Staying On Track With Online Study
[Updated 22nd of November, 2022]
Studying online is a great way to get your qualifications. It means you can continue working and fit it in around the rest of your life without needing to alter your schedule too much.
Online study has become especially popular post-lockdown as more people are looking for a career shift or a chance to level up their qualifications to go for bigger and better jobs.
But studying online can be challenging. It takes perseverance, planning and consistency.
When you’re studying online it all comes down to you. While your training organisation can offer support and time with your trainer to help you along the way, ultimately, it’s up to you to make sure you keep to your schedule and deadlines to finish your course on time.
Here are some online study tips to help keep you on track.
Make a plan
The idea of completing online study can be daunting. With no-one to follow up on you, or chase you until assessments are due, it’s easy to lose track of time. That’s why you should make a plan at the start of your studies.
Review your deadlines for each assessment and break those deadlines into smaller tasks. If you have a project due in a month, plan to complete the research in the first week, the outline by middle of the second and the first draft by end of the second week. Planning out these smaller tasks helps you to stay on track.
Treat study like a job
It is easy to put off online study. After all when you can complete it in your own time, it’s tempting to push it out another couple of days. But this is how people get stuck with their online study courses.
Instead, from the start of the course you should set up a schedule as though it was a part-time job. Set specific hours when you will be completing your study and follow your schedule as though you’d be missing a shift at work. Sticking to this kind of schedule is going to help you to complete all your course work on time.
Create a study space
If you’re not set up to study, it’s unlikely that you will want to. So set yourself up for studying success by creating a comfortable space that supports your study. If you don’t have one already set up a desk or create a system for a set up and pack down of all your studying supplies. Make sure it’s a clean space with comfortable seating and good lighting. Remove all distractions from the space, make it a haven for learning.
When you’re in your studying space, plug your phone in to charge somewhere out of reach and set up all the creature comforts that help you study. This could be music, a cool breeze and even a nice, scented candle or diffuser.
Creating a study space doesn’t have to be boring. Make it a place you like being and this will help you get into study mode.
Music is very powerful for affecting our moods and it can shift our mental focus. Try creating ‘study playlists’ in Spotify or apple music that will help you get focused. There are whole sections of music and playlists on these apps that are designed for studying. Get into the groove of higher education with playlists.
Our brains are very good at making connections, music to memory and so forth. Once you’ve started listening to particular playlists when you’re studying, you’ll find that when the music comes on your brain is ready to focus.
Follow the rule of three
The rule of three suggests that you get just three things done. So, at the start of your studying session review your plans and deadlines and select the three things that are most important. Write them down at the start as a kind of checklist for that study session.
Once you’ve completed those three things give them a good crossing out. It’s very satisfying!
Make sure when following the rule of three that the three tasks are not too big to complete in a single study session. These should be tasks that can be completed in one sitting. Following the rule of three helps you to break down larger tasks into smaller ones so you can complete everything incrementally.
Access your extra resources
Many online learning resources like the course materials can be dense, heavy on procedural parts and a bit boring. While you need to complete these parts of your online study, that doesn’t mean you should miss out on what makes the course fun.
Access all the extra resources that are included in your online study modules. The links and videos aren’t just there to be ignored; these are included to help you supplement your learning. These resources are often more engaging and can help you to understand the real-life application of the concepts you’re learning in the course. Seeing and reading how these concepts can be applied can help deepen your understanding of the course material.
Ask for help
Just because you’re studying online, doesn’t mean that you can’t get some help. If you’re stuck on a question or struggling with something in your course, reach out to your trainer. You can organise a call with them, and they can help you sort through the question.
Keeping in touch with s trainer will help you build a relationship with them, so you feel more comfortable reaching out when you are having issues.
From the start of your course establish a relationship with your trainer, send them updates about where you are up to in the course. The more invested you are, the more likely it is that you’ll get your qualification.
Move up your deadlines
Sticking to a deadline is great in theory but what happens when your assessment is due tomorrow, and your internet goes down or your printer breaks? Leaving things to last minute can leave you stuck and needing to get extensions.
Instead of planning to stick to the deadline, move up your deadline. If your assessment is due in a week’s time, plan to turn it in 4 days early that way if anything happens, you’re still on-time with your assessments.
Immerse yourself in your topic
While you can choose to just complete the course without connecting to the industry or doing any extra research, you’ll set yourself up for success in your new career if you go the extra mile.
Immerse yourself in your topic by finding industry thought leaders to follow on social media, podcasts that can deepen your understanding and industry groups you can join.
Going this extra mile will mean you’re more connected to the industry when you finish the course and ready to make your mark.
You’ve been working hard at studying and a little reward here or there will help to keep you on track. Whether it’s a nice walk on the weekend, a dinner out occasionally or an item of clothing to keep you motivated, rewards can help you stay on track with your course.
Studying online can be challenging but with a bit of preparation and motivation you can get on top of your studies and stay on top of them.
If you’d like some more tips on how to cope with studying online, you can have a chat with one of our course advisors here or check out all the courses we have available through flexible online delivery here.