A Letter about Well-being – Study Skills for Distance Learning

Tampere University has switched to online instruction. The current exceptional circumstances have a major impact on the daily lives of our students. While many of our students are already familiar with distance learning, the switch to fully remote learning is something new at our University. Even when working remotely, it is important to maintain your effective study habits.

The new situation may force students to develop new working methods and expand their existing study skills. The University’s study psychologists have collected information about study skills to the Student’s guide to help you get started with the development of study skills that you may need when working remotely. More information will be gradually added to the intranet page.

We encourage you to reflect on your attitudes towards distance learning now that we are all working and studying from home. Teleworking is becoming increasingly common – you may develop new working methods and models that will benefit you in the long run. The study psychologists have published the new Study skills for distance learning page on the Student’s guide, that offers you tips for making effective academic progress under the current circumstances.

Problems with procrastination are common among students. This may become a challenge now that all students are working from home, especially if you have a habit of working in the library or elsewhere outside your home and are used to having access to social support while studying. In this case, it is especially important to set up a separate workspace, if possible, and ensure you maintain a healthy work/life balance. For example, you could “commute” by taking a short walk-around before you get to work. This physical exercise will mentally prepare you for work. When you finish working, you can commute home by following the same route the other way around. This will help you switch off from work and relax.

You can seek social support for your learning, for example, by scheduling virtual start/end sessions or virtual coffee breaks with your fellow students. Remote meetings will also allow you to share your thoughts about the topic at hand, the progress of your studies, effective learning techniques and anything else. If you are worried about procrastination, you can listen to the Psykopodiaa podcast (in Finnish), that discusses topics relating to procrastination, motivation and goals with psychologist Satu Pihlaja.

It is important to set effective goals to prevent procrastination. You can practice this by thinking about an important value or area of your life (such as relationships, studies, well-being) that your goals could be associated with. Consider your goals by asking yourself which goals would help you move in your desired direction and offer you the right amount of challenge. Set yourself 1-3 goals and write them down.

Make sure your goals reflect something that you are working towards or want to increase in your life (for example, if you want to get rid of clutter in your home, reformulate your goal: I want my home to be clean). Are your goals consistent with your values, or at least not in conflict with your core values? Are your goals personal and can you affect their achievement? For example, we can hope for nicer weather or for our partner to behave differently, but then we are not setting goals for ourselves. Make sure you set goals that are concrete, specific, time-bound and measurable.  End the exercise by considering how you can monitor your progress on a weekly basis.


Study psychologists Taija, Sonja, Simo and Eero


The goal-setting exercise is from a book authored by Satu Pihlaja (2018) Aikaansaamisen taika, Näin johdat itseäsi.

All the letters written to students and personnel this spring to help them maintain their well-being will be available in the Group counselling channel Ryhmäohjaus.

Please note that the services of the study psychologists and other centralised academic guidance and counselling services will remain available to students as usual during the current exceptional circumstances. Please see the Students’ guide for more information.

The Study skills for distance learning page and other study skills pages are available in the Student’s guide.