Creating a positive learning environment, both within and outside of the classroom, is an important factor in productive student learning. A positive learning environment encourages individual learning and facilitates academic growth. A student should feel comfortable and accepted, with the confidence to liaise with teaching staff and peers to voice their opinions or raise questions.
3 tips to creating a positive learning environment:
- Be respectful, and open to other opinions.
During classroom discussions or debates, you may encounter opinions and views that are vastly different from your own. Remember to be respectful, and remain open to the ideas of others. Each student and faculty member will have their own distinctive experiences and views, and it is important to remain receptive to these in order to refine your own understanding, and progress your education on the topic.
For an external or online student, this relates to group threads or discussion boards. Many external courses offer live discussion or lectures via their University portal. It is important during these segments to respect what your peers are saying. Extra care should be taken in how you construct and phrase messages, as text can be interpreted in different tones.
Attending your class is not the only requirement in order to learn, it is important to actively engage within the classroom. When other students and faculty are speaking, ensure you are listening and think of questions to ask. You may ask for further clarification, or provide feedback and constructive criticism (key word: constructive). Be sure to make eye contact when speaking to someone, use your peers’ names, and if someone has a great idea or comment you find insightful, you can agree and commend them.
This applies for all online discussion boards and peer learning forums. The majority of units will have an introductory thread on the message board, where external students can meet and get to know one another. Being external, it is important to participate in as many of these opportunities as available, to further develop your interpersonal communication, and help create a friendly and positive e-learning environment.
- Limit distractions.
Each student learns in their own unique way, but while you may find writing an assignment or learning a complex theorem easier to accomplish while listening to music – your classmates may not agree. Upon entering any learning situation, be aware and considerate of your peers, and limit distractions. Ensure your mobile phone and laptop (or any other technology used in class) are on silent. Check that any music cannot be heard outside of your earphones, and be sure not to distract your neighbours by talking or interrupting.
If you are an online or external student, creating a positive learning environment within your house is still a vital component to learning. The distraction factor is more prevalent in your own home, and to combat these potential disruptions, you should ensure you have a quiet and uncluttered place to learn. While being sprawled out on your bed with your mobile in one hand may be comfortable, it will not help you actively learn or engage with the curriculum. Be sure during lessons to keep your phone on silent, or better yet out of the room. Turn off other unrelated devices, such as your television. Even set a limit for yourself of how many unnecessary laps around the house you can do within the period.