By Renée Ramerman

It’s 2021 and teaching is still taking place online. What seemed like a temporary solution at first, has now become our long-term reality. Opinions on distanced learning are very divided: Some love being able to follow a lecture in their pyjamas at 3 in the afternoon, others miss the face-to-face approach from the good old days. Whichever group you belong to, studying from home has been something to get used to. To help you become your most productive self this semester, I’m sharing my favourite free apps for online learning!


  1. Asana 

Number 1 on my list is the ultimate app for your group assignments! Within this app, you’re able to create a project and assign tasks to all group members.

To get the most out of working in Asana, choose the “Board” option when setting up your project. In board mode, you’ll have an incredibly organized overview of all of your tasks. Under each task, you can add smaller sub-tasks, and even leave messages! Your comments will never get lost in the group chat again.

I even use Asana to keep track of all my personal goals! Their desktop versions works great, too.


  1. Scannable

I was introduced to this app about a year ago and it completely changed my life. Before using Scannable, I would take pictures of pages in library books (because I have a habit of returning them 2 years too late), and realize they’re too difficult to read when I arrived home. Scannable will illuminate the page you want to save for later and captures a very bright image. It looks exactly like a scanned document!

I also use Scannable to create a quick scan of signed forms, passports and notes. No more going to the library to use the copy machine!


  1. Bear

Number three on my list is the notetaking app Bear. Bear is similar to the standard Notes app on your phone but much better. What makes this app so great, is the ability to sort your notes by adding tags to them. By doing this, you create easy-to-navigate folders that help you find exactly what you’re looking for. You could create folders for your different modules, assignments or texts you’re currently reading.

You can even link your Bear account to your Mac and Apple Watch, so you can dictate short notes on the go!


  1. Focus Keeper

You’ve probably heard that to increase productivity, you should be taking frequent, short breaks when working on a task. Despite this knowledge, I always end up working for hours straight and then taking a “quick break” that usually ends up as an all-night Netflix binge.

To break this habit, I installed Focus Keeper. It’s one of those simple, intuitive apps that actually works. You choose a topic to work on, then start the timer. The timer will run for 25 minutes and give you a 5-minute break after that. You do this for 4 cycles, after which you receive a longer break. I always like to switch tasks after the long break.

The app will also track your productivity over a period of 14 to 30 days, which is a fun little bonus in my opinion and allows you to review how productive you’re being long-term.


  1. Clock

A healthy sleeping routine, what’s that? We all know we need to get those 8 hours each night, but student life doesn’t really make that easy. The pre-installed Clock app on my iPhone forces me to take a critical look at my sleeping habits and makes them a little better. I like to use the “bedtime” function that helps you create a routine and tracks your sleep. I do turn it off on weekends, though….

The free version of Sleep Cycle has a similar function for Android users!

Those are the 5 apps I use on a daily basis to stay productive while studying from home. Which of these are you going to try? Let us know in the comments below or on our social media pages!


Cover image credit: Christian Wiedeger on Unsplash