Now that most of us are studying and working online as countries go into lockdown, it’s never been more important for us to be the best virtual versions of ourselves.
As the University of Surrey’s People, Culture and Inclusion Manager Matthew Maclachlan said, onilne -learning and working is more than just a matter of moving from a physical space to a virtual one.
“The evolution of office work is simple. From slate and scroll to pen and paper, to typewriter, to the desktop computer, to hyper-connectivity,” says Maclachlan.
“However, it has become apparent that virtual working is not as simple as changing your office location – organisations have discovered an urgent need for virtual skills.”
COVID-19 or not, the world is heading into a hyper-connected digital future. This then leads us to the question: Which virtual learning skills should university students be sharpening to prepare for this?
1. Open communication
While working online, you could get distracted by tidal waves of information hitting your inbox.
But to stop yourself from drowning in data, you’ll need to adopt open communication skills which equate to instant responses and follow up emails.
By adopting this vital virtual learning skill early on, you’ll also deepen your understanding of virtual communication etiquette.
It’ll come in mighty useful as we head into a hyper-connected future world of work.
2. Time management
Without a lecture timetable to follow, you may be left wandering the house, avoiding your daily list of study tasks.
And with no strict schedule to lean on, your academic progress could falter.
That’s why time management is another essential virtual learning skill that you must master before entering the world of work.
If you can’t manage your time effectively, how long will it be before your future employer warns you about your slow workflow?
And what will your employees think of you if you forget to turn up to Zoom meetings?
Now is the time to master your self-motivation techniques so that these scenarios never happen.
3. Relationship building
Building relationships with peers via online study sessions means that you’ll have team members to lean on for help.
This will also prove useful in your future workplace as you’ll learn how to become an integral and reliable member of your department.
There may also be moments in your future career when you need to collaborate with other members for an important project.
So now’s not the time to be shy. Call up your fellow online learners and reach out for advice when you need it.
4. Tech proficiency
If you don’t know which tech works best for working at home, then you’re going to be facing a lot of hardships in the future workplace!
Now is the time to invest in your tech knowledge. For instance, is Zoom the best app for video conferences?
Does Microsoft Teams really bring the team together?
And is Trello the best device for daily scheduling?
These are all examples of questions that you can figure out while studying from home.