4 tips for studying in online programmes

Online studies! Don’t they just seem an answer to your dreams? Spend an evening or two each week with your tablet in the comfort of your favourite coffee shop, a turquoise pool someplace warm, or your bathtub, with some candlelight and hot tea. Reality? Can be, but surely that is not all that there is to it. After all, your aim may be to earn a degree in business in no less time than those, who study fulltime each day.

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What else do you need?

  1. Begin with the end in mind

In two years time, you will have completed your first milestone of the Higher National Diploma, while working full-time simultaneously. That is a huge achievement, even if you decide to take three years to complete it. Just two more terms of additional study and you will have earned the Bachelor’s. Remind yourself regularly of your end goals and what you want to achieve with it to boost your motivation in the dark winter months, or light summer nights with plenty of other temptations than study. It will be up to you!

  1. Hone your time-management skills!

Even if you can set the time aside for participating in virtual lessons a couple of nights a week, there is a great deal more you need time for. Independent study is often required to prepare for such lessons, including some reflection on the topics you have studied and discussion with your peers. Also, you will need time to prepare your assignments according to the set deadlines, and communicate with your professor about various matters in discussion forums and privately, too. Prepare a weekly schedule with blocks for independent study and class preparation, peer discussion, assignment preparation and virtual lessons. But show mercy on yourself, too: if you get into a tight spot, talk about it with your instructor, and solutions will be found.

  1. Organise a peaceful study place!

While the lure of the bathtub may seem relentless after stressful office hours, it may feel wonderful to sometimes succumb. However, it will be useful to set yourself up with a peaceful corner or workspace where there are few interruptions and where you have everything organised that you will need for your studies and classes, so that you can fully focus on your efforts.

  1. Be proactive and reflect!

It is said that learning is often context related and needs some effort to be transferred into real-life situations. Remember studying a foreign language in a classroom and how difficult it was to try to speak it out of that context? So, think about the learning outcomes you are aiming to achieve; internalise them as your own, and reflect upon them and the content of the unit also during your workday. Often you will find added significance in your everyday work, and including such experiences in your learning diaries or assignments will reflect well on you and your achievement. Applying your new knowledge will not only deepen your learning, but also create strong impressions in your memory, which you can bring up in job interviews, or when discussing with your bosses about advancement in your career.

What tips would you like to share for other online students?

KN

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