Online learning allows you to learn whenever and wherever works best for you, making it easier to earn a degree while balancing other commitments. However, courses taken online can require just as much, if not more, time and energy as traditional classroom courses. They also require specific tactical and technical skills (i.e. time management and communication) in order to succeed. Upon developing these skills, you will find that online courses can be an excellent alternative to courses in the traditional classroom setting.
2.1 Time Management Skills
One of the biggest benefits of online learning is flexibility, but too much freedom can pose new challenges. To stay on top of your university workload and achieve your goals, it is recommended to use these two approaches:
Term Schedule: On a 4-month calendar, plot your course work, due dates, and other personal commitments.
Weekly Schedule: Set up a practical study schedule for yourself and stick to it. Students who succeed are those who follow their schedule and make progress every day. This is especially important after the novelty of online classes starts to wear off.
2.2 Communication Skills
Communication skills are vital in online learning. Instructors are willing to help their students, but they are unable to pick up on non-verbal cues, such as a look of confusion on a student’s face, in an online environment.
Here are some points to keep in mind:
- Use the tools provided by the school to communicate with your instructors (i.e. email, virtual classroom etc.)
- Use appropriate language in chat rooms and emails
- Join active classroom discussions to keep yourself up to date on what is happening during classes
2.3 Technical Skills
Most online schools have student orientation programs. These teach students how to use the school’s Learning Management System (LMS) and other online tools. It is important to familiarize yourself with the LMS that your university uses.
Online learners need basic technical skills to succeed. These include the ability to create new documents and navigate the internet to look up information. There are a variety of tutorials online that can help you develop basic technical skills.
Implementing these skills throughout the semester will help you in becoming a more successful online learner. Remember, perseverance is needed to succeed in online learning. Students who do well are those who work through technical problems, seek help when needed, set aside study time for each course and persist through challenges.