COVID-19 Info Centre

Tips for successful online learning

Learning in an online environment can be quite different than learning in a classroom. And we know some learners do really well with it, and others may struggle a bit. That’s only natural.

Remote learning is going to involve a new set of skills, aptitudes and practices for most of our students (and our teachers). But there are tricks and traits that successful online learners often employ that can help us all through this process.

Set yourself up

Stay connected with your teacher

  • Use synchronous tools (tools where messages and responses are exchanged immediately), like video chats and live streams, when available or when the ability to engage immediately is important.
  • Use asynchronous tools (those tools where messages can be sent back and forth without both sides needing to be available at the same time), like email or message boards, to ask questions, share resources or provide missing details.
  • Check your email regularly (at least once a day, through the regular school week).


  • Contribute to chats, discussion boards and posts. The more you put in, the more you get out of it!
  • Work together with your teacher and classmates: share files and documents (when acceptable).
  • Use each other’s names … especially when responding to someone’s question or contribution.

Know your role in a discussion

  • Be patient as your teacher and classmates work through glitches and challenges.
  • Follow guidelines/expectations for participation (e.g. know whether your teacher would like you to use the chat function in MS Teams to ask questions throughout the lesson, or if they’d rather you wait and ask everything at the end).
  • Read questions and conversation posts carefully.
  • Be considerate. Everyone is learning, in so many ways.

Looking for more tips or guides on how to best engage in online conversations? Download and print this sheet as a tool you can easily reference as you work: Student communication for online learners

And do your best. Practice will make it easier and we’ll all get increasingly comfortable through this period.