You may have heard that being successful at online education requires a certain personality, that you must be self-motivated, proactive, and extremely disciplined. But this is not true! Online learning can be a great way for anybody to learn, no matter their personality, if you know and follow a few easy tips created with the assistance of the IDI graphic design degree school, an accredited Collaborative Partner of the University of Hertfordshire.
1. Create a “to do” list: Having a list of things to do or a checklist of some type every week is absolutely critical to staying on top of your online work, especially if you are not a naturally organised person. Every weekend look at the work that you have due in class for the following week, then create a reasonable “to do” list that covers each item. Write down each day of the week, and then a list of which items you absolutely will do on those days. Include an estimation of the time that each listed item will take; this ensures that you don’t give yourself too much work on any one day.
2. Make a commitment to yourself: Tell yourself that you WILL do well in each course, that you will not only meet the minimum requirements to pass but that you will truly commit yourself to learning. Mentally commit to following your “to do” list each day and to excelling in your entire program.
3. Do your readings and preparation in advance: The biggest mistake that you can make in online education is to fall behind. Most online education is somewhat accelerated, and often more rigorous than people anticipate. Thus, it is imperative that you stay on top of the work and never fall behind. In fact, staying a bit ahead is best. To stay ahead do all text readings and other preparatory work for a unit a day or two before the unit begins, or at least during the first day or two of the unit. Then, you will be better prepared to complete any activities (discussions, assignments, papers, group meetings) within the unit.
4. Find someone to be accountable to: If you really have difficulty self-motivating and are having serious trouble staying on task, solicit a helper to push you towards success. If you are an adult learner your kids can be wonderful assets in this area. Tell your kids that they are free to remind you to do your homework. Ask them to prod you about logging into class and to request regular status reports. By reporting to your kids you will feel obligated to be a good role model and do things right. If you don’t have kids, ask your boyfriend or girlfriend, even a parent, to serve the same role.
5. Engage with the material: Everything in life is easier if you are more interested in it. So, it is important that you truly engage with the material in your class, try to enjoy it and make yourself want to learn it. Let’s say that you are taking an economics course as a prerequisite and the topic just bores you; you can’t possibly learn what you need to and do well. So, engage with the material – look for ways to relate what you are learning to your life. When you watch the news, look for concepts that illustrate what you are learning. Consider how supply and demand impacts your work, or practice some of your skills by evaluating the best way to pay off your personal debt. Find ways to make the material relevant to you so that you can learn it better. When the material seems interesting and relevant you will be more likely to log in to class and do well.
Want even more? ZenHabits list 20 motivation hacks to help keep you moving towards your goal.
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