How to Succeed in an Online Classroom

Distance learning introduces a whole new way of obtaining a college degree for individuals who cannot find the time to physically attend traditional on-campus classes. Students who are accustomed to learning in the conventional classroom will need to acclimatize to the differences that distance learning presents by practicing new strategies and techniques of studying. The following list of ideas, tips, tricks, qualities and skills will help online students to succeed in an online learning environment.

Time Management - Creating a Schedule

Time management is probably one of the most important strategies that an e-student should master to effectively accomplish their online degree. Unlike traditional classes that are set for a specific day, time and place, online classes can be taken anywhere there is an Internet connection, at any time of the day. Although this flexibility is the reason that many students are able to complete their degree online, it can also be the downfall of students who are unable to effectively manage their time.

It is going to be vital for the distance learner to create a daily, weekly and monthly schedule that incorporates work, school, extracurricular activities and family functions in order to be successful. The temptation to procrastinate schoolwork or studying "until the next day" could become an easy habit to fall into. A "formal" schedule that is physically written on a calendar or typed into a computer chart or cell phone app will encourage the student to make daily class work, homework and study time become actual time slots each day. It will also ensure that there is a balance between the personal and education obligations.

Adjust Learning Environment to Compliment Style

While some students need visual or auditory stimulus to learn, others prefer learning through verbal communication or in a hands-on environment. Each student should analyze their learning styles and evaluate how to use it to their advantage throughout their online education. Distance education does not necessarily cater to the students who are certain types of learners; however, students who understand their learning style can alter their environment in which they are studying online to contribute to a better learning experience.

For example, people who are aural learners can play some music while they are studying to stimulate their sense of hearing. They could also record their voice while reading the course material out loud and then listen to the playback during study sessions in the future and prior to tests. Visual learners can take notes that include charts, graphs and hand-drawn images to turn course material into visual stimulus to view while studying. These tips can be helpful for other e-learners, as well, because they turn the course material into realistic concepts. Essentially, students will need to find a way to create the ideal study environment for their learning style.

Set Fair Deadlines and Realistic Expectations

Anticipating being able to study for the mid-term in the two final hours on the night before the exam would be both an unfair deadline and an unrealistic expectation. As a matter of fact, it is simply an unattainable goal that it is destined to set a student up for failure. Overloading on the first semester of courses could also be detrimental for a first-time e-learner, putting an enormous amount of pressure on the student.

If an effective study schedule has already been established, cramming for the mid-term will most likely not become an issue. However, students may underestimate the difficulty of a subject and how much time it will take to effectively study the material. They might also overestimate the amount of time they have to fit classes into their schedule and register for too many at once. The best way to set up fair deadlines and realistic expectations is to start with a smaller course load and allocate as much time as possible to studying in the beginning of the semester.

Use Online Resources

The Internet has literally thousands of diverse resources for online students to utilize to enhance their learning experience. For example, online personal agendas and calendars can be downloaded to effectively manage work, life and college schedules. Some of the distance learning colleges have chat rooms where students can converse or form study groups with other students. The universities' official portal also offers learners all forms of resources that they may need access to during their study. Some colleges even offer students online instructor support for students who have questions or need assistance.

Social media is an up-and-coming gathering place where a learner can source useful information for their studies online, although these networks provide a plethora of temptations as well. Students who are disciplined enough to stick to their studies may find social media to open many different doors into the world of learning. Another method of study can be found on YouTube, as there are videos about almost every topic, and sometimes watching a video implants the information better.

If there is a topic that a student is struggling with, a quick search on YouTube might reveal a video which explains the concept in a more visual way. However, as a learner, you'll have to exercise your best judgment in determining what information is credible and worthy as not all the resources and information you'll find on the Internet is trustworthy and correct.

Success in the online classroom is reliant on several different factors, but boils down to one major concept: dedication, effort and committing the information to memory. It is crucial to remember all of the facts, information and figures that are taught in online classes, because they lead to not only a degree, but a future career that relies on knowledge and expertise that is learned in college. By using the techniques and concepts that are discussed above, students will be more likely to succeed in their online education, and, hopefully, move into a rewarding career.

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