The years 2020-21 have changed the way education was designed for students. With schools & universities shut across the world, millions of children have had to adapt to online learning.

As a result, education has changed drastically, with the emergence of e-learning, whereby teaching is undertaken remotely on digital platforms. Research suggests that online learning has been shown to increase retention of information in less time, which might imply that these changes might be here to stay.

Advanced technology now allows students to study entirely online while still socializing with classmates, watching lectures and participating in subject-specific discussions. However, online learning does require self-motivation.

It is important to give students a separate space for online learning, where they can keep their learning material as it helps establish a routine and stay focused. However, that might not always be possible.

In spite of schools going completely digital, students are trying to maintain a somewhat normal school schedule. We spoke to a few school and college students to find out about their routines and requirements for the most conducive online learning and that helped us in getting together the list of 20 essentials needed for online learning.

1. Reliable Internet Access

The Biggest challenge of online learning is unreliable internet access/technology to participate in digital learning. In case you don’t have a reliable internet connection, it might be time to change your internet provider. You must check out Jio Fiber and Airtel  plans


2. Laptop/ Tablet/ Chromebook

You need some kind of electronic device for accessing work online. A tablet, Chromebook, laptop, or home computer is essential for online learning.

The need for a good or rather functional laptop has never been felt as much before the Coronavirus phase. Just for attending online classes and doing basic word processing, making Powerpoint presentations or working on Excel the Laptop has become the almost must-have gadget. The important things to consider while buying a laptop is the processor, RAM, storage, display size and battery life. Once you prioritize these you can consider which one fits your budget.

Amazon has a wide variety of laptops,  and Chromebooks and Tablets available online.

laptop  chromebook  ipad

3. Mouse

In spite of Touchpads and touchscreens available in every house, a mouse is still an important device for you this year. A mouse can make it easier for you to participate in online learning because it’s easier to use. Tasks like scrolling and “clicking” are made simpler with the buttons on a mouse.

Logitech B170 Wireless Mouse. Bestseller at Amazon.



4. Bluetooth Speakers

Never-ending innovations in technology have made Bluetooth speakers inexpensive. However, they still provide great sound quality. This speaker connects wirelessly via Bluetooth to your favorite devices, eliminating the need for any cords. These are small but play loud and clear, making them great for both indoor and outdoor class activities. The Mivi Play wireless speaker packs a battery life of up to 12 long hours.

Mivi Play Bluetooth Speaker with 12 Hours Playtime. Bestseller at Amazon.

bluetooth speaker


5. Microphones

Whether your course lessons are audio only, screen sharing, or live video, it is very important to use a good microphone to record your voice. Even if you have great content, if your audio quality is poor or the audio has become garbled, your assignments and grades will suffer & the entire learning experience will break down. The last thing a student wants is to be distracted or lose patience when grades are on the line.

Boya BYM1 Omnidirectional Lavalier Condenser Microphone. Bestseller at Amazon.



6. Wireless Headphones

Schooling from home and enduring classes on Zoom calls for a pair of good-quality headphones. When you’re listening to a lecture or participating in a discussion, the people around you probably won’t want to hear you, whether you’re at home, or at a coffee shop. Getting a set of earphones will help ensure you don’t disturb those around you, and can also drown out outside noise to minimize distractions. However, doctor’s advise against continuous listening at higher sound volume for long hours as it is weakening the listening ability and causing ear infection. So make sure to take off your headphones and give your ears a timely break. Wireless headphones also make multitasking easier without missing out on classes.

Fire-Boltt Blast 1400 Over -Ear Bluetooth Wireless Headphones with 25H Playtime. Bestseller at Amazon.



7. Wireless Display Dongle

The wireless display dongle Mirrors content from your Smartphone/Tablet/Laptop to HDMI devices such as TV and projectors. This helps you to study on a larger screen without being confined to a desk and chair.

iBest Wireless Display Dongle 1080P Mini Receiver Sharing. Available at Amazon.

wifi dongle

8. Ergonomic Chair

Unlike in a traditional school/ college where students tend to move from one classroom to another, you may find yourself sitting in one spot for a while as you engage in online learning. With this in mind, you should have a comfortable chair that you can adjust to the right level to see your computer easily. 2 Dimensional Lumbar Support which is Height Adjustable and depth Adjustable is the most important feature for perfect ergonomics of the chair. With the lumbar support, one can receive proper back support and hence prevents back pain due to prolonged usage.

Style Ergonomic Chair. Bestseller at Pepperfry.



