teacher to engage you in the subject and other students to socialize with. When it’s just you and your laptop watching pre-recorded videos or feeling anonymous in a Zoom full of “camera off” classmates, you’ll need to take charge of your experience.

Fortunately, you have plenty of role models to learn from.

Even before the pandemic, more than 6 million students were enrolled in distance education and at least 77% of US corporations have incorporated some sort of online training into their programs, according to the Online Learning Consortium.

Here at the Academy, while our classes have been remote during the pandemic, our 1-on-1 personalized courses are always live and in person. Still, just the act of sitting in front of a computer makes maintaining motivation a challenge, even if you’re having a great conversation with your personal instructor right there with you. What have we learned?

Find a balance that will enable you to continue your education while fulfilling your other responsibilities. Try this formula for making learning effective and fun. 


Staying Disciplined with Online Learning:

    • Set goals. Keep your purpose firmly in mind. Remember your main objectives, whether you want to finish a degree you started years ago or increase your appreciation for art. If a big goal feels overwhelming, make your goals small and easy to achieve this week (or even this hour). Your brain will LOVE the accomplishment, so if “wear real pants” is what it takes for the win, go for it!


    • Plan your week. Block out time for your most important activities. Tackle demanding tasks during the hours when you’re usually at peak performance. For most people, that time is early morning, but teens have different sleep patterns and their brains will be more productive a few hours after an adult’s.


    • Establish routines. Cutting down on daily decisions can make you more efficient. Adopt habits like doing your assigned readings one hour before bedtime. Attach your new study habits to established habits for best results, such as listening to a fun Crash Course video while you brush your teeth.


    • Limit distractions. Focus your attention on your studies. Keep your phone and TV turned off during school or study hours. The good news is that your study time will be a LOT shorter if you are focused on just one topic (rather than studying and chatting with friends). If you don’t already, we recommend track how much time you spend on social media. Your phone might also allow you to set limits on particular apps (and you can bypass the limits, but at least you’d know you’d reached/exceeded your goal!).


    • Start small. Baby steps build momentum and make big projects seem less overwhelming. Break your work down into specific measurable tasks. You might spend a morning outlining your research paper or summarizing your notes.


    • Perform reviews. Work on your study skills. Ongoing reviews of your class materials will help you to remember what you’ve studied and may help you earn higher grades. See our Active Study Strategies blog here.


    • Take tests. Research shows that taking practice tests is the most effective way to learn. Your teacher may provide them, or you can write your own.


    • Create priorities. Respect your limits. If you’re adding coursework on top of your other responsibilities, give yourself adequate time for sleep and other essentials. Scratch some other items off your to-do list if possible.



Having Fun with Online Learning:

    • Connect with others. You can still enjoy a sense of community while studying online. Ask your teacher about their communication preferences so you can stay in touch and ask questions. Participate in student chat rooms and virtual study groups.


    • Decorate your space. Designate an area for your school activities with aesthetics and ergonomics in mind. Display your favorite photos or a green plant. Ensure that you can maintain correct posture while reading and typing.


    • Reward yourself. Give yourself incentives to excel. Maybe you’ll want to order sushi for dinner each time you get an A. Maybe you’d like to spend an hour reading novels for each hour you spend solving math problems.


    • Play games. Make your assignments more entertaining. Challenge your classmates to some friendly competition. Invent funny sentences and songs that help you to memorize dates and names.


    • Take breaks. Building adequate downtime into each day will help you to reduce stress and achieve more. Take a ten-minute break each hour. Extend your lunch hour so you can go for a walk or lift weights.

Earn a degree online or use your time at home to deepen your knowledge about any subjects that interest you. Being able to motivate yourself will help you to persevere and succeed at online learning.


Want to hear more about Accredited Middle & High School classes, academic support (Tutoring), The SAT/ACT Diagnostic Comparison Test, or test prep?


Pacific Learning Academy is a one-on-one school offering single courses and dual enrollment, as well as full-time middle and high school. Pacific Learning Academy is Washington State Approved via the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI — see listings HERE) and a nationally Accredited private school via AdvancED/Northwest Accreditation Commission (NWAC). High School coursework is approved by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). We also offer tutoring in all subjects from 6th to 12th grade, including test prep, either in-home or local libraries across the Eastside (Issaquah, Sammamish, etc…).

May 7, 2021
Pacific Learning Academy