While there are many benefits to distance learning, if not done properly, it is easy to get off track, and studying can be more difficult and stressful. Luckily the few tips listed below can give you a better chance at being successful during your distance learning and keep you on track to achieve your goals.
1. Properly Manage Your Time
A key component of proper distance learning is learning how to manage your time properly. Distance learning may be extremely appealing because you can set your own schedule, but this can essentially backfire if you have poor time management skills. Improper time management can cause you to cram for tests or rush to meet deadlines, which is likely to prevent you from properly digesting and learning the material. To help you better manage your plan, there are a few tips below that you can try.
- Look over your coursework and syllabus so that you can mark on your calendar all of the major assignments, tests, papers, or projects. Also, be sure to include on the calendar, major events such as vacations, so that you can make sure that they don't interfere with your study schedule.
- Create a weekly study schedule where you block specific times during the week that will be used for reading and watching lectures, completing the necessary assignments, and studying. Stick to the schedule the same as you would with any work schedule.
- Perform periodic time audits. Use a timer during each portion of your studying and review your schedule based on the time allotted and actual time used to see if it needs to be adjusted.
2. Create an Organized Study Space
Studying anywhere in your home can become chaotic and lead to many distractions. Be sure to set a designated space to complete your studies and equip it with all of the necessary items you will need to accomplish your tasks. Not only will it allow you to better stay focused, but it also will help you to develop a routine. Start by determining which type of environment will best foster your productivity, whether it is a desk in your room, an off-site study area such as a library or cafe, or a separate room. If you choose to utilize a space away from home, be sure that you know the rules for using the space and bring any needed equipment, such as headphones. If you are using space at home, be sure you have comfortable seating.
3. Eliminate All Distractions
The quickest way to derail a productive study session is by being exposed to a number of distractions. From streaming movies to social media, to chat forums, it can be easy to turn a quick break into an hours-long sidetrack. Turn off your notifications while you are studying and turn off the television. If you are in a noisy household, you can invest in a set of noise-canceling headphones to allow you to stay focused on the task at hand. If you have a hard time self-regulating yourself from social media, then you can install website blockers, which will block apps and websites that are the common cause of your distractions. If you find yourself distracted by clutter, dirty dishes, or a messy house, you may find that it is better to perform your work away from the household. When getting started, try out a few strategies to find the one that is most effective for you.
4. Find Ways to Stay Motivated and Reward Yourself
Distance learning can easily fall apart if you lose motivation. One way to help you stay motivated is by creating a list of goals and objectives you have from the course and also what you plan to do with the knowledge you have gained from the course. When you are feeling less than motivated, pull this list out so that you can remind yourself of the end goal that will come from the successful completion of your coursework.
You should also establish a support system for you to talk to when things get tough. These supporters should be people who want you to achieve your goals, can hold you accountable, and can push you to stay on track. These people are great to have to help you gain more motivation and also allow you to blow off some steam by venting to them.
You can also stay better motivated by implementing a reward system when you achieve your goals and stay on track. You can create a daily reward system, allowing you to indulge in something you enjoy, such as reading the next chapter in your favorite book, watching your favorite television show, or going for a walk. You will also want to set aside large rewards when you accomplish certain milestones during your study. Some rewards that can work well include:
- A fun date night or night out with your friends
- An afternoon picnic
- An accessory, piece of clothing, or other desired purchase
- A new movie or video game
5. Make Sure You Have All the Tools You Need to Be Successful
Before you get started on your distance learning routine, you need to make sure that you have all of the necessary tools and supplies needed so that you can stay focused during your study sessions and make the most of it. While your supplies may vary depending on the courses you choose to take, some of the items you will most likely need to have include:
- A reliable computer
- A high-speed, reliable internet connection
- Software required for your work such as Microsoft Office
- The links to the pages that are needed for lectures and to download your coursework
- A professional-sounding email address
You will also want to inquire with your learning institution as to whether or not you will need any physical books for research as reading.
By having the proper tools, a designated workplace, a set study schedule, and proper motivation, you can enjoy completing coursework that fits in with your needs and lifestyle to ultimately achieve your education goals.