How to Increase Productivity for Online Learning

How to Increase Productivity for Online Learning

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increase productivity for online learning

Since the invention of the internet, working from home has been integrated into weekly working schedules, with most office companies allowing their staff to work at home a couple times of week. Numbers for this only increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, to prevent people from coming into close contact. However, since then, working from home has only pushed a bigger divide amongst people struggling with socialisation skills. Some even find it difficult to engage with people online compared to within the workplace. In order to increase productivity for online learning, this article will discuss various productive techniques in order to learn how to work more efficiently when studying online. 

But before we start, make sure to find out about the online learning stats and facts for 2023

1. Create a Study Space

organised study room to increase productivity

If you share your living space with roommates, friends, or family in a dorm, room, or apartment, consider dedicating a specific area for your studies. Even if it’s temporary and used only when needed, it’s valuable to have a designated space where you can place books, laptops, and other items that inspire learning.

Make sure your study area is comfortable and conducive to productivity. Communicate with those around you, so they understand that when you’re in your study space, you need uninterrupted time to focus. If your study spot happens to be the kitchen table, try to establish an agreement that it’s exclusively yours for a certain period. After all, an organised work or study space can make an individual feel less stressed and more productive. If your desk is cluttered, it will only lead to less productivity. You only have to read this article by David Carter about how office design space can impact productivity in the workplace. 

2. Staying disciplined

Studying at home is a disciplined activity in itself. Compared to studying at a desk at college or in a busy office, there are more distractions at home, including an increased likelihood to go on your phone or watch TV. This can only be worsened if the room you are working in is cluttered with clothes, dishes, and other home accessories. Even before you start working or studying, simply set aside a couple of minutes (we recommend no more than 15 minutes) to quickly clean the room that you are working in. Put the dishes in the sink. Collect the dirty clothes into a laundry basket. Switch the TV off, and keep your phone in a nearby drawer. These simple techniques will enable you to remain disciplined and maintain focus on your online tasks.

3. Asking for help

asking for help to increase productivity

One positive impact of the internet is allowing you to communicate with people a lot faster. If you want to increase productivity during your online learning, but are not sure who to turn to, then messaging a colleague or peer provides a handy solution if you are unsure of anything. Some may procrastinate this and consider it to be ‘distracting’ their peers, but at the end of the day, your peer should prioritise your needs too, and set aside peer-to-peer learning if needed. 

After all, not everyone is going to have access to libraries, a reliable laptop, or have the best Wi-Fi connection in the world. Online learning has many positives and negatives, and in order to work productively online, you need to be able to work with each other (as well as the internet) to make learning online easier. Here are some of the biggest disadvantages of E-learning

The customer service team at NCC Home Learning are also there to help with any problems that you are facing with online learning. 

4. Mini Goals

Mini goals are just as important as larger ones, so you shouldn’t overlook them. Taking the first step can be challenging. A mini goal could be as simple as writing one error-free line of code. Although this may not hold much significance for a pro, it’s crucial for beginners. Completing micro goals might only take an hour, but they pave the way towards more intricate solutions. 

In most education formats, these are called SMART goals. For example, SMART targets are:

  • Smart
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant 
  • Time-Bound

By writing yourself mini goals based around these targets, you can set about achieving them in a realistic time frame. 

5. Sticking to sleep patterns

stick to sleeping patterns to aid productivity

Studying and working can be tough. When we sleep, our brain continues to learn. Actually, the brain is more active at night than during the day when we are awake. It sorts and organises information while forming strong connections that improve our skills over time. Creating a regular rhythm in our environment is crucial for optimal functioning, whether at school, work, or in other parts of life. Following this approach can help us be productive in any field.

If you want to apply yourself further, it is important to plan further goals, both for your career and your personal life, hence we have created an essential guide on how to write a personal development plan, which is a must-read for those aspiring to kickstart their career! 

6. Revising 

The best way to reinforce what you’ve learned is to document the process, the outcome, and revising the information in due course. You could also consider sharing these experiences on a blog, via Telegram, other social media channels. When you retell what you’ve learned, your friends and followers may become interested and might ask questions, seeing your progress and motivating you to seek new knowledge. Explaining what you’ve learned to others helps you understand it better, leading to clearer thinking. Until you start sharing your knowledge with others, you might not fully understand it yourself.

