Studying online is the new black. Smartphones and the Internet have taken our lives to a whole new level and have made studying more accessible. As classrooms slowly shift from a physical space to a digital one - making it more convenient, it can also come with its own set of challenges.
Studying online can have a different set of requirement to an on-campus course. Online study is flexible – allowing you to fit study around your life and maintain other commitments like your job; it allows you to go at your own pace and offers you 24/7 access to course materials (seriously, you can study whenever and wherever suits). On the flip side, an online course demands more motivation, self-discipline and better organisation.
Like all things, you have to work to get a good outcome. Follow our online study tips and strategies to help you on your way to success.
1. Create a Study Schedule
Learning to manage your time well is something every student must quickly get up to speed with and a study timetable is the key to helping you manage your time effectively.
How to write a study plan:
Step 1: Schedule your important academic dates.
These include semester breaks, exam periods, assignment due dates, lecture release dates etc..
Step 2: Mark your schedule with other commitments.
It’s important to strike a good balance so don’t neglect your social life. Jot down on-going weekly commitments (singing practice, yoga class, babysitting your niece etc) as well as one-off events (weekend away, best friend’s wedding, mum and dad’s anniversary lunch).
Step 3: Allocate your study time.
Write in your dedicated study periods and time to complete assignments. Try and think about what time of day you work best. Are you a night owl or an early bird? Do you prefer to work in long three-hour or four-hour blocks and get it done at once, or work best doing a little bit every day?
Step 4: Stick to it!
You’ve made the commitment to study and now you need to make the commitment to stick to your study schedule. Share your study plan with family and friends so they know when you are restricted and can be there to offer support and motivation when you’re having an off day.
2. Design a Study Space That Inspires You
The best way to get in the ‘zone’ is to create a study space that inspires you, is well organised and free of distractions.
Maximise productivity by setting up a study space that:
- - Faces a window/ has plenty of natural light
- - Includes some charm and design to inspire creativity. Even try hanging up a motivational quote or two to give you some added push.
- - Has healthy snacks on hand to boost brain power
- - Is ergonomic to avoid cramping, a strained neck, back etc.
- - Offers quiet. Try and find a part of the house that is away from rowdy housemates or the TV.
3. Make the Most of the Support Services
It’s okay and perfectly normal to not feel on top of things all the time, it’s also okay to not be afraid to ask for help. Expert support services including the Wellbeing Service Program, offered by MCI Institute, could be just what you need to get you out of your study rut and back on track.
4. Learn to Conquer the Procrastination Monster
We get it, it happens – procrastination can sometimes get the best of you and before you know it, you’ve been sitting in front of your screen and have researched everything except your actual assignment. The hardest thing when it comes to getting yourself motivated when studying online is getting started. Our suggestion is to take a leaf out of Nike’s book and ‘Just Do It’!
Be one step ahead of the procrastination monster by clearing your study space of distractions. Close all social media; ensure your phone is out of reach and ask housemates to be mindful and keep the noise to a minimum. By ditching the distractions you’re turning your full focus to the task at hand.
Tip: Try unlocking your learning style to discover methods of study work best for y.o.u.
5. Don’t Forget To Treat Yo’Self
Everyone needs time for fun and to unwind, otherwise, you could be on your way to burning out.
Try setting realistic study goals and once you achieved them, reward yourself.
Got great marks on your last assignment? Reward yourself. Finished your essay a day early? Reward yourself.
Promising yourself a reward can also be the motivation you need to excel at your finish your task, plus it’s important to recognise important milestones and celebrate achievements, just like you might do with classmates if you attended on-campus classes.
Distance learning is an awesome way to build your qualifications and your skills, however, it’s important to have a plan in place when choosing to study online. You need to be focused, committed and dedicated, and with the above five tips set in place, we’re confident you’ll be A-Okay.
Download our free ebook to find out how online learning can fuel your personal growth.