The evolvement of technology has changed the way we have been doing things. Undoubtedly it has made our lives easier with the flexibility and adaptability it provides. Studying online can be extremely convenient as you can study from anywhere, and at your own pace. However, with increased flexibility also comes an increased need for discipline, since many of the support structures which are in place for traditional learners are simply not there. But fear not, here are several tricks you can use to maximize your online learning experience. We’ve put together a list of 7 tips to develop your online study skills.
1. Figure out what online study entails
It very important before you take an online course, you do research on the diverse aspects of online studies. Gather information about the following:
- How is the Course syllabus?
- How to access library services, facilities, and materials?
- How to contact instructors?
- How to submit course work?
- How you can change enrollment details?
- How to access discussion groups in your area of study?
- How will you be assessed?
- Will you do the exams at a particular time or how will they be done?
When you have clear information on all these questions you will be able to avoid some unnecessary mistakes.
2. Discipline and Motivation
Learning online suits the people who are self motivated and keen learners. Therefore, motivation plays an important role to keep the learner disciplined. Also, discipline helps us to stay updated with the teachings of the course on a continued basis. There is no substitute of discipline is this modern art of studying. Being able to attain study targets, it means that you are great in terms of self-motivation and commitment. This is a great qualification when it comes to job search as most employers will be attracted by this self-drive and commitment that you will have portrayed in the whole process. Attaining an online qualification implies that you are able to work efficiently without supervision. This is what most employers are looking for during interviews.
- Keep in mind your reasons for doing all this hard work online.
- Decorate your desktop with inspirational quotes or photos of people you admire and family members you want to make proud of you.
- Reward and punish yourself. Will be discussed in tip 6.
3. Set realistic targets
Always set study targets that are realistic. Don’t set goals which will be tough to attain, because you will end up frustrating yourself thus being unable to achieve your goals. If you are a busy person then limit the number of study units you sign for. Start slowly and then increase the amount of study.
4. Schedule your time and focus
Think of a scenario whereby you have to watch a YouTube video as part of your assignment. This is quite exiting, isn’t? In the process of watching, you see another video that looks interesting, so you click on it. It’s only three minutes, you think, but two hours later, you are still watching. Well, you are not the only victim. Many online learners are fretting over the lack of concentration. Quality is just as important as quantity. You’ll lose all your returns if you spend the time allocated for studying on Youtube, Facebook, Twitter or any other distractions on the internet. This website blocker is a great tool which can restrict certain sites for a specified period of time.
Make sure you have time set aside on a regular basis just for your studies. Most courses will require 2-3 hours, at least 4 or 5 times a week. There are mandatory learning hours, assignments, quizzes, tests to be completed. All these can be done smoothly if taken seriously and sincerely. This may seem like a big time commitment, but it is important to ensure best results on your course. Choose days and times during the week where you are most productive and where you will have the least number of distractions. Mark the dates in each of your calendars, and treat it like an appointment which may only be broken in case of extreme emergency. For extra points, tell your family and friends that these are your working hours and ask them to hold you accountable.
5. Seek for help
Your classmates can be one of your greatest resources when studying online. They know exactly what you are going through, and chances are they are experiencing the same issues. Participate actively in the community. They will be able to help with course-related problems as well as to give general advice and support. Most platforms will have a chatroom or messaging service of some kind for you to stay in touch. If not, you can try Google Hangouts, Skype, or another similar tool.
You can also get support from your online course provider. Tutors can guide you through course work and support stuff can assist you with study tips. Always be ready to ask questions on what you don’t understand. For example, if things seem to get out of control, inform your tutor. By notifying them earlier, they will be able to help you out. For example helping you get an extension for your study when you have not been able to meet the study deadline for your course.
6. Reward and punish yourself
This reminds me of The Book of Genesis when God was creating the universe. After every creation, He could look at it, and I quote, “And God saw that it was good.” The following day, He got motivated to continue with the work of creation. I’m sorry, I didn’t intend to preach to you. The point is, online study needs discipline and if you are able to follow the rules and achieve a study goal, please do yourself a favor and reward yourself for the success. How about promising yourself a slice of chocolate cake, or an extra fifteen minutes of game if you attend each of your sessions this week? Once you are through with the study and graduate successfully celebrate with your family, spouse or friends.
Conversely, try denying yourself an hour of your favorite Netflix series or those cute pair of shoes you’ve been eyeing, if you miss one of your study dates without a valid excuse.
These will keep you motivated and will create that urge of wanting to go on with your online course. That sounds cool, right?
7. Use online resources
Finally, the best thing about studying online is, well, being online! The Internet is filled with learning resources on just about every topic imaginable. Of course, you’ll need to be discerning about what information you use, but Google Scholar is usually an excellent place to start. It also helps to look for sources from domains which end in ‘.edu’ and ‘.org’.
So stay motivated, strategize your online learning and these 7 techniques definitely will make your online study more effective.