Being a student is a challenge at the best of times. Since the pandemic and its subsequent impact on the status quo, formal education has been forced to change drastically. Fortunately, however, the increasing efficiency of digital technology has meant that students and educators could still communicate and share knowledge during periods of remote learning. Of course, online learning has been around for a few years now, but it has certainly come into its own thanks to recent events. If you are considering becoming a student through an online course or your school has transitioned to online learning, you will hopefully find this guide useful for making the most out of your studies.
What Are the Advantages of Online Learning?
Being able to gain an education through digital means is one of the many huge advantages that the internet age has brought to society. The transfer of knowledge is one of the key methods that humanity used to evolve to the point it finds itself at today, so it’s no wonder that technology was developed to make this more efficient and immediate. Online learning has its advantages over traditional in-person learning in many different ways. For example, online learners are able to take their lessons remotely, meaning that they don’t need to spend time or money traveling to their class. This also means that their risk of transmitting or catching infections is significantly reduced, which is why it was a popular teaching method during the pandemic. Online learning also allows students to study at more of their own pace and with their own techniques, which can be more effective than feeling left behind or too far ahead in a traditional classroom or lecture hall.
What Are the Challenges of Online Learning?
Despite the many advantages of online learning, it isn’t without its obstacles. Some students find that they simply learn better when in a formal classroom environment and that their home or personal workspace doesn’t allow for maximum concentration. Others are not able to rely on a consistent internet connection, which is vital for online learning. Although technology is becoming increasingly efficient and reliable, this means that society has grown more and more dependent on it. When it occasionally fails, it can cause huge disruptions to people’s routines. An online student with technical difficulties might find these issues too disruptive to be able to concentrate on their work. At least with a traditional in-person lesson, these problems are less prevalent.
Who Should Consider Online Learning?
For some people, online learning might be the ideal method of gaining qualifications and expanding their knowledge. Although some online schools do still have a requirement for their students to be within a certain perimeter, many are available for students all over the world to join. This means that if you cannot find the course or subject you want in local schools, you can search online and find a remote learning course. For example, if you want to gain a valuable qualification, then Central Christian College of Kansas, also known as CCCK Online, can offer a variety of subjects at different levels for online learners. If you live with a mobility issue or social anxiety, online learning can be a hugely convenient alternative to traditional classrooms since it allows you to learn from the comfort of your own home. To put it simply, online learning is suitable for anyone who wishes to learn and has access to the internet.
What Are Common Obstacles for Students?
If you want to study effectively when you have chosen your online course, it’s useful to be aware of the main obstacles that students tend to face, especially when using remote technology. Of course, not all students are the same and not everyone will struggle with the same issues. However, there are some common challenges that many students find difficult to tackle when it comes to studying effectively and working towards their qualifications.
A Lack of Discipline
Students who lack discipline are not necessarily bad or under-performing students. They may be motivated, passionate, and intelligent, but discipline is an incredibly difficult skill to learn. It is essential for a successful student to develop strong discipline while studying, as this will help to keep them on track even if they don’t feel like it. Some students may get along fine for a while without much discipline, but as the course progresses and becomes more challenging, discipline to study is vital. When in a traditional classroom, a teacher can create an environment of discipline for the students. With online learning, however, the students must enforce their own routine and structure to their education.
While discipline is excellent for making sure tasks are completed, a student needs motivation in order to feel that their work has any purpose or meaning. An unmotivated student might feel as if they want to give up regularly or that they have chosen the wrong course. It can be even more of a challenge for the online student to muster any motivation without their classmates and peers to provide encouragement. The online learner needs to find their own motivation and their own methods of bringing it to the front of their mind while they study.
Too Many Distractions
Traditional classrooms are more difficult to become distracted in because they are designed to keep students focused on the teacher and their work. Online learning, however, often takes place at the student’s home, and so the environment can be much more distracting.
How to Overcome These Obstacles
If you are currently an online student or soon plan to be, you may be concerned about the above obstacles. Keep reading for solutions to these problems and some effective study techniques to help you retain your newfound knowledge.
Since discipline is one of the major challenges for online learners, it’s important to focus on developing it as a main skill. To do this, design a routine or plan for your study sessions that is doable, then keep track of how often you stick to the plan. Don’t punish yourself or feel bad for occasionally slipping up; building good habits takes time.
Finding Your Motivation
If you are feeling unmotivated when working from home, consider bringing your lesson materials to a shared workspace or cafe. Some people find the buzz of others working around them to be helpful for their own productivity. You could also invite some of your classmates to lunch or a group study session. Look within yourself to find out what exactly made you choose this online course in the first place and use this as your motivation to keep working towards your goal. This might be as simple as wanting to work with animals and so needing to earn your animal handling qualification.
Increasing Your Focus
It’s normal to feel distracted while working, especially if you are an online learner. Your home environment is much less conducive to studying than a classroom, even if you have tried your best to design an efficient workspace. This is because your home has your bed, your possessions, and maybe even your family members all surrounding you and ready to distract you from your work. While it can be useful to reduce the chance of distractions popping up at all, you can also develop methods of focusing even when in a potentially distracting situation.
Now that you have a clearer idea about overcoming the most common online student obstacles, take a look at these practical study techniques that will help you commit information to memory and hone your skills.
- The Pomodoro technique is a popular method of breaking up your study session into manageable chunks of time. It works under the assumption that the human mind can only concentrate on one thing for a certain period of time before unintentionally drifting off. This technique uses consistent timing to create breaks between short bursts of studying, making it easier for the student to focus.
- Teaching your subject to someone else can be a great way to test your own knowledge and firm up any gaps. When you talk to someone who knows nothing about your subject, they will most likely ask questions you hadn’t thought about. Being put in a position where you must answer these questions, your brain has to creatively connect the information from the course. This, in turn, helps the information to stick in your memory.
- Setting milestone deadlines is a hugely effective way for online students to keep up with their work. It involves creating your own mini-deadlines before submission due dates that break your assignment or project into stages. By making sure that you hit each of these self-imposed deadlines, you can feel more confident that you won’t miss the real thing when it finally arrives.
Studying is not meant to be straightforward. It’s an act of growth that requires willpower and intention. This guide has hopefully provided some useful information and tactics on how to be a more effective online learner.