HOW TO ORGANIZE STUDY TIME WHILE TAKING DISTANCE LEARNING COURSES
The current economic downturn has prompted many adults to return to school in order to improve skills and to improve their position in a tight job market. USA Today noted the trend four years ago when they reported 3.2 million adults participated in some form of online education in 2006.
Online education is not easy. The idea of having to attend class during a set time each week seems impossible to most working adults. However, the necessity of attending class for a certain period of time each week provides structure for the student in the form of a designated schedule. Study time outside of class could be a different matter since this would require self-discipline. Online education places all of the responsibility on the student for attending class and for setting aside time to study. What can student do to organize study time with online education?
A good place to start in organizing study time is to be honest with ourselves. Structure and self-discipline will come easier for some students than others. Scheduling study time for these students will not be difficult.
Other students need to be honest with themselves about why organizing time for study is difficult. The problem could be due to a tendency to be disorganized and to procrastinate. Another potential reason why students fail to organize time for study is difficulties assimilating into the online education environment. A natural reaction to an activity that cause us to act contrary to our nature is to resist. The easiest way to resist a dissatisfying online education experience is to procrastinate. WorldWideLearn offers several suggestions of ways to get organized and to make online education a success.
An important point in achieving any goal is to identify the goal first. The second step is to determine where you are in relation to the goal. The third step is to devise a plan that will lead to the accomplishment of the goal.
CREATE A STUDY SCHEDULE
Set a regular time each week for study. The time might be late at night or early in the morning. I often tell my adult students that to have time you have to make time and you can forget having it all right now. You must make choices. Honoring a study schedule is choice. Often the choice is difficult but this will not always be the case. Study time must be set in stone.
TALK ABOUT IT
Let other people know about your online endeavors. Consider asking someone to checkup on your progress from time to time. Seek out others who are participating in online education talk about your experiences. Seek a support group. Accountability has an innate motivation to remain on task rather than risk embarrassment.
KNOW YOUR LEARNING STYLE
A difficulty with online education is the limited attention to learning styles. People learn either through visual stimulation, auditory stimulation, or through tactile stimulation. Online education tends to appeal to only visual learning. Consider ways to integrate your learning style into the material. Otherwise, students who are weak in visual-oriented learning can experience frustration with online learning.
Always celebrate success. Rewards are reinforcement. Set reasonable overall goals and incremental steps in achieving those goals. Predetermine rewards for achieving the incremental steps. For example, the overall goal might be to make an “A” in a course. My incremental steps would be to make an “A” on each exam or project. Small victories deserve a small meaningful reward and big victories deserve a big reward. Celebrate victories or future motivation will be difficult to come by.