9 Tips for Successful Online Learning

August 6, 2019
Posted in Student Tips
August 6, 2019 ACS

At some point in your academic career (either high school or college) you will be faced with the opportunity to take an online or independent study class. In some cases it might even be the only way you can complete a particular course. If this style of learning is new to you, you might find the prospect a bit daunting. These tips can help you make the transition from traditional classroom learning to an online or independent study environment.

Treat the class like a job. Schedule your “work” time and hold yourself to a schedule.

Set benchmark goals. It’s easy to procrastinate if you view completion of the course as a singular goal. Toward the end of the semester you could find yourself completely overwhelmed! Instead, break your progress into measurable benchmark goals – say, weekly – and focus on those.

Don’t wait until the last minute. Even with regular benchmark goals, procrastination can happen. Try to avoid submitting assignments at the last possible minute; Wifi outages or other electronic fumbles can make your experience far more stressful than it has to be.

Choose an appropriate study place. Online or independent study classes allow you to complete assignments anywhere, but don’t take that too literally. You probably won’t do your best work at the beach or noisy cafe, so plan your study locations along with your schedule.

Continue to take notes. In a classroom setting, taking notes keeps you focused on the main points of a lecture, and gives you a study guide to use later. Do the same with online lectures or independent reading.

Stay connected. Just as with classroom learning, online study can be enhanced by interactions with other students. Reach out to others in the class to organize in-person study sessions, or discuss topics online.

Ask questions. Your instructor provides their contact information for a reason; don’t be shy! Reach out to ask questions or deepen the conversation with your own thoughts. Just because the course is offered online, doesn’t mean you can’t develop a strong relationship with the instructor.

Keep it professional. If your online course allows you to upload a profile photo, or facilitates open discussions between students, behave just as you would in a classroom setting. Use a photo that you wouldn’t mind submitting if this were an online work opportunity, and use the same conversational tone you would find acceptable in a classroom or place of employment.

Evaluate. At the end of your first online course, evaluate your feelings. What worked for you, and what didn’t work? What changes could you make, if you take another online class in the future? And if you find that the structure truly didn’t work for you, it’s okay to admit that. Some people simply prefer classroom learning. An online course might be unavoidable in some situations, but you never have to choose it as an option if it truly does not work for you.




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