Online university study is becoming more common as our lives become busier and digital communication improves. Millions of students around the world already take university courses online, and course providers have sophisticated multimedia learning experiences. For people in high demand who need a more flexible schedule, online study opens up a world of possibilities. When you study online, the classroom comes to you, your lectures can be listened to in your pyjamas, and it’s easier to fit study into your schedule around other obligations.
Although online learning allows students to study when and where they choose, this versatility should not be mistaken for ease or speed. Learning is a process that takes time to complete. You may be able to avoid travel time and the dreaded search for parking on campus by learning online, but you must also put in the time and effort to learn.
Do you want to take a short course or complete a degree entirely online? Before you jump in, here are a few things to think about.
Check your motivation
Establishing why you want to study will assist you in deciding how to spend your time and change your lifestyle to accommodate your studies. Do you want more money, more work prospects, new transferrable skills, a new career path, or to advance in your current position? Studying can take time and effort, and you’ll need encouragement to keep going when things get tough. Knowing and reminding yourself of your motivations for studying will make achieving your goals a little easier.
Besides, you must have a sincere interest in the content if you are taking an online course. You would not be motivated to complete the coursework if you do not do so. If you want to learn more but aren’t interested in the process, you will have to go back to your school days. Use some of the methods that parents use to help their children enjoy the learning process.
You can also enrol in the course when you have enough time to commit to it. You won’t get much value out of what you learn if you just give it half your attention.
Consider your personal preferences
Consider if this method of learning is right for you before enrolling in an online course. While you will interact with students and academics in online discussions, the majority of your research will be done on your own. On-campus research could be more appealing if you prefer the immediacy of face-to-face contact when studying. Online research, on the other hand, is a great choice if you’re able to work alone and interact digitally.
Since many online courses are delivered at a rapid pace, you can feel compelled to keep up. Instead, give yourself permission to work at your own pace. You don’t have to compete with someone else. At the same time, don’t take too much time off or give yourself too much slack. Give yourself a serious pep talk if you’re continually putting off learning or failing to move on to the next segment.
You may also enlist the help of others to be your accountability partner. He or she will follow up with you on a regular basis, enquire about your progress, and provide any necessary encouragement. You don’t have to follow the same schedule, but you can help each other stay motivated.
Create a study space
When it comes to learning online, distractions and disorganisation are two of the most common failure factors. Make a daily study space for yourself—whether it’s your spare room or the kitchen table—and keep your textbooks and notes in a convenient location. Make sure your research area is peaceful and free of distractions.
It might seem self-evident, but you’ll need a computer and a stable internet connection to research online. Completing assignments and engaging in class would be challenging if you don’t have access to these resources. Don’t worry if you don’t have a lot of experience in technology. Universities provide technological assistance and orientation, as well as simple resources, to make online learning accessible to all. Also, it might be good for you to invest in a good pair of headphones to listen to online lectures or discussions.
Try turning off your phone, regardless of where you study, to prevent losing concentration any time a text message or notification appears. If you somehow can’t resist the urge to check your email or browse the internet, consider installing a website blocker. Distractions can be reduced by using apps like Cold Turkey, Freedom and SelfControl, which block apps or websites that compete for your attention, such as Facebook and Twitter.
Engage additional resources
Many students today use web-based study guides in addition to libraries, tutors, and on-campus services. Under an umbrella of STL9 Master of Applied Business, we have developed a comprehensive and user-friendly Study Guide, whose purpose is to help enhance students’ knowledge by increasing the repertoire of strategies, tools and techniques to make a studying journey easier, more efficient and more enjoyable. Some of you have just finished your undergraduate degree, while others have not studied for many years and may feel uncertainty and be worried about how you will perform. The good news is that learning is like riding a bike—you never forget it.
You must be able to effectively control your time. The majority of courses are not delivered in real time. Classes may not have fixed times.
