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How to develop your skills for effective online learning

Online learning requires you to be dependent on yourself and people can often struggle with staying on top of things. It is easy to quickly fall behind so there are some key things that should be focused on developing in order to make the most out of your education.

Commit to a schedule
Although the possibility of being able to be flexible with your learning can seem appealing, it is important to adhere to some sort of plan. Sometimes people will study when they ‘feel like it’ but it can be easy to miss a few days and then struggle to get back into the rhythm of learning. Remember that there are no teachers to push you or check whether you have read through some text. It is therefore crucial to manage your time and maximise when you work best. You have to be self-disciplined. Start by making a schedule and then assure that you stick to it or make up the time if something urgent arises. Treating your study time as ‘class hours’ will mean that they are non-negotiable and therefore will make you more likely to adhere to them. Setting this in place will also help to provide you with a plan for how to break things down to ensure that you are not overwhelming yourself with information.

Connect with others
A disadvantage of online learning is that it can sometimes be isolating. Without the constant presence of your peers around you, the experience of studying can be a lonely one. However universities often have a network where you can connect with other people and it is important to utilise this. It not only helps you meet new people but can motivate and encourage you when you may be struggling. This space allows you to exist as a part of a community and can even be a great place to seek help on assignments. Sometimes a teacher or lecturer will take longer to respond, and therefore having another place to turn to can be immensely beneficial.

Create a workspace
When you step into a classroom, your brain automatically registers this as a place of learning. However, with online learning you can be studying from anywhere and it can often be difficult to get into ‘work mode’ when you are in the comfort of your own home, a place that you associate with relaxation. It is important to create a workspace, find where you work best and designate that to your learning. This way as soon as you sit down, your brain knows that it is time to concentrate and disengage from your surroundings. An advantage of online learning is that all you need is an internet connection and so if you prefer, you can work from a library or even a coffee shop (with WIFI). Learning material is accessible across multiple devices so you can even work from your phone.

These are some of the key things that you need to set in place to ensure that you make the most out of your learning. Teachers are always available to help and support you and just like with any other course, there are also other students that are also learning online. You need to ensure that you are pro-active and self-motivated but these skills will be beneficial when entering the workplace and will also give you a competitive edge when attending job interviews. Online learning allows you to take control of your education and provides you with a way of demonstrating that you can be independent and thrive.

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