With the popularity of the internet, more and more colleges and universities are providing options where students can study online. This means that a distance learner does not have to physically present at the school to take a course.
Some distance learning programmes do have some elements where students need to meet with professors for workshops for a required period.
One key advantage of being a distance learner is that you can work and study at the same time. I have written an article on this blog on how to manage your fulltime job and study. Feel free to click the previous link to review.
Being a distance learner means that you can get work experience while advancing your education. This can lead to significant career growth and development.
Hereunder are 12 study tips that can benefit a distance learning student:
Know Your Why
While this tip may not be directly related to your studies itself, one challenge that distance learners face is balancing their daily life demands and studies. Knowing your why will help you stay focused and motivated.
Working full time or even part time and studying is extremely demanding. According to the website, theconversation.com, the most recent statistics show the first year attrition rates in Australian Universities are 15% for distance learners.
Therefore, keep your why top of mind. It will keep you going during the tough times.
Create a calendar which outlines what are the core areas that you have to cover within your course. Thereafter, plan how you will tackle this over the period of the course. You can use a tool like Trello or Asana to have a visual document for your plan.
As an independent learner, discipline is one of the most important attributes to your success. Whatever steps that you have laid out in the plan will require discipline in order to complete.
This may mean getting up one hour earlier in the morning or staying up one extra hour every evening. It may mean sacrificing your 6 hours every weekend to get your assignments completed.
Great discipline will require persistence even in moments when you don’t feel like studying. According to Jim Rohn, discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishments.
Join Study Groups
Join a study group even though the individuals the group may not be enrolled in the same programme. Many universities nowadays do however have platforms where students can connect with each other virtually.
Look for opportunities to connect with those in the same programmes as you. This can provide you with much needed motivation to keep going. It could provide you with support in terms of further explanation for concepts as well as the ability to just interact with persons with similar interests.
While groups can be beneficial, ensure that any group that you join does not become a source of discouragement. At times, there may be persons in a group who are way advanced than you are and comparison could step in.
Depending on your personality this could paralyze you. Therefore, be wise to use the group when it benefits you and smart enough to ignore certain aspects that can discourage you.
Find A Designated Study Area
Find a place where you are comfortable that you can achieve maximum productivity and focus.
As an example, over the years I have realized that I am most productive at libraries. Therefore, I schedule my studies when I am at the library to achieve maximum output.
Once you find a suitable place where you are productive, eliminate all distractions. A source of major distractions these days is the mobile phone and social media.
You may opt to leaving your mobile phone out of your study space and also use applications on your computer which blocks social media. Ensure that you are focused during your study sessions to gain maximum output from your time.
Use small margins of time profitable. As an example five minutes could be used to revise notes that you make on cards. Multi-tasking could also benefit you tremendously.
Maximise commuting times to revise by using cards or listen to audio lectures. You may also listen to lectures while doing errands around the house like cooking or folding clothes.
Make Detailed Notes
When studying, use note taking to your advantage. If you review your course work thoroughly and make detailed notes, you may not need to revisit the main text ever again. Try to glean which aspect of the course is most important and focus on these areas.
Set deadlines to ensure that you are working towards a target. Without a deadline, a task could extend for much longer than it should. By setting deadlines you are creating a goal that you are striving to meet.
Even if you do not meet the goal, chances are that you will be further than if no deadline was set at all. Therefore use deadlines to increase your productivity.
Manage Your Workload
Remember to pace yourself. It is better that you do one course per semester and pass the course than trying to take two courses and failing them both.
Realistically review the time that you can dedicate to your studies and only take the courses that you can manage.
Get An Accountability Partner
Find someone who is determined to see you succeed and ask them to be an accountability partner. This individual need not be someone enrolled in your course.
However, it’s best that you give them a schedule of what you will like to complete and this individual is responsible for ensuring that you stay the course. A family member can act as a great accountability partner.
Let’s face it studying is rough. The dedication and commitment that requires intensifies when you are a distance learner as you are independent and studying at your own pace.
Within your study plan, build in rewards to keep you motivated along the way. The rewards need not be anything big. It could be an opportunity to watch a TV show or buying yourself a new pair of shoes if you pass an exam. Find something to keep you energized along the journey.
Being a distance learner requires a lot of planning, dedication and commitment.
However, the rewards are tremendous as you not only gain your certificate or degree but sharpen many skills such as the ones above which can advance your career and your life. Trust you found the pointers above useful for your distance learning journey.
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