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How to be a successful distance learner

16
Mar

How to be a successful distance learner

Posted by N James
Technology is constantly changing the ways in which we socialise, conduct business, consume media content, and of course learn.

Distance learning, in particular online learning has exploded across the globe, with many vocational training providers (such as Goodstart Institute of Early Learning) and universities opting to deliver learning and assessment materials via an online learning portal.  While most training providers blend online learning with workplace training and support from trainers and lecturers, some students may experience challenges in participating successfully in their study.

Here at the Institute we’ve put together some strategies to help students get the most out of their distance learning course.  You might think some are ‘basic’, however implementing a few of these strategies will help you become a better distance learner and get more out of your study.

Goal setting
Before you start studying it’s a good idea to sit down and write out some goals you want to achieve in your course.  Display your written goals in a prominent location in your personal study area (did someone say Vision Board?)  In doing so you will have a focal point for the reasons why you are studying and how much it means to you to succeed.

Treat yo’ self
Set yourself some milestones within your course and reward yourself with a special treat.  Your milestones could be anything from receiving a certain result on your assessment, or completing up to a certain part within your course by a set date.  Be sure your milestones are achievable and you don’t overcommit yourself – you don’t want to burn yourself out!

Most importantly celebrate your success, you’ve worked hard for it!

Lock it in!
Create a study schedule and stick to it.  You’ve probably heard this before and for good reason – it works.  By setting a regular schedule and blocking out some time in your calendar each week you’ll have a better chance of completing your studies and assessments on time and with less stress.

Find a time that works best for you where you can be on your own and free of distractions.  This could be at night after the kids have gone to bed, or early on a Sunday morning before everyone is awake.  Everyone is different and you know yourself and what works for you better than anyone else.

If you can, allocate a space that is dedicated to study and remove any distractions (switch off your email and social media notifications).  Ensure you have all of your study materials on hand and some water and a healthy snack to see you through your study session.

Make sure you take a break regularly and stretch.  This could be at the end of a chapter or online presentation, or at a set time within your scheduled study period.  It will give your brain time to process the information you have viewed/read.

Spread the word
Tell your family and friends about your study and what it means to you.  Arrange with a close friend or colleague to help proof read your assessments.  Ask them to periodically check in on you to see how you’re going.  This will keep you accountable to someone else apart from you and your trainer/lecturer.

Find your learning style and know what works for you
There are many different learning styles which include; auditory, visual, and kinaesthetic to name a few. Studying via distance/online learning may not be able to provide course materials that cater for all learning styles.  However, there are many tips and tools you can do/use to personalise your coursework for your learning style.

If you’re unsure of your learning style there are many online quizzes/tests you can take to determine which learning style is best suited to you.  These quizzes also provide suggested methods on how to maximise your learning.  We’ve included two free quizzes below for you to try.  They also provide suggested methods to help you process your coursework into your learning style.

What’s Your Learning Style? (EducationPlanner.org)

The VARK questionnaire (vark-learn.com)

It’s important to remember that ultimately you are responsible for your own learning.  By implementing one or more of these strategies you’ll have a better chance of success in your studies.

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