It is time to learn about the differences between distance vs face to face learning

7. A job half done…

Ever heard of the phrase, if a job is half done, it is not finished? It’s not good if you’ve only completed half of the work and stored the document in your desktop storage. In education, it’s crucial to show your process, attempts, and unfinished tasks. Don’t be afraid, don’t isolate yourself, and don’t criticise yourself excessively. Share your progress with the group, teacher, friends, and colleagues during training. Sometimes, unfinished work while learning can be a vital sign of your development. It’s challenging to study until you reach a state of complete focus and immersion in your work, where time and distractions fade away. At this stage, even incomplete sketches carry inner strength and motivation, which should be documented and discussed with peers and teachers.

Therefore, if you want to increase productivity on online learning, make sure to finish all of the courses before moving onto your next task, and always keep your data backed up, either on a USB stick, your desktop, or on a cloud storage.

8. Planning your day in advance

calander planning to increase productivity

Watching your recorded lectures later can be risky, so try not to postpone attending them. Pay proper attention to the lectures and explanations given by your professor. Avoid watching instructional videos while eating or listening to music.

Make sure to dedicate the same amount of time to studying at home as you spend in lectures at your university or college. If you feel tired or unwell, take a break and engage in some exercise or household tasks. Once you feel better, get back to your studies.

9. Managing time

Time can become a massive constraint in everyone’s daily routines. This could be because of procrastination, overworking, or underworking yourself. It is important to realise that each task and course will have various levels of time allocated to them. It is a matter of choosing which revision technique works for you too. If you feel that watching videos is easier and you can make notes quicker that way, then adopt that formula. Or if you prefer re-reading notes and highlighting them in terms of importance, you can adopt that approach too. Also, make sure to allocate regular breaks for 5-15 every hour and a half or so, to get yourself a drink, stretch, or even get some fresh air. These are all key techniques to adopt when learning what is revision too.

10. Lectures on the go

This may be more of a peculiar technique to approach for increasing your productivity for online learning, but attending lectures on the go can prove to be a worthwhile activity. This may include rewatching revision videos at a cafe, listening to them on a walk, or during your recreational activities. Yes, revision may be a chore, but choosing this approach can make revision a more enjoyable experience too, and a getaway from the traditional ways of revising, breaking you away from the confines of a desk. 

11. The Sound of Music

listening to music to help with productivity

Whilst you should not listen to music whilst in a lecture, having a bit of background sounds whilst revising has been proven to increase productivity for online learning. The right kind of music can impact work performance, and choosing music styles that are catchy for you to listen to but do not contain a substantial amount of lyrics can help you to memorise content. Some sources also recommend video game music as well, since these are specifically made to enhance a gaming experience. With that in mind, it can enhance your studying experience too and improve productivity. 

Increase Productivity for Online Learning with NCC

In conclusion, boosting productivity in online learning requires a multifaceted approach. By setting clear goals, establishing a conducive study environment, and adopting effective time management strategies, students can stay focused and motivated. Embracing interactive tools, seeking peer engagement, and staying organised will empower learners to excel in the virtual education landscape, achieving academic success and personal growth.


How can I stay focused and avoid distractions during online learning?

Creating a designated study space, turning off notifications, and using website blockers are effective ways to minimise distractions and maintain focus.

How can I combat procrastination while studying online?

Breaking tasks into smaller, manageable portions, setting deadlines for each, and rewarding yourself for completing them can aid in overcoming procrastination.

How can I overcome feelings of isolation while learning online?

Joining virtual study groups, participating in online forums, and reaching out to classmates for discussions can alleviate feelings of isolation.


Carter, D., (n.d.) How Does Office Design Impact Productivity? Babinc. [online] Available at:,to%20produce%20their%20 best%20work. [accessed 21/07/23] 

Tamm, S., (2023) 10 Biggest Disadvantages of E-Learning. E-Student. [online] Available at: [accessed 21/07/23] 

(n.d.) How to Make SMART goals achievable. Mindtools. [online] available at: [accessed 21/07/23] 

Lesiuk, T. (2005). The effect of music listening on work performance. Psychology of Music, 33(2), 173–191. Available at: OR [accessed 21/07/23] 

Nick Cooper
Nick is NCC's resident blog author and covers a range of subjects, including teaching and health & social care. NCC is an international learning provider with over 20 years’ experience offering learning solutions. To date, NCC has engaged with over 20,000 employers, and delivered quality training to over half a million learners.
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