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Tips for Success

How can you achieve success in a virtual environment? 

It's challenging! In Park Rapids Area Virtual Academy you will have supportive instructors and guides, which will include your own family. But attending school virtually is totally different from face-to-face learning, and you will need to be serious with your studies in order to be successful. This requires consistency...and it is your responsibility! The biggest key is to stay on top of your work. If you can remain "caught up", the likelihood of success is much higher. But here are some additional tips to help you find success in an online school!

Set Yourself Up for Success from the Start

tips for success

1. Establish a productive learning environment
Attempting to work on your assignments while streaming Netflix or texting your friends is not going to work if you're going to be successful. In order to do your school work conscientiously you need to be sitting up, concentrating, and using your brain. Choose an area in your home that is free from distractions and allows you to work without being bothered by family noise, the television, or even your comfy-looking bed. Select a desk or table and create your work space, understanding that you will need to sit in this space daily, and often for long stretches of time. Lounging on your bed just won't work for this type of learning.

2. Plan out a schedule for completing and reviewing assignments
In order to make steady progress through your courses, a schedule is important. Each of your assignments has a due date, which you can view in your dashboard in Apex. It isn't necessary to work in every class every day. You may choose to work on three classes on one day and two to three classes the next day, and alternate. Keep rotating through your classes and over the course of a week you should be able to stay on top of your work. The key is to be disciplined and consistent so that the work in every class gets done, just as it would if you were sitting in a regular classroom.

Along with the time you set aside to complete assignments, it’s also suggested to have a set time to look over the tasks for every one of your classes so that you can set up an agenda for each week. In doing this, you won’t mistakenly forget to turn something in.

3. Use the ‘chunking’ strategy to section out tasks
The term “chunking” refers to taking a large task or a large amount of information and dividing it into smaller units. Instead of staring at a computer screen for three hours at a time, “chunk” your time by following a specific pattern. Set a goal to work for a certain amount of time, or to complete certain tasks. Then, when you've completed them, take a break. Go for a quick walk, stretch, perhaps have a snack. You will feel better when you come back to tackle the next chunk of work, and you'll find that it's much easier to stay focused.

5. Use your imagination to complete a task
There may be times where you go over an assignment or task that seems rather tedious. Instead of waving it off as the days go by, think about how you can turn the assignment or task into an engaging one. Using this strategy means using your imagination to creatively modify the work you’ll turn in. Remember, the work still needs to be completed. However, can you print it out, read it outloud, take pictures of your work, or add some other unique twist to make it more interesting for you.

6. Make the work you're doing online more personally significant
You may experience a lack of motivation when you feel unconnected to an assignment or task being given. Although not every assignment relates to your own life or your future, try to think of reasons the work you're doing in class might be valuable in the future...even if it's just that it keeps you on the path to graduation!

7. Problem-Solve on Your Own - But Ask for help when you need it!
As you adjust to working online, it’s important to remember that most questions can be answered when you read instructions carefully and when you go over each module properly. Though your teachers are prepared to answer your questions, instead of sending multiple emails throughout the day for each problem you’re facing, it may be more productive to first try to resolve the issue yourself through a Google search. If you're really stuck, reach out to your teacher and request a Google Meet or telephone call. Don't wait until you've fallen behind to make this call.

8. The secret to getting ahead is to get started
Sometimes our assignments seem so hard that we avoid them, and when this happens it's easy to fall behind. The secret to getting ahead is to start! It's amazing how much you can do once you put your mind to it!