If you take a look back at how learning has evolved over the years, you will be overwhelmed at the stark contrast of the education scenario that has pervaded the conventions. In no time at all, the classrooms went digital. Learning took a huge leap to the online sphere and rapidly made a niche for itself in the digital world.
There was a time when online learning was frowned upon. Skeptics had an aversion to the digital classrooms that were cooking up a rage. The omission of in-person training that traditional classrooms provide didn’t seem to marry well with the concept of learning. “How can that possibly provide the same benefit?”, they wondered.
But when the glorious benefits of online learning began to unfold, the challenges seemed too meek to take a stand. As technology improved, many reputable colleges and universities started integrating online courses well into their systems. And student enrrollment for online courses rose exponentially over the years.
However, with such a massive change in the education sector, a few questions have made their debut in the minds of the online learners.
How are online learners different than regular classroom learners?
Do they need to have a different approach towards education?
Are the parameters of judging their success different than those for regular classroom students?
These questions have plagued the online learners since quite some time now.
If you are one of them, then there’s good news. You have nothing to worry about. No innate quality is required to be the successful online student you aspire to be.
However, the competitiveness in education does require for learners to have an edge. And that calls for a few strategies that you must always implement to see your efforts shine through.
In this article, we will be discussing a few sure ways that will catapult your success to newer heights. Let’s dive in.
Choose the Program Carefully
First things first, you would need to be completely aware of what you are looking for. The course you choose is your ticket to the land of opportunities. There are numerous institutions out there with a large array of courses. And they have been doing a great job in making each of these look like delicacies on a plate. So many students end up dazed with the specification, unable to decide the right one.
What you should look for here is what you need. Even though all of the courses in your category seem perfect, you will have to live with the requirements that you are missing out on if you try to chase everything. So, list out your requirements first and keep this list handy while browsing through courses. Refer to the list every time you spot a course that seems close enough. When you find the perfect match, you are good to go.
Also, remember to do a bit of research before enrolling in a course. This will save you any future troubles.
2. Make Sure You have the Required Technical Specifications
Most online courses come with system specifications. For example, a Windows or iOS operating system is the standard. There could be more detailed specifications according to the demands of the course, like:
Many students tend to ignore the specifications before enrolling for a course. This is a recipe for disaster. Make sure you are not traveling the same road. Any slight limitation at the beginning of the course can turn out to be a massive hindrance. Worse comes to worst, you might even have to drop out midway. Even a faulty Internet connection can be the signal of impending doom. Therefore, you would need to make sure that your system aligns with the specifications stipulated before taking the course.
3. Go Through the Syllabus
This is one of the basic aspects of taking a course that students miss out on. A know-how of the syllabus is always important. This is because your syllabus is the roadmap to success. So you should definitely make the first move in being friends with it.
Here’s what you can do:
Print a copy of the course syllabus
Read through it
Highlight the deadlines of assignments and exam dates on your personal calendar
Add any reminder that you might need
Now your preparation for the course is complete. While you are into the course, do not forget to consult the syllabus and your personal calendar from time to time. This way you will never miss out on deadlines and you will also have a tangible progress report to feel good about.
4. Be a Self-Disciplined Learner
As an online student, you will be required to take up a few responsibilities since there is a lot of room for independent learning. Since online learning is mostly self-directed, it calls for a few skills, which include:
You need to understand that there will be no one pushing you every day to study for the exam. You will need to do it by yourself. And when it comes to juggling multiple responsibilities like studying, managing a career, maintaining a healthy personal life and so on, balancing everything evenly becomes tough.
My advice to you is: make a plan and stick to it. Once you have your goal set, you will know what to do and when. Distractions will be at bay and you will be able to focus on your studies well. That’s not where it ends. You will also need to discipline yourself to meet the requirements expected of you. Only then will you emerge successful.
5. Chalk Out a Study Timetable
For online courses, you would rarely find a set time for the classes. This leaves enough room for procrastination. If a possibility like this lights up your eyes, then you are going to be doomed. You would need to use this flexibility to your advantage. Here’s how:
Create a study schedule for the whole course
Next step is to make a daily ‘To-do’ list
Stick these two up on a wall which you get to see every day
Follow those two to the T
Every time you fail to complete a task within the deadline that you have set for it, add that to the ‘To-do’ list for next day. While this is okay in small doses, tasks piling up in large amounts is disastrous, so much so that you might have an urge to abandon the whole thing altogether. Try to avoid that as much as possible.
One of the perks of a ‘To-do’ list is being able to check the items off the list when you complete them. Those are going to be your little triumphs every day.
Time management is absolutely crucial to become a successful online student. Make sure you are doing that effectively.
6. Acquire Basic Technical Skills
In order to succeed as an online student, you would need to possess a few basic technical skills. Some of these include:
Finding your way across the Internet
Downloading software and so on
Many institutes provide orientation programs to acquaint students with the basic technical skills that they might need in the course of the program. For the ones that do not, you must take some time out to acquire these skills. There are many videos and tutorials for the same. All you need to do is find one that meets your requirements.
7. Ask for Help Whenever You Feel Stuck
It is quite common among online students to refrain from asking for help because they take the contrast between a virtual and a traditional classroom too seriously. And this poses a hindrance to learning. But did you know that the virtual space will only get to you if you let it? When you are cowering behind the virtual curtain, the reality is that the instructors are wondering why on earth you have no doubts.
Whenever you find yourself stuck with something, be sure to ask for help. It is only normal that you are going to have questions about the topics. Letting them pile up would do you no good. Single out your doubts, look through the resources provided and resort to Google. If you still find no solution to the problems, it is time to get those clarified by your instructors.
Help is just a click away, all you need to do is ask for it. And you will be glad that you did.
8. Connect With Fellow Students
Being an online learner does not mean that you have do study on your own all the time. Your course-mates are just a few interactions away. Many institutes recommend tools to help you collaborate with other students. With social media at your service, you can easily build learning communities.
You can create a Facebook group for the class to discuss anything pertaining to the course. You can also make use of Google for easy collaboration. Google Docs is a highly collaborative tool for assignments. Google+ will also come in handy for communication.
The communities you create with your fellow batchmates are just like study groups, only global. Each of you could be residing in different corners of the world, but you will be united by the lessons you are learning. Isn’t that pretty cool?
9. Brush up on Your Communication and Written Skills
Since the medium is virtual, a lot of communication is going to take place through writing. You would be communicating with your fellow batchmates online. Apart from that, the assessments are also going to be online. So you would require a decent typing speed to finish the paper on time. If you think that you are lagging behind, then it is time to whet these skills.
There are numerous programs available to sharpen your reading, typing and communication skills. You can consider trying one of those.
That being said, you should be aware of the rewards and challenges that online learning brings along. As long as you have a concrete learning strategy in place and follow that diligently, you will have no trouble in becoming successful in your online learning endeavor. While you are at it, always exercise proper digital etiquette and address everything in good faith.
So what are you waiting for? A wealth of knowledge is waiting out there to be unlocked. Make it work for you.
Have you taken any online course till date? How was your experience? Share it with us. We would love to hear from you.
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