How To Succeed as an Online Student
Over the past five years, online learning has really taken off. Many students love the flexibility and convenience that online education offers them. Online learners enjoy being able to further their careers and goals according to their own schedule, and love working with new technology to participate in their education. But getting an education online isn’t always an easy thing to do. Online learning requires dedication, persistence, and motivation if you want to be successful. If you have signed up for an online course, certificate, or degree, you may be wondering exactly what you’ll need to do to succeed. Well, worry no longer! Here are some great tips on how to succeed as an online student.
Online Learning: A New Challenge
Many people make the mistake of assuming that online learning is actually much easier than traditional learning. But just because you aren’t attending class in an actual classroom at a defined time, doesn’t mean that your online learning experience is going to be an easy one. Many researchers find that online learning is actually very challenging, in particular because it requires you to find ways to motivate yourself and complete your work on your own time. In addition to this, most online students have multiple outside responsibilities, including work and family. So, if you are signing up for an online course, it is important to realize that you will be heading into a new challenge.
What Succeeding in Online Learning Can Offer You
Though learning online will be a challenge, succeeding in an online course can be beneficial to you in many ways. Not only will you earn a credit, which you may be able to put towards a certificate or degree, but you will also develop valuable skills that you can apply to your career. Online learning will offer you the chance to hone important talents, such as time management, motivation, and analytical skills, which you can later apply in a work environment.
Keys to Succeeding as an Online Student
In order to get the most out of your online learning experience, you will need to master a few important skills. Here are some things that you should be particularly aware about as you start your online studies.
Time management is one of the most important aspects of succeeding as an online student. Because there are no set classes or study times, you need to be able set your own schedule and balance existing commitments, such as work and family. Try to choose a time when you can study most effectively. If you are an early bird, sign up for an early online class; if you like to study late, sign up for a night class. Try to book slots of time to study throughout the week. Aim for at least ten hours of study time for each course that you are taking. Be sure to stick to this schedule.
Because you are not in a traditional classroom, it is going to be up to you to find ways to motivate yourself. Studying at home or from work can be difficult, so set goals to work towards. As you complete each goal, reward yourself with something fun, like at night on the town. You can also find motivation in the online support forums that your school offers. Most online courses offer chat rooms and support forums for students to discuss important issues. Find students who live nearby and set up a group study session.
Just because you aren’t in a classroom surrounded by other students, it doesn’t mean you don’t have to participate. Online courses are set up to benefit from as much participation as possible. Make it your goal to participate in online chats and discussions every day. Try to ask questions, make analytical comments, or just offer support to others. The more you put in to your online course, the more you will get out of it.
The environment in which you study can have a huge impact on how much information you actually end up absorbing. If you need complete quiet in order to study, don’t take your laptop to the local coffee shop. If you like a little music in the background as you do your work, you may not study most effectively in a silent library. Take a little time to consider your study environment and then tailor it to your needs. Make sure that you:
- sit in a supportive chair with your computer on a desk.
- have enough space for your textbooks, notebooks, and papers.
- have a good source of light and ventilation.
- aren’t bombarded with constant interruptions
Study skills are essential to efficient and effective learning. As an online student, you will need to have particularly good study skills in order to synthesize and analyze all of the necessary information. In order to learn more efficiently try:
- making hard copies of all your online notes and assignments
- making a folder on your computer of all your course-related work.
- keeping track of important dates, like midterms and project due dates.
Ask For Help
Though your instructor may not be there for you all the time, it is important that you don’t remain confused if something does not make sense to you. Your online course should provide you with a contact address for your instructor, so don’t be afraid to speak up if you need help or have a question. Make use of the student forums to ask questions about important assignments or class content. If you are experiencing difficulties using your computer or accessing certain files, speak to technical support. Most online schools have 24-hour technical support lines that are there to make the learning process easier.