9. Computer Table

If you do not have a room at home designed for online learning this small folding desk will find a place in your house to have your own study corner. This table is specially crafted for small homes and can fit into small spaces.

writing table

Sato Folding Writing Desk. Bestseller at Pepperfry

10. Printer

Even though many assignments can be submitted online, you may want to print items for your notes or to access offline. Printing a syllabus for each course and keeping it within easy reach also assists with focussed online learning.

HP Deskjet 2331 Colour Printer, Scanner and Copier for Home/Small Office. Bestseller at Amazon


11. Desk Organizer

Much of your work will be done on the computer now, but you will still want items such as pens, pencils, highlighters, and paper on hand. Depending on the courses you take, you may also need to purchase textbooks and supplemental texts.

CRISELL Wooden Office Desk Organizers and Accessories. Available at Amazon

desk organizer


12. Tablet Holder

These stands are perfect for holding a tablet in the correct position while distance learning. With a tablet holder, your hands are free for writing and finishing assignments.

Remixmart 2-in-1 Multi-Purpose Tablet Holder Stand. Available on Amazon.

tablet holder


13. Timer

Whether you set a timer with Alexa, or use your electronic device to set a timer; setting a timer is a helpful way to know how much time you have left for each task. This can help discourage procrastination and encourage students to stay focused on the task at hand. Sometimes looking at the timer and knowing you only have 2 minutes left is enough to keep you motivated just a bit longer.

Baskety Digital Kitchen Timer. Available at Amazon


14. Webcam

If your device isn’t already equipped with a camera, you’ll definitely want to buy a webcam for online learning this year. Face-to-face interaction with the teacher is important for ideal learning. Without a camera, classes will be one-sided and you may end up feeling left out of the learning in an online classroom setting.

Lenovo™ 300 FHD Webcam. Available at Amazon.



15. Flash Drive

This year, you may want to consider having access to a storage cloud or flash drive for saving assignments and resources. A flash drive is a relatively inexpensive way to provide storage that can be accessed from any device. Even with lots of storage space, backing up important assignments on a flash drive is never a good idea.

SanDisk Cruzer Blade 32GB USB Flash Drive. Available at Amazon.


16. NESCAFÉ É Smart Coffee Maker 

Keeping yourself alert and awake while spending hours online has been made easier by É by NESCAFÉ by introducing this All-in-one bluetooth coffee mug with a Bluetooth docking station for easy coffee preparation. Easily controlled through an app. You can have your favourite hot or cold coffee ready in 90 seconds. The Thermal insulation mug keeps your drink warm or cold while you learn. 

Available at Amazon.



17. Desk Light

A good desk light will save you from eye strain and headaches. As you get older, your eyes need more light to be able to focus better on the task at hand. However, starting young is the key to keeping your eyes healthy. Warm color temperatures are soothing, while cooler color temperatures stimulate the brain and may increase learning. Philips LED Desk lights use a matte diffuser and are designed to reduce glare, eye strain and eye fatigue.

Philips 61013 Breeze 5-Watt LED Desk light. Bestseller at Amazon.

led lamp

18. Blue Light Blocking Glasses

Long time exposure to blue light leads to digital eye fatigue. Wearing blue light blocking glasses reduces eye strain and sensitivity to light when facing digital screens. Great for online learning or for anyone who has to look at screen all day. Exposure to high rate blue light also impacts our circadian rhythm and causes lnsomnia.

blue light blocking

Peter Jones Round Anti Glare Reading Glasses. Bestseller at Amazon


19. Desk Plant

While learning online, your desk is where you are spending the major part of your day, so you need to love your desk. One needs a desk that radiates positive energy that makes you want to sit longer so you can work harder. You can always make room for some decor on your desk. Nothing brightens up a boring desk than a plant. Desk Plants require low maintenance, can handle low light, and thrive in warm environments. They also act as air purifiers.

Ugaoo Philodendron Broken Heart Plant with Self Watering Pot. Bestseller at Amazon.


20. Education Apps

It’s not necessary that best teachers can only be available in the classrooms. Let’s have a look at popular education apps which are making life a lot easier for students by offering the best virtual knowledge.

Meritnation                            Byju’s                       CBSE Guide            Doubtnut

Author: Aparna Malhotra

Aparna is an avid reader, a passionate cook, a coffee aficionado and a musicophile. On most days you can find her appreciating the wonder of nature, nurturing her plants, lost in the deep blue sky, watching the sunset, being at one with the cycle of life.