Root Causes of the Challenges in Engaging & Learning Online

The quality and depth of your engagement with instruction and materials is a major determinant of the kind and quality of knowledge and skills you develop. Your motivations, intention, attention, focus, intensity and attitudes powerfully shape learning and are to a great extent within your control if you are purposeful and we address them explicitly here and below. Make purposeful, productive immersion in your learning tasks an objective unto itself. It is THE key condition for learning and achievement. 

Part of the challenge of adapting is CHANGING from old, familiar ways of engaging with instruction and learning to new, unfamiliar methods. Changing one’s behavior requires different strategies and skills than learning itself. One key aspect of behavior change is our ‘mindsets,’ our mental approaches (see below for more)— so adopt ‘adaptive mindsets,’ anticipate adjusting. Big, all-at-once change can be daunting, so break down new tasks and approaches into granular, actionable steps. If you are uncertain how to tackle something, write out steps you can take and then try to fill in the gaps. Talk through plans with others, and use tools like calendars, to do lists, reminders, etc. to cue new decisions and behaviors.


Return to the Graduate Student Guide to Engaging & Learning Online