Digital learning or distance learning is like every other form of learning, except that it does not take place within the walls of a school or college. It is something of an informal type of learning. However, it is not always as easy as it is often portrayed.
When people talk about online learning, students automatically believe that they can succeed at it because they spend most of their time sending emails and chatting on social media. Unfortunately, students with this mindset often hit a brick wall fast.
Learning online involves making use of multiple technologies and following a schedule – albeit one you can usually set yourself. Since you will never sit in a classroom to receive your lectures, it is easy to forget about turning in your assignment or to lose track of time.
On the bright side, however, you get to complete your course from any location as long as you have access to a computer and a stable internet connection. Therefore, since you will most likely never meet your tutor in person, below are some tips on how you can succeed as an online student.
- Create a schedule: The very first thing to do as an online student is to create a schedule. The purpose of creating a schedule is to help you manage your time well and avoid distractions. You can make a comprehensive list of your course load, create a plan for each course and allocate enough time for study.
- There are resources all around you – use them: For online learning, the absence of peers and tutors can be a drawback. However, the world of multimedia offers lots of opportunities to connect with resources and personalities that can make your journey smoother. For example, many instructors and facilitators are devoted to providing guidance on how to excel in online learning. What you need to do is identify them and tap into their wealth of knowledge.
- Embrace media and technology: You cannot effectively utilise online resources if you cannot efficiently use multimedia technology. As previously mentioned, online learning makes use of multiple technologies, and as a result, these skills should be above average. Gather experience on how to take advantage of virtual situations and utilise all online resources.
- Set goals: The best way to motivate yourself is to set realistic goals and make sure that they are in writing. It would be unrealistic to think that your journey will be smooth and that there will be no distractions. The thing with online learning is that you are your own boss. You can decide when you want to study and when you want to play. Therefore, to avoid needless distractions, set realistic goals and write them down. This way, you can always come back to it at the end of every day, week or month, and evaluate whether you achieved each goal, or you need to put in extra work.
- Never miss your study time: Do not, for any reason, miss your study time. You can explain to your family, friend or roommate about the importance of your study time. This way, when you are working on your course, they will know not to disturb you. If you start missing your study time, you will be off-schedule, and it may be difficult to get back on track.
- Create a study space: Another excellent strategy on how not to miss your study time is to create a study space. A study space is a quiet place where you can call your own. It could be in your home, room, garage or office. In fact, it could be anywhere as long as it guarantees absolute silence and concentration. After this, furnish your study space with the essentials and be sure to put up a do not disturb sign. By doing so, you will show people that this is your space and you are not to be distracted.
- Do not overwhelm yourself: Do not be blinded by the euphoria of getting your education underway that you overwhelm yourself with too much work. You can either decide to start out as a part-time student or simply start small. If you have never attempted online learning before, this helps you to embrace the syllabus and get accustomed to the online learning process.
- Read between the lines: By this, we mean that you should be quick to spot details and detect errors in any emails or work you need to send in. Communication in online learning is very important. Whatever message you want to pass across, check for the accuracy of your grammar, clarity, punctuation and conciseness. Also, diligently read up each course description and syllabus. Since most of your teachings will be via text, read it well and make sure that you look up anything that is not clear to you.
- Utilise downtime: In some cases, after submitting a task, you might have to wait for a while before receiving your feedback. During this waiting period, you can read another course ahead of time or complete another assignment. Make sure you are not idle or spend the bulk of your time on irrelevant activities.
- Put your house in order: If you have an elderly person or children that you care for, or a side business to attend to, you will need to create a routine that will help you to balance your study and your family. This way you can concentrate fully on your online courses.
Online help will always be available from your tutor for those who need it. Succeeding as an online student takes devotion, discipline and self-motivation. Be ready to take initiatives and make use of every resource to help you on your journey to academic success!