Online learning requires time management skills, self-discipline, will power, and strong motivation. Here’s 10 study tips for online learners, to help you stay focused and motivated.
Understand online learning practices and expectations
The first thing you need to understand is that online courses are not necessarily an “easier” way to learn. Online courses, particularly those with assessment requirements, are just as rigorous as a classroom-based course. Learning online offers fantastic flexibility but it also requires determination and discipline.
To successfully learn online, you need to dedicate approximately 10 -15 hours per week for your study, consistently participate in the course, plan dedicated time for concentrated studying, and fully commit to your learning.
You should also have in mind that when you take an online course, you may be expected to:
Make sure that you have reliable internet access
Technology glitches happen all the time. Imagine you are working in the middle of the night and your computer crashes. To avoid these kinds of mishaps, ensure that you save your work repeatedly and backup regularly using cloud storage such as Dropbox or Google Documents, in order to be able to access your previous work from your smart phone or tablet, if needed. Reliable internet access will also give you the opportunity to check in, stay current with your course, and deal with unforeseen schedule changes.
TIP: Save your trainer's contact information in your phone as well as Hader’s support email address
Have a dedicated study space
Whether you decide to study in your office or in your living room, ensure that this place is quiet, organised, distraction-free, and available for use at any time.
Your study environment should be one of your main concerns when you are an online learner, so make sure that it supports your study routine.
Ask your friends, relatives, and colleagues to respect your “work mode”.
TIP: Consider turning off your phone and logging off from all social networks when studying.
Identify your learning objectives and goals
To stay on track with your online course, make sure that you always keep in mind what you hope to accomplish by the end of it.
The learning objectives and goals of the course can be an excellent road map during online learning; read your online course requirements, create notes that are closely related to your objectives, and make sure that you review them thoroughly every time you start an assessment.
Build a study plan
A study plan is critical to online learning. Here are some tips to help you build it.
Never leave an assessment task to the last minute. Start working on it progressively (even if that’s just starting a document and putting in headings – every little bit will help). You will feel less stressed and will assist you to complete the task more effectively. It is also important to be realistic.
Have an effective calendar system
Online learning needs structure; create a study calendar that will help you remember all important dates. You can save your calendar in your computer or in your mobile device, or you can even create a wall planner, which you can mark up and check every time you study.
Create to-do lists
At the start of each week, make a to-do list of the tasks you need to complete by the end of the week. This is an excellent way to prioritise your study plan and stay on track with your studying.
Set time limits
Before you start studying, estimate how much time each task will take to complete, whether it is a specific assignment or simply reading a section of the course. Try to stick to your time limits, as this will help you develop your self-discipline. Furthermore, when you realise that despite your best efforts you cannot concentrate, consider stopping for an hour or for the night; it is better to wait until you are able to start afresh than to waste your time trying to focus. It is also important to be realistic about the deadlines that you set.
Ask for help when you need it
While it may be constructive to look for answers to your online course-related questions independently, hesitating to contact your trainer when you are stuck may be problematic.
If you don’t ask for help when necessary, you may end up falling behind, which may lower your self-esteem, as you may not be able to keep up with the online course.
Build a relationship with your trainer and avoid misunderstandings by contacting them and informing them who you are, and how you could use their help.
By asking your trainer or Student Support to clarify problems, you will also help them not only to evaluate your level of understanding of the online material, but also to get an idea of the overall effectiveness of the online course.
Keep in mind that if you don’t ask for help when you need it, your trainer may never know that something is wrong.
Review, revise, and repeat
Regular revisions of the things you have already studied will not only improve your memory, but they will also help you better understand what you are learning.
TIP: Create your own flash cards for your key notes and quiz yourself on the key concepts of the online course.
Study with others
Consider having one or more study partners to offer you alternative views of difficult concepts, motivation to achieve better results, and help in completing your online assessments more quickly by reviewing what you have learnt.
TIP: Join online study groups and attend tutorial sessions to meet other likeminded people.
Take study breaks
Your performance will decrease if you’re are feeling tired or frustrated while studying. Integrate some personal time into your study routine and you will be able to work more effectively on your online course goals.
When taking a break, make sure that you get away from your study space; you need to have a change of scenery. A mild physical activity, such as a walk around the block, will help you maintain balance, renew energy, and go back to studying with a clear mind.
Participate in online academic support sessions and tutorials
Online learning doesn’t necessarily mean learning in isolation. Connecting with your trainer and other learners via the course via our support sessions and tutorials enhance your learning experience, especially if visual barriers hinder you in expressing yourself.
Participate in these sessions, suggest study tricks, offer your input on the course, and engage in new ideas.
Just ensure that you are mindful of your online tone and be respectful when you disagree with other members of your online group.
Finally, don’t underestimate the effort needed to fully commit to your online course. To make sure that you stay motivated and engaged in your online learning experience, consider following these tips: