Thanks to advances in remote technology, online learning programs now offer the flexibility to learn wherever, whenever, and however works best for you.
If you’re new to online or distance learning, you might be simultaneously excited by the flexibility of working at your own pace, and also apprehensive about the various challenges that come with learning on your own time, outside of the classroom.
Here are eleven tips to help set you up for success when you register for an online program! (Read part two here)
ONLINE COURSES ARE “REAL” COURSES
It is best when approaching online learning to see it as the same as in-person learning. Employ all the best habits and behaviors you would use in a classroom, sitting in front of an instructor, when you are online.
Create a time management plan by looking at the course syllabus and how much time you have available. If you know you can dedicate five hours a week to a course, think about how that breaks down. Two hours for learning new material, one hour to review previous material, one hour for assignments, and one hour with quizzes and tests.
Keeping all your notes, assignments, and school-related materials in one place will make learning easier. You can store these items in physical locations, like notepads, or digitally, like files on your computer. If saving your notes on your computer, you should make a dedicated folder for each course to stay organized.
Learning time is learning time. Shut off your phone, close your email, keep off social media, and ask your family to give you time and space. With the least amount of distractions in your environment, the easier it will be to learn.
Figure out how you learn best and use that to your advantage. Can you sit for hours straight or do you need to break up your time? Are you a better learner in the morning or at night? Online learning gives you the flexibility to learn when and how you learn best.
If it is in an online group discussion or by doing the optional interactive assignment, participate. The more you engage the better your understanding will be.
EDUCATION IS A PRODUCT
If you bought a tour of a famous city and the tour guide skipped half the attractions, you would be upset. Treat education the same way, skip nothing, see and do everything, and get your value out of it. You will be happy you did.
CONNECT TO YOUR NETWORK
What friends or friends of friends can share their experiences with you and broaden your understanding? Can those people help you get a job when you complete your course, or can they give you perspective on what you are learning? Your network is another tool in your education arsenal.
Reach out to your instructor and understand what they expect from you as a student. Ask them about time management, grading, pacing, and studying. Then let them know your expectations and how they can help you. An instructor’s main purpose is to help you learn the content.
USE AVAILABLE RESOURCES
If you get stuck or need clarity, use the available resources of your online course providers. At BlueLedge we offer the ability to review previous course content, use our online glossary, and connect with our instructor via email or through our instructor hotline.
HAVE A PLAN
Understanding how you will tackle online education is important. Have a plan and stick to it. If you are going to spend an hour every night, then make sure you achieve your goal.