Many of us believe that the only way to achieve the education we want is by enrolling in an institution, packing our cars, and squeezing everything we own into a tiny dorm room that we have to share with a complete stranger for the next few years. Some people have misconceptions about studying online. They believe that employers will not value an online education as highly as they would a traditional education, or that they will be missing out on some grand experience. Neither of these things is necessarily true. In fact, online classes are more than just an alternative to the traditional route. In many cases studying online makes more sense than studying in the traditional classroom setting.

Why millions of students from all around the world opt for online degree programs or take at least one college course through an online platform is because online learning has to be the greatest revolution in contemporary education. It made a huge change in the system and opened great opportunities for everyone who wants to learn something.

Online learning is awesome because you can learn whatever you want, all it takes is a Google search for such online course, and you’ll easily find the online programs offered by some of the most prestigious universities from all around the world. You can take such a course even if you have no aspirations to apply that knowledge in your future profession, but you’re simply curious to discover new interests and understand how the human brain works. The great variety of online programs and courses is a huge advantage of this type of education. It doesn’t matter where you live and what you want to study – you can always find a suitable course or even a degree program that you can follow and you will not be bound to a physical class session when you opt for online education.

The best thing about online learning is that you can learn in a relaxed manner even if you don’t want to get certified. You only need the passion for learning and a quick online search that will take you to the right course. From that point on, you will be the master of your own education.

We have all experienced classroom study in school, but online learning is something completely different. Here are six practical tips to show you how to study online and achieve online study success.

1.  Motivation is key

Online learning suits self-starters and people who really want to learn, but it can be a challenge too because the motivation and discipline all have to come from you.

The great thing about this is that the commitment and self-motivation required to make the grade in online learning is extremely attractive to employers. Remember that by attaining an online qualification, you’ve already demonstrated the drive to work independently and efficiently. This alone gives you a great advantage over other applicants.

2. Set realistic study goals

Different have different workloads. Make sure you know how much time is required so you can balance study with other commitments. For example, if you work full-time and have a family or an active social life, don’t trick yourself into thinking you can manage 25 hours of study each week.

Unsure about the time you can devote? Consider signing up for just one unit at a time when you first start your course. See how you go about fitting it into your life – you can increase your workload as you grow more confident in your time management abilities.

3. Make online study part your daily routine

Set aside time for online learning just as you would for attending classes. Give yourself ample time to sit down and read through your materials, so you understand everything clearly. Identify the time of day you will devote to studying. Ask yourself: are you a morning person or a night owl? Then schedule your study at a time when you’re performing at your peak.

Don’t forget to factor in time for healthy snacks and breaks – they help keep you awake and focused. Once you refine your study skills, online learning can be made a lot more effective with the application of these techniques.

4. Understand how online study works

Before you start your course, find out more about how to study online, including:

Submitting coursework

Accessing discussion groups

Contacting instructors

Accessing library facilities

Changing enrolment details.

Getting all this down pat before you start will help you feel in control and ready to focus on your course.

Make sure you understand in advance how your course will be assessed. Are exams held at particular times? Do you have to enroll for them? Are there any ‘contact hours’ at all? Are there times when participants need to be online at the same time?

5. Get help from people in your study network

Make the most of the support you can get through your online course provider. Lecturers and tutors can guide you through coursework, while support staff can assist with study tips, professional contacts, and administrative issues.

Students can also help each other via online chat rooms, forums, and social media groups.

As an online learner, your tutors understand you have other commitments. If things get on top of you, let them know. You might be able to negotiate an extension.

6. Reward yourself for success

Online study requires discipline. So reward yourself every time you achieve a study goal; this will motivate you to keep going and complete your course. It can be as simple as enjoying a piece of cake for getting through the week’s readings or treating yourself to a massage for getting an assignment in. It’s important to reflect on what you’ve learned and be proud of yourself.

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