Tips for addressing the challenges of online learning

There are so many benefits of online learning. The ease and comfort of taking classes and completing your education from anywhere is very appealing, especially for working adults. This flexibility makes investing in your education feasible and obtainable. However, there are also some challenges of online learning that come with that list of benefits. Here are some tips for online classes to help the benefits outweigh the challenges.

Tip 1: Become self-disciplined

Although flexibility is what draws most to this format, it can also be a significant challenge of online learning. With no weekly structure or class times, students need to be disciplined to make the time to engage in their learning. One of the best tips is to schedule “school time,” just as you would if you were going to class each week on campus. Students are more likely to not fall behind if they have a set schedule to help stay on track.

Tip 2: Manage your time effectively

One of the biggest challenges of online learning is managing time appropriately. With flexibility, there is often a lot of wiggle room for when to work on assignments or projects and study. However, just like plotting out time to read and listen to online lectures, plot out when to work on assignments. Another tip for online classes would be to tackle the class in bits and pieces. When you get your syllabus, it can be very overwhelming, but break it down, make a plan and stick to it. Even though you can work at your own pace, you still need to set that pace.

Tip 3: Reach out for support

Many online students feel like they are going to be alone in their journey and have little support. However, a quality online program offers plenty of support readily available at all times. Even though the class is online, there is still an instructor leading the course. Often a professor will hold virtual office hours or classes to supplement the online learning that is occurring. So, make sure you find out what resources are available once you begin your class – it might surprise you. One key thing to remember is to plan ahead as emails are not always answered immediately. So waiting until the last minute (remember time management) will not be a good strategy if you need clarification on assignments. Also, reach out to your fellow classmates; you are not in this alone.

Tip 4: Stay engaged

Another challenge of online learning is staying engaged. This goes back to self-discipline and dedication. Take your educational journey seriously, even though you may be studying in your pajamas. Make sure to log in daily and keep up with class events or discussions. If you need to change your mindset, try to apply what you are learning. This will help commit the new knowledge to long-term memory. Remember, adult learners need to be exposed repeatedly to content, so staying connected will help the whole education journey.

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