By Sean Alexander

Virtual learning has exploded in popularity in recent years due to the COVID-19 pandemic and technological advances. Many K-12 schools and colleges offer online classes, tutoring, and clinical education in synchronous and asynchronous formats. It’s not hard to see the appeal. After all, a virtual learning environment has numerous benefits, including greater flexibility and the ability to learn from anywhere.


However, virtual classes also pose unique challenges for students. Previous studies show that many K-12 students find it more difficult to engage with online classes. Also, some students procrastinate and fall behind, while others need assistance to effectively learn content in a virtual format. Our expert tips will help you create a productive digital learning environment so your student can get the most out of their online classes.

7 Tips for Creating a Virtual Learning Environment

Fostering a productive online learning environment takes effort, especially if your student is used to studying in a physical classroom. These simple strategies will set your child up for academic success.

Choose a User-Friendly and Reliable Virtual Learning Platform

Many tech companies have developed online classroom platforms, but they’re not all created equal. The best virtual training technology has an intuitive user interface that students can navigate easily. Students should be able to find course content, submit assignments, and check their grades without relying on their parents.

You should also look for a reliable virtual learning system with a customer support team. That way, you won’t have to worry about the platform crashing during a video lecture or deleting homework.

Define Clear Learning Objectives for Each Session or Course

Online classes allow students to study at their own pace, but too much flexibility can make some virtual learners feel aimless or overwhelmed. You can promote effective online learning by setting clear, manageable goals for every study session or class. For instance, your student’s daily learning objectives might include researching for an upcoming essay and studying a new geometry concept.

Students often feel more motivated when they can link their learning objectives to specific tasks. Encourage your child to create a daily or weekly to-do list based on their goals. A student who needs to research an essay topic could aim to take notes on two articles during a study session. Similarly, someone learning geometry could sharpen their skills by playing a math game.

Designate a Dedicated Study Space

Creating a specific study space for your virtual learner boosts productivity and focus. Set up a comfortable desk and chair in a quiet location, such as the living room or a spare bedroom. Add a reading lamp to reduce eyestrain and make the space feel more inviting.

The right accessories will also make your space more conducive for virtual studying. Hang a calendar on the wall to help your student keep track of upcoming deadlines, and stock up on sticky notes and paper so they can work out math problems by hand. Also, give them fidget toys to help them stay attentive during online lectures.

Minimize Distractions

Many students find it challenging to maintain focus in virtual learning spaces. It can be tempting to browse social media while listening to a video lecture or chat with a sibling while studying for a test. However, research shows that multitasking hinders the learning process and decreases memory.

Help your student concentrate on their coursework by minimizing distractions. Mobile apps and extensions that block social media and websites for set periods can help virtual learners stay on task. In addition, family members should avoid interrupting students or making excessive noise during online classes.

Engage Actively During Virtual Classes

Active learning is an essential part of effective virtual learning. Hands-on activities like math games and role-playing allow students to build on their theoretical knowledge and develop new skills. Also, learners may feel more engaged and have higher satisfaction when they have the opportunity to interact with their peers and teachers.

Students can enhance their learning in virtual spaces by engaging in class discussions and activities. For example, they can volunteer responses during a synchronous online class and collaborate with other students during in-class exercises. Additionally, many virtual teaching platforms encourage the application of knowledge through asynchronous activities, such as responding to peers’ posts on a discussion board.

Maintain a Consistent Schedule

Online courses typically allow learners to set their schedules, but too much freedom can lead to an increase in procrastination and all-night study sessions. A consistent routine lets students develop strong time management skills and maintain a reasonable workload.

Students can create a structured routine by reserving specific blocks of time for their online coursework. They might log onto the virtual training platform at the same time every day and devote a set number of hours to learning content for each class. Also, a daily calendar and productivity apps like time trackers can help students maintain their routines in virtual environments.

Schedule Short Breaks During Study Sessions

Spending long hours in a virtual training environment can make students feel tired and unfocused. Incorporate time for short breaks into every study session to help learners reenergize and reduce stress levels. Many students and professionals use the Pomodoro method, which alternates 25 minutes of work with 5-minute breaks.

Frequent rest periods also promote more effective learning. According to the National Institutes of Health, taking short breaks while studying strengthens memory and skill development.

Get Online Tutoring Tailored to the Student's Needs

Online learning has flourished in the past few years, but many students need extra support to succeed when using virtual classroom platforms. Our strategies will help your learner develop healthy study habits and minimize distractions in digital learning environments. However, students can also benefit from receiving personalized attention from a virtual tutor.

Alexander Math and Physics Tutoring provides online math and physics tutoring for students at all levels. Our expert tutors use hands-on activities to increase confidence and make learning experiences fun. We also teach students strategies to study more effectively in virtual learning environments. Contact us today to schedule a free session.


  • Sean Alexander

    COMMAND PILOT, OWNER Sean has been a professional educator for 15 years and has taught math, physics, and astronomy at all levels.  His experience ranges from working at a high school for severe learning differences to teaching advanced physics at Stanford.  After completing his graduate work in theoretical physics Sean founded Alexander Tutoring, with the mission of revealing the deep connections between math and nature to as many students as possible. 

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