Even the most dedicated classroom student might find it hard to stay motivated and organized to perform well during online study. After all, there are so many distractions — and no one to monitor your progress. Yet with each passing year, online learning becomes an essential component of degree-seeking students and professionals who need continuing education to maintain licensing. Here’s what you need to know to stay at the top of your virtual class.
Establish a Routine
Online learning courses often allow you to study whenever and wherever you have the time. Don’t mistake flexibility as online learning’s best benefit when it comes to coursework. Use a calendar and set aside non-negotiable times to learn and do homework. Treat your online course the same as a regularly scheduled class, and you’re more likely to take it seriously. You don’t have to tell anyone your chosen study time is 11 p.m.
Studying alone is enjoyable for some and isolating for others. Even if you love working in a cone of silence, it’s worth the effort to reach out to your teacher and classmates when possible. Not only does it show your teacher you care about your performance, but it also makes collaborating with others and asking questions a whole lot easier.
Maintain a Study Space
Whether you love to study at your kitchen table, at a desk in your bedroom or on a chaise lounge in your backyard, make your study space your own. Limit distractions that may pull you from your work. For example, if you use housework as a means of procrastinating, stay out of the kitchen. Mute your phone, turn off the TV, and treat your study space as you would a classroom desk.
Study the Syllabus and Technical Requirements Carefully
Chances are you’ve ignored a paper syllabus or two in your days as a bricks-and-mortar student. But when you study online, the syllabus becomes your link to the technical requirements of your class. Don’t wait until it’s too late to discover that you were supposed to turn your assignments in with Google classroom — and your instructor never saw the Word documents you emailed her.
Print — and Save — What You Can
Just because you’re learning online doesn’t mean you won’t need a paper trail. Print what you can and keep everything in one folder or binder for later reference. Remember: “My dog ate my homework!” doesn’t cut the mustard when it comes to online learning.