Enrolling in a distance education course is a fantastic way to learn at your own pace, in your own environment, and achieve a strong work/life/study balance. But how can you stay motivated and get the most out of a distance course?
Set a Weekly Study Routine – Without the structure of lectures and tutorials, staying motivated can be challenging. Create a study routine for yourself (e.g. 2 hours on Monday and Wednesday nights) that will help you stay disciplined and on top of your study requirements. Your routine should match the study goals you want to achieve, both weekly and on a long-term basis.
Create a Study Space – You’re never going to get your study done on the couch!
Instead, create a study space for yourself that is free of distraction and that is purely used for studying. You might have an office or desk at home or you might choose to study in a local library or café.
Read Your Study Guide – Your study guide is where you will find all the information about your unit. Reading this before you begin studying will give you a better idea about what to expect and how to structure your study time.
Consult With Your Training Facilitator and/or Assessor – The secret to getting the most out of your Training Facilitator and/or Assessor is to communicate and interact with him/her as much as possible. If you are struggling with a particular topic or don’t understand the readings, contacting your assessor is recommended. Remember, your Training Facilitator and Assessor are there to help you learn – use them!
Manage Your Deadlines – Setting and managing deadlines well is crucial for any distance education student. Set deadlines for yourself to make sure that you complete all your course assignments well and on time. Find a way to manage your deadlines, such as by using a calendar, wall planner or online diary.
Participate in Group Discussions – Many distance courses hold online group forums or tutorials to complement learning. For some courses, tutorials can also be held on campus, once or twice per semester. Make an effort to participate in these discussions as much as possible. It’s a great way to boost your learning, share ideas and connect with others.
Get to Know Your Fellow Distance Education Students – Depending on your course, it may also be possible to swap communications with other distance education students outside of discussion groups (e.g. via email, Skype, phone). – This can be a wonderful way to make new friends and also chat confidentially about the unit, studying and/or distance learning in general. You might even find a study buddy!