Online learning, just like the traditional classroom, requires a certain amount of self-motivation, perseverance, and will power. School is a challenge and, for many, this is part of its appeal. Educational pursuits are exciting and rewarding in part because they are self-led and lasting. Though online learning is very similar to a traditional learning setting in many ways, there are many study habits and skills that online learning demands more heavily of its students than a traditional classroom does. These three study habits are essential for the success of an online student.
Self-Discipline and Self-Motivation
Because online learning is done mostly on your own accord, it requires significantly more self-discipline than a traditional learning experience. Online classes do not have teachers and classmates constantly reminding you to complete your work, do your studying each day, or encouraging you in class in person. While all of these forms of outside support are available in an online setting they are less immediate and typically have to be sought out by the learner. As an online student, you must find your own inspiration to get your work done. Because many online learners are students living in unique situations (either working fulltime, raising a family, or something else), the motivation to keep up with school is completely self-taught and self-trained. Self-motivation is an extremely important skill to foster for the professional world.
While school in general requires a certain level of careful time management, online learning can pose an even greater challenge in this department. Students who are completing their degrees and classes online may struggle with finding focus and concentration when working from their computers in their own homes. The internet provides for a lot of difficult distractions and it is up to the time management skills and dedication of the student to set aside enough time to complete their work each day (even with the distractions of the online world). One of the primary draws of online learning is that the schedule is much more flexible than in classroom learning. Students can typically “attend” their online classes when their schedules permit them and are able to devise their own daily academic schedules. This flexibility calls for great restraint and focus. Utilizing your time wisely and efficiently as an online student is essential to success within the virtual classroom.
As with time management and self-discipline, organizational skills are essential in any type of academic pursuit. However, online learners can face more challenges when confronted with poor organizational skills. Online students must learn to manage and organize their own schedules and assignments. Because there is less immediate access and communication between professors in an online setting, much of the administrative tasks are put on the student. You have to know when to turn in assignments, when tests are to be completed, when you need to be online for a class, and everything else. Organization is key to continuing smoothly through an online course. Be sure that you keep track of due dates, lecture times, and term parameters for each of your classes.