Guest post from our friends at ed4credit
You made the awesome decision to go back to school, and now it’s time to crush it and take names. These Virtual Learning tips for online courses get you there.
No problem. Lots of people struggle a little when they first start with virtual learning. But don’t worry – it gets easier with experience.In the meantime, here are nine killer tips that will get you in your virtual learning groove in the blink of an eye.
TIP 1: Manage your time effectively
The number one tip we have to get the most from your virtual learning is ‘manage your time wisely‘. If you’re anything like most virtual learning students, you’re probably not only going to school.You’re probably working at least a little, maybe you’re taking care of kids, maybe you’re doing both. Plus, you’re still going to need some time for yourself, even if it’s just to relax and watch TV.
In order to balance all of these effectively, you need to manage your time efficiently. At the start of your course, figure out everything you’re going to have to do and how long it’s going to take (approximately). Then, work out when you’re going to do everything. How many hours a week are you going to put towards your course? Are there any weeks where you need more time? Are there any times when you won’t be able to hit your minimum? Addressing these sorts of questions up front makes your online course a lot easier to complete.
TIP 2: Set up your work station
Pick a place that you’re going to work and stick with it. It doesn’t really matter where it is – it just needs to work for you. Some people work best in bed, surrounded by pillows. Others work best in a totally silent library, and still others work best at cafes. Try a few out at the start and see what works both for your concentration and your lifestyle.
For example, if you work best at a café, but the café you like is 20 minutes out of your way, then it’s probably going to be a no-go. Once you’ve figured out what works for you, stick with it. Students who dedicate a space to work, rather than doing it on the fly while they wait for a red light to change or on their lunch break will get a lot more out of the program.
TIP 3: Investigate what additional virtual learning resources you have access to – and use them.
There are LOTS of additional resources out there for those who want to access them. Writing centers, extra help from tutors, forums, and chat boards are all potential sources of help. Do some research at the start of your course and find out what’s available for you. Then, when you’re stressed and you get stuck down the line, you already know what’s available and where to find it.
TIP 4: Start small with one or two courses
A key problem that new students have with virtual learning is they thrown themselves in the deep end and never quite manage to finish their bazillion courses in the timeframe required. Disheartened (not to mention disgruntled about losing a hefty chunk of change), they tend to give up. But there’s a better way. If you start small and build up, you’re a lot more likely to succeed and a lot LESS likely to just get totally overworked and quit.
TIP 5: Print out and proofread every assignment
It sounds very analog and annoying, but printing out and reading an assignment before you submit is the absolute best way to catch errors. Somehow, reading on paper is just easier.
Whether it’s because it’s a physical thing or because you can flick between pages faster, it’s hard to say. But get out your red pen and read through your work before you submit. You’ll be amazed at the spelling and other simple mistakes you catch.
Not to mention making changes that, quite simply, improve the quality of your work.
If you’re working on a writing assignment like an essay, another step you can take to really improve your work is to read it out loud. If you’re embarrassed, go hide in a closet, but you’ll catch sentences and structures which were fine when you wrote them but sound absolutely terrible when you say them out loud.
TIP 6: Build your routine
This is really a combination of choosing a place to study and managing your time effectively. It takes 21 days – three weeks – to form a new habit. Make sure that you stick to your routine RELIGIOUSLY during the first few weeks to get those habits to really embed into you.
It’s also worth noting that habits and routines are easier to form if you have a strategy. If you know how much you need to study, then you can build a habit around that. For example, if you’ve worked out that you need an hour a day to finish your course, and you have an hour between when you get home from work and when your kids get home, that’s a natural-built routine right there. Looking for these ‘easy fits’ gives your routine the best chance of success.
TIP 7: Need help? Ask!
There are so many students who are afraid to ask questions or for help. Don’t fall into that trap.
The staff are there to help you if you have questions. Oftentimes, lots of people have the same questions but are too afraid to ask. To get the most from your virtual learning experience, make sure you ask questions.
TIP 8: Understand what your course involves
At the start of your course, read over the ENTIRE requirements list, the reading lists, any assignment deadlines, the syllabus, and any other information that’s available. The best way to set yourself up for success is to know what you’re getting into.
TIP 9: Get organized
Of course, the very best way to be successful at virtual learning is to just be organized. There are plenty of apps out there to help you structure your time, but a good ol’ paper calendar and a pen are your strongest weapons.
At the start of the course, write down when things need to be done by. This gives you a bird’s eye view of your course and will help keep you on track. After that, it’s just a matter of doing the work.
We hope you found this useful. Interested in getting started with virtual learning? Get in touch today and see how we can help you finally nail that college degree.
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