Online learning is an educational trend that offers many benefits. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, there were 5,954,121 Americans enrolled in postsecondary distance education courses for the fall 2015 semester. The overwhelming majority of that number took advantage of online learning portals to complete their studies.
What do official sources say about online learning? How can students get the most out of their online education? What techniques can they use to stay on track and reach their goals?
Media Observations About Online Learning
With so many people taking advantage of internet-based education, the media is starting to take notice. Here are some articles that explore the benefits of online education and student experiences.
- From California State University at San Bernardino, Anna Ya Ni explores the similarities and differences between online and traditional learning in a paper entitled “Comparing the Effectiveness of Classroom and Online Learning: Teaching Research Methods”. In this work, researchers discovered that some online learners earn higher grades throughout the academic year than their peers in traditional classroom settings do.
- Published by the United States Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences, a report entitled “Changing Course: Ten Years of Tracking Online Education in the United States” is a thorough examination of the nature of online education. Data collected from academic officers is compiled and interpreted to provide essential insights into the benefits and potential drawbacks of online distance learning.
- Online learning is fundamentally different from traditional classroom instruction.” Critical Success Factors in Online Education”, an article by Professor Thierry Volery of Emlyon Business School in Lyon, France, is an examination of the importance of technology, good instructors, and previous technological experience in successful online education.
These resources prove that online learning is more than just a fad. Internet-based instruction is quickly becoming an important way to gain knowledge and skills for many American students.
Getting the Most Out of Your Online Education
Though students learn just as much from online classes as they do in traditional setups, there are some differences that can make meaningful learning difficult. Use these tips to make your online learning experience more rewarding.
- Set a study schedule. Lack of self-discipline is one of the biggest enemies of success in an online setting. During your scheduled study hours, resist the urge to check your email, social media pages, or other sites that aren’t directly related to your studies.
- Set goals. With many online classes, you are in control of your own learning pace. Make a plan to get through all of the material in the allotted time. This could mean working through several lessons each week or one every day. It’s okay to get ahead of schedule but try not to fall behind, as you could find it difficult to catch up again.
- Check your internet connection. A weak internet connection can lead to lost work, un-submitted assignments, and frustration with slow-loading links and lessons. If your home internet isn’t fast enough, consider working at your local library or coffee shop.
- Find helpful resources before you need them. At some point, you’re probably going to need some help with your studies. Your online classroom will probably have a chatroom or message board where you can ask questions and connect with other students for group studies. If you need more assistance, don’t hesitate to send an email to your instructor or school counselor.
- Use the online chat options. Online learning doesn’t have to be a solo experience. Connect with fellow students to share information, experiences, and resources.
Practice self-discipline and reach out to others to make the most of your online education.
Habits That Set You Up for Online Learning Success
- Use a calendar to keep track of your goals.
- Create a study area where you can avoid distractions.
- Get plenty of rest, water, and eat healthy to ensure your brain is ready to absorb the presented information.
- Reward yourself for finishing long or difficult assignments, exceeding your goals, or just to keep yourself motivated.
- Schedule breaks during your study time to keep your mind sharp.
Another way to stay motivated throughout your online studies is with a career map. Create a document that outlines your career goals. Include the dates by which you would like to accomplish these goals. Review the document frequently to keep yourself focused on the end results.
Source: ECPI University