Either you’ve chosen online learning to further your education or are considering it, but the main thing is online studying is different. There’s no classroom you must attend and no assignments due on a certain day – it’s all up to you.
While that can seem intimidating, online study is very rewarding, because it fits into your schedule and goes where you go. As long as you have a computer and internet access, online education has no boundaries. Still, there are the parts that are up to you and your motivation.
To tackle the motivation part, we have created a list of characteristics for our careers, plus possible career paths as you gain experience. That way you choose a program you like, because it fits you and your interests. If you haven’t seen them, get our free career guide here.
Next is the ‘you’ part, which is easier than you think. We have created practical tips to make online studying easier and you more successful. If you have any more tips you’d like to share, we would love to hear about them.
Tip 1: Identify how you learn best. Is it by listening? If so, you should try reading important material out aloud or playing background music. Is it by seeing? Try creating your own charts, graphs, or flashcards. And if it’s really important, you should draw pictures of it (even if it is stick figures). Or maybe you learn by doing? If there isn’t an activity, try acting out the lesson. Also, it is helpful to write notes on what you read and learn.
Tip 2: Familiarize yourself with the program. Your instructors are there to help you along this journey, so know who they are, how to contact them, and their office hours. And make the information easily accessible—there’s nothing worse than having a question just before they are leave the office for a long weekend and not being able to find their contact info (not that we’re speaking from experience…). Same goes with how to reach tech support.
Tip 3: Create a study space. Yes, with online education you can study anywhere – on the couch, outside, at a desk – but is it a place without distractions? By creating a space to study (or at the very least a place to store your study materials), you’ll train yourself that this is your time to learn. Plus by putting all your stuff together (books, pens, paper, etc.), you won’t lose your rhythm going to look for it.
Tip 4: Make a schedule. Think about which days you run errands, do the laundry, or work, then figure out when you can study throughout the week and treat them as your ‘class’ days. Yes, this means sometimes you’ll need to say no to invitations or activities, but if you don’t respect your class time, no one else will. And one thing we’ve found that is helpful with getting study time respect, schedule days or times that are specifically set aside for friends and family.
Remember, you’re not alone in your journey. Ask for help or encouragement when you need it – from instructors, family, friend, and other students.