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Tips for Taking Online Courses

A lot of students turn to online learning or online courses these days. In fact, more than 6 million Americans are taking at least one distance education course. This article will give you tips for taking online classes so you can start to set up and prepare yourself for an effective learning environment at home.

Preparing to take online courses is similar to preparing to work from home. For students who are new to the online learning set up, transitioning from traditional learning to online learning can take some time getting used to. There are a number of guidelines and key considerations a student should follow to maintain a healthy academic lifestyle at home.

Below are ten tips for taking online courses.

1. Treat an online course like you are taking a traditional course

Treating your online course like you are taking a face-to-face class will help you stay focused and enjoy your classes more. For some, online classes require as much work, or more, as a traditional class setting. Thus, you need to have the discipline and dedication actually to follow through your chosen online course. 

2. Create a study space

It can be hard to split your time and attention between your studies and personal life, especially when you are taking online classes at home, and you cannot control the people you live with. The good news is you have total control where you opt to study even when at home. Whatever part of your house you choose to create a study space, the key principle is that it should help you study better: a quiet place free from distractions with a good internet connection are some of the essential points that you should consider. 

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3. Set goals

Setting goals in online learning is vital to student success. Goals offer internal motivation for students, particularly those who choose online studies as they have to rely on themselves to ensure that they are getting the most out of the online courses. When you set your goals, you are more able to manage your time. Also, you are more driven and disciplined in taking the online courses as you are passionate about the online course you have chosen. When you feel demotivated, your desire to accomplish your goal will help you boost your drive and push yourself to achieve your ambition.

4. Make an effective study plan

After setting goals, the next step is creating a clear and achievable study plan. Just like a regular class, committing yourself to a study plan will help you stay on track and avoid getting distracted. You can start by setting the number of hours a day or week for your online course and organize the tasks and assignments that are to be completed. Then, create a timetable and prioritize according to the importance of tasks and schedule you have set.

5. Practice strong time management

Even if you have the freedom to study at your own pace, you might find yourself cramming if you have poor time management. You need to practice and learn effective time management so that you can prioritize your tasks and complete the online course on time. Time management is also critical to those who need to balance online study and work, as well as those who have to take care of their family and juggle other commitments. To learn more tips on time management, read this article: Time Management Tips for Achieving Your Goals.

6. Eliminate distractions when studying

According to research, a typical student is distracted for at least five out of 15 minutes they set aside to study. You can start by designating a study area with the best environment for efficient studying that is free from noises and distractions. There are some people who prefer studying or working with a little bit of background noise. So, get to know your study style and what kind of atmosphere you prefer. Most importantly, cut off any devices that will distract you from studying, like your cell phone and television.

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7. Take notes

study shows that people forget 77% of what they learned in six days and 40% of what they learned in 20 minutes. In online learning, you don’t just watch the video or listen to an audio lecture; you have to take notes so that you will have no problem holding onto new information. According to the Austin Community College District, some benefits of note-taking are:

  • Keep your body alert and avoid feeling distracted.
  • Keeps your mind active.
  • Make your study and understanding easier.
  • Create a concentrated record for study.

8. Review and revise your notes

It is also important that you review your notes and make necessary revisions if needed after a lecture to retain information in your mind. The revision of notes may include clearing of some information or filling in missing details on your notes. You may also add supporting information or other reference materials. 

9. Take breaks

Taking breaks does not mean that you are lazy; it actually helps increase productivity and creativity. Breaks refresh your mind and replenish your mental resources. When you continuously study or work your brain for too long without breaks, you will end up feeling stressed and exhausted. Stepping away from your computer and taking a few minutes off helps you get a breather. How you spend your breaks totally depends on you. After your break, you will be revitalized, and you will be in the right frame of mind.

10. Reward yourself

According to Tony Robbins, rewarding yourself after completing your objective helps draw out positive emotions from your brain, leading to the realization that your efforts result in a positive reward. Thus, you become more motivated to accomplish your goals as you link pleasure to it.

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