Students who have strong study habits and know how to handle their time do better online than students who procrastinate. When there isn’t a set class meeting period, it’s easy to put off schoolwork, and students who consistently prioritise other activities can find themselves quickly falling behind in an online course. Often, some students have unrealistic expectations of time and resources, believing that they will come home from college, put on their pyjamas, and immediately begin studying. However, once they get home from work and change into their pyjamas, they can be too exhausted to study.
One of the many advantages of online learning is its versatility. It may also be a disadvantage for a student who procrastinates, is unable to adhere to a regular study schedule, or is unable to complete assignments without the help of a teacher on a daily basis. Effective time management skills do not appear out of nowhere. It is necessary to practice them. If you’ve done that, you’ll reap the benefits for the rest of your life. To improve yours, we recommend for you to firstly, examine the course syllabus for each of your classes and make a long-term strategy for finishing your big assignments; secondly, to make a daily “To Do” list to make the process of checking things off more enjoyable once you complete them.
- Create a study schedule – when it comes to sticking to a schedule, a calendar is the best tool. Early on in the course, you can create a study schedule, using a weekly planner. You want to make it a habit to learn online. You can schedule study sessions around your job, family, and friends so that it becomes a top priority. You may not be able to study every day due to your busy schedule. That’s all right. If you can only commit to weekends, mark Saturdays and Sundays on your calendar for your online course.
- Make a daily ‘To-Do’ lists – on your eLearning journey, the to-do list may be your best friend. They will assist you in studying more effectively and completing tasks more quickly. You also get the satisfaction of crossing each item off your list when you complete it.
You can make large or extremely granular to-do lists, depending on your personality. Choose the approach that suits you best. If you want to write things out step by step, do so because it will make the process more enjoyable for you. Alternatively, for the sake of convenience, you may group similar things together.
- Follow time limits – Forcing yourself to study for a certain amount of time is one way to boost your productivity and performance. Set a timer for 15 minutes if you’re frequently restless. Get up, walk around, and return to your desk for another 15 minutes when the bell rings. If you repeat this process four times, you would have spent one hour studying.
Since online learning can cause eye exhaustion, taking breaks during study sessions will allow them to relax. You can also stretch any sore muscles and clear your mind before returning to the stuff.
Networking and contacts
It’s easy to get the impression that you’re learning on your own while taking online courses, but this couldn’t be further from the fact. The majority of online courses are based around the idea of collaboration, with professors and instructors strongly encouraging students to collaborate on assignments and lessons. Introduce yourself to other students and participate in online discussion boards to build relationships. When studying for exams or seeking input on assignments, your peers can be a valuable resource. Don’t be afraid to enlist their help in forming a virtual study group. It’s likely that they’ll enjoy it just as much as you do.
On the following websites students may use simple interfaces to form study groups, upload shared content to a central location, and hold web-based group meetings:
- Google+ Hangouts – this software uses audio and video technologies to host live chats. All participants must have a Google+ account, and some additional media software may be needed. Conversations with up to ten people may be performed. Google+ Hangouts can be accessed from any computer, laptop, smartphone, or tablet as well as Google Chat can be used to make phone calls.
- Open Study – This website specialises in large virtual study groups; among the offerings on the site are a math group with over 168,000 members, a physics group with over 28,000 members, and a history group with over 29,000 members. Visitors can also talk with other students and get live support from subject experts.
Practice makes perfect
Online courses are a great way to get the degree you need to achieve your objectives. Despite the fact that they each have their own set of challenges, following the advice above will help you succeed even in the most chaotic of situations.
Explore our related online learning tips and advice posts for more information on how to be a good online learner.
References and additional material
- ‘Procrastination and other learning behavioral types in e-learning and their relationship with learning outcomes’ Learning and Individual Differences, Volume 37, 2015, Pages 72-80, ISSN 1041-6080, (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S104160801400199X)
- Wäschle ‘Procrastination and self-efficacy: Tracing vicious and virtuous circles in self-regulated learning’ Learning and Instruction, (2014)
- ’12 Study Tips for Online Learners: Succeed in your eLearning Course’, https://kajabi.com/blog/12-study-tips-for-online-learners-succeed-in-your-elearning-course