Taking online courses can be very convenient and beneficial for many people. However, online learning requires time management skills, self-discipline, willpower, and strong motivation, as it can be a challenging task for online learners such as yourself to successfully complete eLearning courses. Our top tips for learning online will help you to stay focused and motivated throughout your course.
1. Embrace online learning practices
Choosing to study your course online is not necessarily an easier way to learn, but rather a more convenient one. To successfully learn online, you need to dedicate your time, consistently complete your units, remain focused while studying, and fully commit to your learning process, just as you would do for a regular course. You should also have in mind that when you take an online course, you will be expected to:
- Communicate with our tutors and lecturers when required and be prepared and motivated to ask for help when you need it.
- Be, or be willing to become, tech-savvy.
- Complete your learning tasks and assignments on time.
- Attend your work placement consistently and with intent to learn.
- Be self-disciplined. Sometimes this means reprioritising other aspects of your life.
Be willing to commit to all of the above and it’s likely you will find this a rewarding and successful process.
2. Tech-savvy online learning tips
Technology glitches happen all the time. Imagine you are working through an assessment piece and your computer crashes. Here’s some tips to avoid the grief of losing your hard work:
- Ensure you save your work repeatedly and backup your documents regularly.
- Use cloud storage products, for example, Dropbox, OneDrive or Google Drive to store your working files and documents. This will allow you to access your work from your smartphone or tablet, if needed. You will also have the added benefit of being able to access your work from a workplace if you need to work through any assessments whilst onsite.
- Use online editing products such as Google Docs, Google Sheets and Office 365 applications (Microsoft cloud versions of common Microsoft products such as Word and Excel).
- Saved our tutor’s contact email address on your mobile phone or in your contacts list should you need to contact us and are unable to access Moodle.
- Reliable internet access will also give you the opportunity to check in, stay current with your eLearning course, and deal with any requests.
3. Have a dedicated study space
Whether you decide to study in your office or in your living room, ensure that this place is quiet, organized, distraction-free, and available for use at any time. Your study environment should be one of your main concerns when you are an online learner, so make sure that it enables your study routine.
4. Switch off to the world
Ask your friends, relatives, and colleagues to respect your “study mode” and consider turning off your phone and logging off of all social networks when studying so you don’t become distracted.
5. Keep the end in sight
To stay on track with your online course, make sure that you always keep in mind what you hope to accomplish by the end of it. The learning objectives and goals of the eLearning course can be an excellent road map during online learning. Read carefully your online course requirements, create notes that are closely related to your objectives, and make sure that you review them thoroughly every time you start an assessment, so that you stay focused on your goals. Finally, consider starting with the most difficult tasks, as this will improve both the effectiveness of your study and your performance.
6. Use your AVT Training Plan effectively
As part of your course you have already received an AVT Training Plan. This training plan provides you with a guideline of when you should commence and complete each unit of a study based on how many months you elected to complete your course on enrolment.
We recommend using your training plan as the basis for planning your study and own personal commitments.
Here are some tips to help you use it:
- Plan ahead: Never wait until the day before an assessment due date to start working on it. It will stress you and stress will prevent you from effectively completing the online task. Furthermore, knowing when all of your assignments are due until the end of the eLearning course will facilitate your time management; for instance, if you are going on holiday in the middle of the eLearning course, you can study ahead.
- Have an effective calendar system: Online learning needs structure; create a study calendar that will help you remember all important dates, like exams, or deadlines for submitting your assignments. You can save your calendar in your computer or in your mobile device, or you can even create a wall planner, which you can mark up and check every time you study.
- Create to-do lists: At the start of each week, make a to-do list of the tasks you need to complete by the end of the week. This is an excellent way to prioritise your study plan and stay on track with your studying. You can use smartphone apps such as Wunderlist, which are fantastic for keeping you organised.
- Set time limits: Before you start studying, estimate how much time each task will take to complete, whether it is a specific assignment or simply reading a chapter. Try to stick to your time limits, as this will help you develop your self-discipline. Furthermore, when you realise that despite your best efforts you cannot concentrate, consider stopping for an hour or for the night; it is better to wait until you are able to start afresh than to waste your time trying to focus.
- Stay on schedule: Finally, stick to your training plan. Procrastination is the worst enemy of online learners, so make sure that you stay organized and you are not falling behind in your online class. If you are having difficulties submitting your assignments on time, contact us so we can help you meet your deadlines.
7. Ask for help when you need it
While it may be constructive to look for answers to your online course-related questions independently, hesitating to contact us when you are stuck may be problematic. Use our Moodle forums and Moodle online chat to access help.
Not taking advantage of our support may see you falling behind and lower your confidence if you can’t keep up. We also appreciate your questions, by asking us to clarify problems. It is likely that you will also be helping other online eLearners who maybe struggling with the same problems.
8. Review, revise, repeat.
This is one of our favourite top tips for online learning. Make sure you are regularly revising the things you have already studied. It will not only improve your memory, but will also help you better understand what you are learning. Create your own flashcards for your keynotes and quiz yourself on the key concepts of the course. Read more about tips on how to improve your memory
Consider having one or more study buddies or study partners by using our private Facebook group to connect with other like minded students. Working in a small group will offer you alternative views of difficult concepts, motivation to achieve better results, and help in completing your online assignments more quickly by reviewing what you have learned.
Share your study notes and habits with your virtual classmates and support each other throughout the online learning process.
9. Take study breaks
Your performance will decrease if you are feeling tired or frustrated while studying. Integrate some personal time into your study routine and you will be able to work more effectively on your online course goals. When taking a break, make sure that you get away from your study space; you need to have a change of scenery. A mild physical activity, such as a walk around the block, will help you maintain balance, renew energy, and go back to studying with a clear mind.
10. Stay motivated
Finally, don’t underestimate the effort needed to fully commit to your online course. To make sure that you stay motivated and engaged in your online learning experience, consider following these tips:
- Feel free to create your study routine at your own comfortable pace.
- Decorate your study space with inspirational quotes and pictures.
- Never forget the reason why you took this online course.
- Accept that you will have productive and less productive days.
- Have healthy snacks nearby to boost your energy.
- Reward yourself every time you complete a challenging task.
- Make sure that you take some time for yourself from time to time.
- Stay positive and keep your chin up.
Follow these study tips for online learning and you will be able to make your online learning a fun and enjoyable eLearning experience.
This article was based on the online article “10 Study Tips For Online Learners” by Christopher Pappas of elearningindustry.com. We have adapted Pappas’ article to suit the AVT online elearning courses, the AVT values and our students. References: Pappas, C. (2015). 10 Study Tips For Online Learners. [Online] elearning Industry.
If you are working in the industry and want more tips on how to juggle work and student life, read our article: 7 tips to juggle work and study in the animal care industry.