Increasing number of students both young and adult is getting enrolled for different types of online courses. Key advantages of online learning are flexibility and convenience. But online learning could be a lot more challenging than it may seem.
Have you already enrolled for an online educational programme or are you considering taking a courses online?
But first, make sure you’re ready to succeed. Online learning can sound so wonderful that some students start with an unrealistic vision. In reality, online courses require just as much, if not more, time and energy as traditional classroom courses. It also requires specific computer skills and learning strategies in order to succeed.
To see if you’re ready, see how many items of the following skills you have:
Persistence is perhaps the biggest key to success in online learning. Students who succeed are those who are willing to tolerate little technical problems, seek help when needed, work daily on every class, and persist through challenges.
- When you run into a challenge, keep trying and ask for help.
- Set up a manageable study schedule for yourself and stick to it. Students who succeed are those who log in and make progress every day.
- Effective Time-Management Skills
You must be able to manage your time well, especially when the courses are not taught in real time.
This flexibility is one of the great benefits of online learning. It can also be a drawback for a student who procrastinates, is unable to stick to a routine study schedule, or is not able to complete assignments without daily reminders.
Effective time-management skills don’t just happen. They have to be learned. Once you do, they will benefit you throughout your life. Follow the tips below to develop yours:
- Review the syllabus and develop a long-term plan for complete studying the topics and preparing for your assignments.
- Make a daily “To Do” list and track the progress.
It takes time to develop good habits, but you’ll gain satisfaction from being well-organized and accomplishing your tasks.
- Effective and Appropriate Communication Skills
Communication skills are vital in online learning because students must seek help when they need it. Teachers are willing to help students, but they are unable to pick up on non-verbal cues, such as a look of confusion on a student’s face. Follow these tips:
Show your face and interact with the lecturers – Biggest challenge to an online lecturer is to keep talking to a blank computer screen with lot of black boxes. If you don’t show your face during a real time lecture and do not ask questions, it will really irritate the lecturer.
Most importantly the lecturer will not know where you stand in terms of understanding the topic and may deliver too slow or too fast. It can completely frustrate the lecturer too.
Use the tools provided by the college to communicate with your teachers – Many online schools and programs provide several ways for students and/or parents to communicate with teachers and staff. These might include e-mail, discussion groups, chat room office hours, cell phones, and even text messaging.
Use appropriate style and language – When communicating with teachers and other staff, you should write in grammatically correct sentences and with a respectful tone. Many students are used to a very informal style of writing in chat rooms, blogs, text messages, and so forth.
Lecturers are professionals. Treat them with respect and courtesy.
- A Good Study Environment
Another critical component of academic success is a good study environment.
- Get some peace and quiet place – You will need a quiet place to work without distractions from things like television, family, or roommates.
- Avoid games – Consider uninstalling any computer games to avoid temptation or keep the games on a different computer in the house.
- Turn off your cell phone – Let friends and family members know the hours that you will be “studying”.
- Beware surfing the black hole of the Internet – It is easy to lose track of the time as you wander from site to site.
- Consider ergonomics – Adjust the height of your chair, keyboard, and screen so that you are comfortable. Forearms and thighs should be level and parallel to the floor. Wrists should not be bent while typing.
- Set up good lighting and comfortable seating – Lighting in the room should be at least as bright as the computer screen to avoid eye strain.
- Basic Technical Skills
Online learners need basic technical skills to succeed. Most online schools have new student orientation programs. These teach students how to use the school’s learning management system and other online tools.
If you lack basic computer skills, you may want to find an online tutorial/s on basic computing skills.
- Reading and Writing Skills
Reading and writing are the main ways you’ll communicate in an online class. Although some hard copies of textbooks might be required, you should be comfortable reading a lot of documents on a computer screen and able to type fast in most cases.
Some tests and quizzes have multiple choice questions, but many of your assignments will involve writing short or long answers.
- Motivation and Independence
To be successful, an online student has to want to succeed. Online learning requires independence, self motivation, responsibility, and a certain level of maturity.
Have you given some thought to your own personal reasons for enrolling?
Are you determined and self-motivated to succeed?
There are many worthwhile reasons to work hard in school. You might want a greater level of personal satisfaction with your future career. Or perhaps it’s personal pride in your accomplishments. Or maybe you are seeking a wider range of opportunities available to you with higher education or a higher income.
Adapted from : Minnesota Online High School