The popularity of online courses have surged in recent months, thanks mainly due to the impact of COVID-19, and our desire to boost our skillset during the unavoidable downtime. But studying online can come with its pitfalls.
Here we discuss the top 6 tips to follow if you’re studying an online course. These tips will ensure you stay focused, interested, and most of all, set for success!
#1 – Set Rules Immediately
Procrastination problems and will power problems can be squashed from the very beginning if you set your own rules – and follow them from the outset. Your rules should include a set amount of time for study portioned out throughout the week, marked on a calendar ideally. Simply stick to your own set of rules, and any problems with will power and procrastination will fade away…
Think of it like going on a diet: if you only filled your house with fruit and vegetables, the problem with lack of willpower over junk food would become a thing of the past by virtue of your own rules.
#2 – Set Very Easy Time Portions
If you are following the first tip, then be sure to follow this one too. To succeed with online study, you need to portion out parts of your week for studying, so it is imperative that the segments of time be very easy. For example, if you are taking a part-time course on nursing, you could set out three hours on Saturday, one hour on Monday night, and fifteen minutes on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
The more digestible the routine, the more likely you are to stick at it. If you develop an easy routine, you will never suffer with procrastination or willpower problems again.
#3 – Reading Ahead
The schoolyard smarties who used to raise their hand all the time in class were the ones who used to read ahead in their books. Instead of taking time to read fiction, or play a console game, whip out your textbook and read ahead a little. For some reason, the material you absorb in an almost nonchalant way is often the stuff that comes in very handy later.
Reading ahead can help a lot if you are learning a new language. Other tips for learning a foreign language include, immersing yourself in the language as much as possible, setting your phone apps to the other language, and watching English speaking movies with foreign subtitles on.
#4 – Embed Learning into Your Normal Life
Ever wondered why your schoolwork and qualifications were so difficult that they took you five years to achieve, and yet others can go earn the same qualifications as adults within a year? (the American’s call it a GED). It is mostly because adults have more developed intelligence, and because many of the skills learned in school have already been applied repeatedly to adult life.
For example, programmers often take on freelance work on the side, as do graphic designers, bookkeepers, animators, and many more. Even if your online course is a maths course, you can start doing your home budget more like a business budget, and see if you can apply your maths learning to a real world scenario.
#5 – Eat Better Food
It sounds like a throwaway tip, but the people who try to mix studying with eating noodles and beans are the people who suffer the most. Eat good food and home cooked food. If you cannot get the right ingredients for home cooked food, then use a service like Dinnerly and have it sent to your door. Good nutrition is almost as important when learning as it is when working out. Good nutrition affects everything from your ability to concentrate, to how well you sleep at night.
#6 – Read Everywhere
Not to be crass or crude, but you shouldn’t be checking Instagram on your phone when you are say, in the bathroom. Why not run a testing app on your phone which tests your knowledge of your course instead? You could be learning new things, watching YouTube lectures, or listening to educational podcasts.
Ultimately, when it comes to studying successfully, routine pays off in the end. Studying online is a commitment and in many ways it is harder to do than traditional face-to-face learning. Try to find ways to follow a routine that fits your lifestyle, while making time to live your life and do your studying!