Studying an online course can offer you flexibility over where and when you work on your studies, which means you can study from almost anywhere in the world at any time which suits you.
So online learning does have its benefits, but it can also come with its own challenges too. It is important that you take the right steps in order to ensure you get the most out of your learning.
If you are thinking of starting your online learning journey, here are some tips that will ensure you stay productive, focused and successful.
Work on your skills
Online learning requires specific skills and attitudes that will contribute towards the success of your learning. Organisation, time management, communication and digital based skills will all be important to have and use during your course.
Before you start your course it is a good idea to assess what skills you have, to see if there is anything you could improve on before you begin. Could you perhaps spend a little more time working out how to navigate online resources like Moodle? Do you need to find some new ways to help you stay motivated? If you can understand what is a little more difficult for you, you can work on improving these areas earlier on, which will help you overall with your learning.
If you are lucky enough to have a spare room, or a space to call your own for online working, then that is great, but even if you are working from your sofa or bedroom, it is a good idea to set up this space ready for working as best you can.
Make sure you have everything you need in close proximity including computers, chargers, pens and notepads, and any textbooks or other resources you may need. Try to ensure that you are comfortable and that your space is clear of any items you do not need. By keeping your space organised and ensuring you have everything you need, you are more likely to stay focused, calm and happy in your studies.
Stick to a routine
Finding a routine that works for you is really important.
By planning your routine you can assess how you work best and use this to your advantage. Do you work best first thing in the morning or later on in the evening? You can plan your routine around these personal preferences, and this will make your learning easier for you.
It might be tempting to work without a schedule or set plan, but finding a routine will help you to manage your time effectively. If you plan your day, it keeps you organised and on track and makes sure you are dedicating enough time to your studies, as well as time for relaxing and other interests too.
It’s important not to forget to review your schedule too - if elements are not working, then change it to something you feel will be more suitable.
Another key to online working is to treat it the same way as you would in person in order to stay focused and productive. Online learning means you have full control over where it is you study, and this can mean it can be quite easy to become distracted.
You may have friends, family members or roommates around to have a quick chat with, or you may have your mobile phone or latest Netflix series tempting you. The best thing to do is turn off your phone, log out of social media on your computer and ask anyone around you to give you some space whilst you are studying.
Online lectures are delivered in the same way as physical lectures and in a physical lecture you would typically make notes, so this is a good habit to keep up during online learning too.
Try to pay attention to the entire lecture, like you would in person, and if you are watching a recording, try to watch the entire thing and not keep pausing it.
Online resources do not necessarily include everything you need to fully understand the material, so you should attempt to make notes on these too and put them into your own words for a better understanding.
There is a range of support available to help you adapt to online learning and ensure you get the most out of your course. You should be able to contact your tutors with any questions you may have and you may also be assigned a personal tutor who is there to support you too.
In addition, there are often online discussion forums, so that you can keep in contact with your course mates - and even though you are studying online, you should still have access to all of the University’s support services.
Studying nonstop without any breaks is not only bad for your productivity, but bad for your mental health too – particularly if you are juggling work alongside study. Scheduling regular breaks will also help to ensure you are focused during the times you do dedicate to studying.
Celebrate your accomplishments
Don’t forget to celebrate your achievements, and reward yourself for your successes as you progress through the course. This might also include meeting professional milestones as you find yourself being able to put your learning into practice.