Thinking of picking up an online course? In theory, it seems like the easiest way to fit study into your schedule - especially if you’ve got prior commitments like a full-time job. However it can become tricky if you get behind and fail to get back on top of things!
Once you decide that online education is for you, it’s time to knuckle down and ensure you see success. Here are some key study skills to help you on how take online classes effectively.
To succeed you have to be honest with yourself and realistic about your time. Studying online courses doesn’t necessarily mean that workload is less than for traditional students. So make sure when you are beginning, you take a good look at the workload. Do you have enough time currently to take this on? How will this affect your prior commitments? Dedication can only take you so far, you have to understand your own limitations and set realistic expectations.
Create a study space
This could be in the corner of a cafe or quiet spot in your home, just make sure you have an area that you can concentrate and is separated from your other priorities. This will allow you to distinguish differences between your student life and you other life, helping you get through your work efficiently. By doing this you become more focused on the task at hand and help to clear your mind from everything else that is going on around you.
Plan your week
Planning your week is an essential skill in online education. To help you keep on top of your workload. Making sure that you are organised and are always aware of your tasks for the week. This will actually lower your stress levels if you keep organised. Not all online students have the same time restrictions. You may be working full-time to support your family, or maybe you live remotely and can’t access the on-campus classes on a daily basis.
If you are constantly reminding yourself of what you have to do, you will get more done!
It doesn’t have to be an in-depth plan, it just needs to give you a physical idea of your workload and refresh your memory on the tasks at hand.
This may seem similar to planning your week, but by creating lists of your tasks and ticking them off when you complete them, makes you feel accomplished and keeps you motivated! Being motivated as a student is so important in this sort of learning environment because there no one else can do it for you. Everything depends on your capability to stay focused, stay motivated and finish the work you’ve started.
So, make sure to write notes down the things you have to do and more importantly tick them off. This will help when you feel like you are getting nowhere because you can now look at the things you have accomplished and be reminded of all the work you have completed. Make it one of your study habits!
When you are completing an online classes you can get into the mindset that because it’s your choice when to work it’s not as important as your other priorities, but this is the biggest mistake that people make when studying online! This becomes a classic excuse as to why you are putting off you work, once this becomes one of your study habits you will become behind and things will only get worse from this point. So if you make sure to find time every week and stay on top of the workload that is given to you, it’s impossible to get behind.
With online learning courses there is almost always someone that you can go to for help or just to ask questions. You have to remember that if you are struggling with something asking someone can more often than not help you 100 times faster than trying to get the answers on your own. So make sure that when you begin your course you figure out how to get in contact with someone for help and who is the best people to ask questions. This is one of the most simple study skills but vital to your success.
In the scheme of things, these tips may seem obvious and straightforward, but they are essential in learning how to study online effectively. The dropout rate for online courses is exceptionally high, but that’s just due to one problem - people don’t prepare. That when they get left behind, they can’t catch up.
Following this study guide will help in this issue and lead you down the path to success.
Helen Sabell works for the College for Adult Learning. She is passionate about the logistics industry and the evolving role of adult learning. Helen has developed and authored many workplace leadership programs, both in Australia and overseas.
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