Distance learning is quite different from the norm but can also be very challenging. There are times when you will not meet your teacher or won’t have classmates. But do not despair. Distance learning has opened many doors for students who cannot afford to pay full-time school fees or cannot spend as much time in a traditional classroom.
Understand that however attractive distance learning may seem, it is not for everyone. A lot of people don’t do well when there is no room full of students and no professors. Some people attribute their growth to classroom settings, student interactions, discussions, café hangouts, libraries, and debates.
To enroll in distance learning and to succeed, you must be very self-motivated and be able to complete your assignments.
Despite the drawbacks, distance learning has helped a lot of adult students. In this article, you will find out what it takes to make distance learning work and if it is right for you.
We have outlined a few questions for you to answer. If most of your answers are yes, the more likely distance learning will work for you.
- Ask yourself, are you disciplined enough to complete your coursework on your own schedule while still being able to meet your assignment and course deadlines?
- Are you able to work independently with minimal supervision?
- Do you have the skills and tools for basic research?
- Are you proficient at using a computer to send emails and do other relevant things, like surfing websites needed for your assignments and research?
- Can you learn via written instructions with minimal interaction from your professor?
- Can you devote as much time to distance learning as you would to a normal classroom program?
- Will your schedule give room for you to study your coursework each day?
- Are you motivated to complete your program with little to no interaction with other students and professors?
If your answer was yes to most of the questions asked, then it will be easy to consider the benefits of distance learning.
One of these benefits is the flexibility it offers. You do not have to go to classes at a certain time, and you can study at your convenience. You also won’t have to quit your day job.
For people who live in remote areas, distance learning will help to save time because they won’t have to commute back and forth from the campus, especially if it is difficult for them to travel.
You can even take your lessons anywhere you are; you will not be limited to being in one location, especially if you are a traveler.
Here are a few tips to help you prepare for and succeed in distance learning:
12 Tips to be Successful at Distance Learning
1. Start small
The less obvious but vital tip is to start easily, especially if you are hesitant about distance learning and if it can offer you what you want from a formal institution. This helps you get your feet planted before you begin taking two or more classes.
2. Choose the right distance learning institution
There are numerous corrupt “degree factories” around in the market that are simply keen on selling their certifications without essentially providing an adequate education. Make proper and legitimate findings of the institute you’re thinking of enrolling with.
Check online surveys about them to sort out what type of school they are and how much these distance courses will be financially.
3. Do not rush through your work.
Most people join distance learning courses because they think it’s “easy.” While you might save time commuting to and from class, you should always remember your timeline and how your proficiency will determine how you progress. Also, remember that you are in this to learn, not just to get a certificate, so ensure you’re learning, not just rushing through the materials.
4. Read through the instructions
Doing something you are not prepared for can be very overwhelming, especially when the time to complete the said task is limited. Distance learning has a higher rate of dropouts because students are known to be lackadaisical about completing assignments and tasks. They wait until the last minute and eventually get frustrated with it all.
Completing tasks upfront will save you a lot of time and emotional stress.
5. Work with a team
If you have the chance to choose study groups, don’t hesitate to take advantage of it. Collaborating with other students has been known to help students excel in their studies. When it comes to submitting a project, you will realize the usefulness of having a team because it will help your production time. They will be able to help you manage your time as opposed to going at it alone.
6. Set a schedule
Having good organizational skills is one of the best ways to succeed in distance learning. As soon as you have your syllabus or course plans, pen down all the important dates. Most students forget about their assignments and tasks because they are usually less prepared and easily overlooked dates. Like students who go to classrooms, these sets are usually reminded of the repercussions if they refuse to submit an assignment on time.
It is vital to have a schedule for yourself throughout the semester because you won’t have a teacher to remind you every day about your due dates. Keep a calendar or a journal to help you distinguish between your time and how best you can make use of it to your own advantage.
7. Familiarize with the syllabus
Your syllabus is like a map; it helps you figure out what is important early on. Be sure to read through these documents and all your class guidelines and rules. This will help you understand what the instructor expects from you throughout the semester. Do not hesitate to ask your professor any questions you might have regarding the syllabus.
8. Communicate with your instructor
Whether you have always been a distance learning student or this is new to you, you will still have questions, and your instructor is the best person to communicate with.
Your school faculty understand that you will have questions, and it is certain that they will provide the appropriate means for you, which includes emails, chat rooms, and other available resources.
You may not see your teacher in class every day as mentioned above, but they are still in charge of helping you pass through this with little to no stress. So, if you have questions about anything concerning your course, be it assignments or a subject, your professor is the best person to reach out to.
9. Complete all assignments
Completing your assignments is a good way to succeed at distance learning. Print out materials and take notes when in class. This will help you retain information.
Ensure you complete all your assignments in order to succeed. Print out materials and also take notes. This will help you retain more information. In fact, this is known to help you better than typing.
Online educational apps are one of the best things to invest in if you are the type that likes reading through a mobile screen. They have backlight control to help your eyes adjust to harsh lights at night.
10. Explore and familiarize yourself with any technology new to you
Switching to distance learning means that you will probably have to use technology that is new to you. Don’t feel overwhelmed. What you need to do is prepare and learn before your due date.
For instance, if you were to hold a meeting with your instructor via a link that was sent, the best thing would be to download the app earlier and get familiar with the tools.
This will give you some sense of accomplishment, and you may also use the opportunity of the meeting to ask your instructor about what you didn’t understand about the app. Learning from online forums is also a good way to prepare.
11. Create a study space
Having a space to yourself is a good way to signal your brain that it is time for study. It also signifies to people around you that you need some quiet time to work.
Most times, your space could just be a simple table and chair. Identifying a study space, be it in your home or office, will help you transition from staff member, parent, or spouse to student.
12. Loop the people around you into your routine
There are many advantages to why you should carry the people around you along. These people may notice your change and get confused about why you have suddenly changed your routines with lousy excuses.
An important step to take is to talk with your family, friends, and coworkers about this new avenue you’ve chosen to ply. You will also be surprised by the amount of support you will get. They will not feel clueless about what is going on with you.
In fact, somebody might have some tips to help you or know an additional way for you to get more tutorials, or be able to help you proofread your assignments before you submit them.