Studying online and advancing your studies online may feel like a daunting process. It can feel overwhelming at times, especially if you are used to studying in a physical location (or even in a classroom). Getting over these initial doubts or reservations may take a little bit of time. However, once you are over them, you can successfully study online full-time or around your existing commitments. After getting over the initial humps that may present themselves, you must then start looking positively forwards and considering the following areas:
Why do You want to Learn and Study Online?
What is giving you that desire to push your education forwards? What is making you want to study online, and why do you want to learn online as opposed to offline? This may initially sound like a simple question and answer. However, when you dig a little deeper, you may well find that the answer is complicated. For example, you may want to study online as it gives you greater flexibility. Or, you may want to utilize online platforms because you have heard about how engaging they are for students. Knowing exactly why you want to study and learn online will help you eliminate all other options and focus on what you want.
Who Will You Study With
Now you have discovered why online studying is best for you. It is time to look at who you will study with. Not all universities and colleges have online setups for their program, and some do not invest in online students and communities as healthily as they should. When you are deciding who you will study with, it is crucial to look at what you will be getting back from a provider. Looking solely at what you will put in as a student is not good enough. You have to be sure that a college or provider is interested in you, and in building your future. When you are looking at who you will study with, you need to reach out to others for recommendations. Speaking to previous students can be advantageous. However, contacting a provider directly and reaching out will help you get the answers to many of your questions. Sometimes, you will find that hands-on behavior from yourself is the best way to go – especially when uncovering colleges and university providers.
What Online Support is Available?
Even though you may be studying online by yourself, it doesn’t mean that no online support is offered or available. Online communities that are full of online learners often have virtual meetings that allow others to share ideas, thoughts, and possibly concerns too. When you are learning online, you want to be certain that someone is always looking out for you. Studying by yourself (in your home) can be very lonely and isolating. At times, you may even feel that it has an impact on your mindset and how you approach your studies/social life. Excellent and good providers will always have a welcoming virtual/online community for online learners, and this is something you must look out for.
What is the Right Degree Program
To get the most out of your online education, you are going to need to choose the right degree. When it comes to finding the best option, you must think about what you want to get out of your studies. For example, are you looking for an online Christian psychology degree? If so, then you can click here to learn more. Or are you looking for a degree in business administration? What is important to you in your degree, and what do you want to get from it? When you are comparing degrees, it is important to look at the topics and content covered in detail. No two degrees will offer the same content, and this may be the deal breaker for you. Reach out to providers and see what makes their degree stand out above the rest, and see how it can work for you. Do not be afraid to ask for further information or for more details. You want to choose the right degree for now, and for the future too.
When Will You Study?
When advancing your education online, you must be aware of the importance of time. When you are organizing your own scheduleand deciding when and where to study, you must be conscious of time and time management. For instance, if you are working full-time, are you going to be able to fit in your study in the evenings around your current role? Or will you need to study at the weekends to ensure you don’t get left behind with the workload? Knowing when you will study will give you clarity, and it will give you the structure you need. When you are balancing your own timetable, the structure is important as you want to be sure you can hit your deadlines and finish subjects and units promptly. Getting the balance just right when studying online (and around existing commitments can be difficult). However, with patience and persistence, you can make it work.
Online Learning Strategies
As you will be learning online and mostly on your own, you are going to need to know what online strategies work for you. Learning online requires different skills, as it can be different from learning in a physical class. For example, there are more distractions in and around your home. Switching off from these distractions will take more focus, determination, and dedication. You may also find that you have to take breaks from studying more regularly if you are studying at the computer more often or perhaps studying in the evening hours. To find the online learning strategies that work best for you, trial and error may have to be administered. For example, you may find that you can study effectively for an hour at a time, with a 5-10 minute break in between your studies. Or, you may find that you learn better when you have regular catchups with the online community of learners. When you feel that you are not isolated, your mindset about education and learning changes and develops. There will be times when your approach to learning and education will inevitably change, and this is why you need to be open to learning and growing through this process.
