Four tips for getting the most out of online lectures – Rev David Hodge, Online Contributor


There are some very obvious benefits to online education. It is mobile, able to go wherever you have an internet connection. In many cases it is also on-demand. With pre-recorded lectures and video content, you can participate in the course at the time that is most convenient for you as a student. But with these benefits comes the likelihood that you are more detached from your professor and peers than you would be in a traditional classroom setting. The online learning experience does not need to be inferior to that of the classroom. A few essential tips will help you to get the most out of online lectures and ensure your online education is effective and impacting.


Tip #1: Repetition, repetition, repetition. It is no secret that repetition greatly enhances memory and learning. Think of some of the many things you had to learn to do: tie a shoe, ride a bike, play a game, pound a nail. Repetition enhanced the process. Every time you repeated the action you became better at it. This is no less true in online education. One of the great benefits to online courses is the ability to rewind the professor. By repeating what was said, understanding and comprehension increases not to mention retention of material. This is especially true if the lecture’s content is complicated or unfamiliar. So use this amazing tool to your advantage. Watch the lectures as often as needed to grasp the material.


Tip #2: Pause and take notes. All students can take notes while a teacher is speaking. The advantage in online learning, of course, is that the lecture can be paused midstream so that you are able to take notes without losing what is said next. Be sure to take notes on things which the professor is stressing or items which may be important for exams. Writing them down will enhance memory retention. And nothing is lost in the lecture since the play button is just one click away.


Tip #3: Ask questions. Since technology allows you to pause the lecture, stop and write down any questions you may have. What is confusing or unclear? Is an additional example necessary to help you understand? Then be sure to ask the professor for assistance. He or she will not know where you are having difficulty if you do not communicate. Asking questions will ensure that you are getting answers and will increase learning. Not only that, if you have a question, chances are good that someone else has the same question, too.


Tip #4: Reflect. At the end of each lecture, take a few moments to summarize what you learned in the lecture. Summarize the content in three to four sentences. If you can create a brief summary, then you likely understood the material well. If not, go back and review the lecture again. Once you have created a summary of the lecture’s content, take a few moments to think about how the information you learned might be practically useful to you. Jot down some thoughts. Some useful ideas may come to you, but these may be quickly forgotten if they are not committed to writing.


The way to get the most out of online lectures and online education is to be an active learner. Active learners engage with the material, the professor, and classmates using the platform of the lectures and other presentations. Utilizing these tips will make the educational experience effective for you.