How to Get the Most Out of Studying Online

Feb 8, 2019 by

Modern technology means you no longer have to go to college or university to further your education. Thanks to the internet, a wide range of courses can now be studied online. If you’ve just enrolled in your first online course and are wondering whether you’ve made the right decision here are some study tips that’ll help you make the most of your online course.

Understand What’s Expected of You

Online courses make learning very convenient. You can study for almost any qualification, from an online applied statistics degree to an English as a second language degree and everything in between. Courses, however, are quite different to the traditional classroom setup. The idea is for you to set aside a significant amount of time for study and for you to gain the qualification in a much shorter length of time. A certain level of self-discipline is required, and you also need somewhere to study that’s free from distractions.  

Check Your Internet Connection is Reliable

It’s impossible for you to be a successful online learner without a reliable and stable internet connection. Even with the best connection possible, there may still be the odd glitch. To avoid losing all your work make sure you back up regularly to a cloud storage such as Google Documents, OneDrive, or Dropbox. If your connection is reliable, you’ll be able to stay in touch with your tutor, check up on your progress and always have access to your course material.

What are Your Goals and Objectives?

Something you need to think about is your ultimate aim. Why have you decided to study a particular course and what do you hope to get out of it? The course itself may also have certain learning objectives and goals, which will help you stay on track. As you’re progressing through the course, review your objectives and goals in order to stay focused.

Set Aside a Dedicated Study Space

Where are you going to study? Do you plan to spread all your work out on the dining room table? Are you hoping you’ll be able to study at your local coffee shop? You’ll find it much easier to concentrate if you have a dedicated study space. Ideally, it should be quiet, distraction-free, available all the time and organized. It’s also going to help if the other people in your family respect the times you have to work. To help reduce the number of distractions you should also consider switching off your phone and logging out of any social media sites you might have on your computer.  

Manage Your Time

Time management is important if you want to achieve your learning goals and objectives. A good strategy to adopt is to plan ahead and keep up with all the important features of the course. You’re given plenty of information regarding assignments and due dates so make sure you keep a note of what they are. Create your own calendar system to track all the important dates and deadlines or make use of an online one such as Google Calendar.

Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Help

It is usual for there to be a point of reference, should you be experiencing any difficulties. Never hesitate to get in touch with one of the instructors whenever you have a problem. They are there to help you out, and you’ll only fall behind if you don’t take advantage of their services. It’s also beneficial for the instructor as it means they can assess the effectiveness of the course and make changes if necessary. If you don’t keep in touch with your tutor, they can only presume that everything is alright.

Take Part in Online Discussions

Just because you’re not attending a traditional college doesn’t mean your learning experience has to be a solitary one. You’re not the only student on the course, so connect with your virtual classmates whenever possible. There might be a social media group you can join or a forum that will benefit your studies. It’s also likely there are going to be regular discussions online and maybe even group activities.

Take Regular Breaks

As you might expect, your performance levels are going to drop if you’re feeling tired. That’s why it’s important to take regular breaks. Step away from your computer and do something unrelated. A change of scenery doesn’t mean swapping your course material for your social media news feed either. Some form of mild activity, such as a walk, means you’ll be able to return to your studies feeling refreshed and clear headed.

Learn Self-Discipline

One of the key factors in whether you make a success of your studying will be whether you can practice self-discipline. You need to be certain you can set up and stick to certain targets. There’s nothing wrong with falling behind from time to time, as long as you’ve allowed yourself time to catch up. As well as assigning time for study, remember to include some personal time in your schedule. Otherwise, it’ll feel like all you’re doing is studying and you never get any time off. Allowing yourself some downtime also helps to keep you feeling refreshed and clears your mind.

Staying Motivated

One of the biggest hurdles you’ll have to overcome is a lack of motivation. At least with a traditional classroom setup you’ve got a timetable you need to stick with and classmates who can help you stay motivated. Studying online is a little more difficult but there are things you can do to keep yourself engaged. Have some healthy snacks to boost your energy. Understand there are days you’re going to be more productive. Keep reminding yourself of the reason for taking the course. Keep your study space a fun place to be with pictures and inspirational quotes. Don’t feel pressured to study at a quicker pace than you’re comfortable with. Above all, stay positive, keep some time for yourself, and don’t forget to reward yourself when you’ve achieved a goal.

Follow these tips and your online learning experience is more likely to be fun and enjoyable.

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