Deadlines and Timescales Matter
It can be easy to lose yourself when you are studying online, which may mean you get lax or even outright lazy with deadlines and timescales. When you are not getting daily reminders about assignments or attending physical classes, you can easily lose track of time. As deadlines and timescales matter more than ever, you need to practice the methods and skills you will use to meet them each and every time. Balancing deadlines and time management can be complex, and it may be something that requires a lot of effort on your part. Understanding how you work and manage your time will help you see what you need to put into place to ensure you always meet those deadlines. To meet deadlines, you may find that you feel elevated levels of stress. When you are experiencing any type of stress, your concentration levels can instantly disappear. It is essential to handle and control stress to ensure it doesn’t consume you.
Managing Stress and Pressure
You will undoubtedly put yourself under stress and pressure when you are studying online, as you are solely accountable for everything that you do. Having the ability to handle this stress and pressure and knowing what your limitations are is crucial. To make sure you effectively handle stress and pressure, you may wish to practice some stress relief techniques. For instance, you may find that meditation will help you find calm in the run-up to those deadlines. You may also find that communication with other students or college lecturers/support staff will help you lose the excess stress and pressure you are carrying around. When you are studying and advancing your education online, you must open up, communicate and talk to others. Bottling up everything you are feeling or experiencing will not benefit you or your future.
How Much Online Learning Will Cost
Even though the cost of online learning should not be the overriding factor in your decision, it should play a role. Looking at how much advancing your education will cost and looking at payment plans and affordability is crucial. Knowing what you will be paying (and when) for your education will help alleviate a lot of concerns or worries you may hold. If you are unsure about what you will be paying, you may always feel a certain amount of pressure or worry. This is, of course, not beneficial to your studies or to your future well-being. When you are looking at how much online learning will cost, you need to look at unit cost or credit cost. You also need to look at tuition cost per hour as this may be separate. Don’t forget you may also need to purchase extra materials or textbooks as you work through your degree or program.
You Will Need to Enhance Your Skill Set
Once you commit to advancing your studies, you will find that you will need to enhance your skill set in the process. You will have to grow and enhance the skills you already have to truly succeed. For instance, you will have to learn how to communicate effectively and write reports. You will have to brush up on your time-management skills, and you will have to learn how to think critically. You are also going to have to learn how to motivate yourself. Advancing your education online and taking your knowledge to the next level means that you have to be open to progression and development at all levels. If you are not open to this, you will find that you will struggle to keep up with college or university standards.
What To Do in Rough Periods
There will inevitably be periods during the studying process when you feel unmotivated or even disinterested in your studies and education. Learning how to handle these rough periods is key to your success. Understanding that you are not a machine is important. When you realize this, you will see how important self-care is when studying online. Getting regular and good-quality sleep and eating a healthy diet will allow you to tackle those rough periods (as and when they appear). Having a good support system to turn to and rely on can also prove beneficial, and this is something you will wish to create as soon as you can. If you are studying for more than one year at home, you may find that your motivation dips at times. You may then find it hugely beneficial to set goals and targets for yourself to maintain drive and dedication. Goals and objectives can once again help you gain the focus, drive, and motivation you need to succeed.
What Does Your Learning Space Look Like
You will spend a lot of time learning from your home or perhaps even your workspace. Getting the correct setup is important for your well-being and the enjoyment of your studies. A learning space that is effective and efficient will be one that features minimal distractions. It will also be a space that has ergonomically designed furniture and seating. Spending those hours on end learning and studying is much easier to do when you are comfortable and relaxed. Look at learning spaces in colleges and universities and see how they are set up. Ensure that the lighting in your study space is suitable, as this can affect your mood and the effectiveness of your study time. Poor lighting can give your eyes strain, and it can leave you feeling lethargic. If you can’t have a room dedicated to studying, then try to create a separate space with room dividers in the quietest area of the house where you’re less likely to be disturbed while you study.