tips for taking an online course

10 Study Tips for Successfully Taking an Online Course

Would you like to take your online course successfully?

Studying for an online course has its challenges, and many of them trace back to non-ideal study habits or environments.  

Poor study habits can lead to an online course taking a lot longer than it should. It could be the case that you may not be able to derive the full value and benefits of your online course if you aren’t familiar with how to study for it the right way. 

In fact, MIT finds that poor online course study habits are a huge problem for e-learning today.

The university established that this is among the core reasons why over 90% of online learners end up quitting.  However, with the right study habits, you can easily manage online courses for better learning. 

In this article, I’ll be sharing with you vital study tips for successfully taking an online course so you can quickly achieve your learning goals.

Let’s get started. 

1. Create Your Conducive Study Space

Is a distracting learning environment getting in the way?

A negative study environment may be the reason behind you not completing your course in time, going by a study by the Research Alliance of NYC schools. 

It finds that 25% of teacher turnover results from poor student performance due to bad learning environments. Therefore, designating a conducive study area is among the vital tips for taking an online course.   

Lighting is among the important factors to prioritize. An area with adequate natural light can work wonders and reduce eye strain and fatigue. If that’s not an option, a desk lamp is also a great choice.

Additionally, you’ll also want to get your ergonomics right. 

Ergonomics entails getting a comfortable study desk, including noise-canceling headphones if you can’t find a quiet environment. 

2. Make and Observe Your Study Calendar 

Do you have your study calendar set up? 

If not, you’ll find it hard to get any studying done. 

Approximately 60% of students polled in an e-learning survey confess to studying only a month to examinations. The lack of a definitive timetable came up as one of the reasons behind this last-minute habit. 

Therefore having a study calendar is the best way to take an online course. 

You could split up your routine depending on duration and concepts. For instance, if you’d like to take a cyber security course, you’ll find that many of these course descriptions are broken down into a certain order of subtopics.

Each of these could fit into an allocated timeslot. 

Depending on the length of the particular topic, you could also split up one subtopic into various parts to suit your availability.  

3. Get a Hold of Your Distractions

Learning online is full of distractions. 

Among your biggest interrupters are smartphones. 

A study on mobile usage habits among college students found that over 9 in 10 students use laptops and phones in class for non-study purposes such as social media and texting.

The key to successfully taking offline classes offline is limiting distractions.

Keeping your phone aways or in silent mode during your study sessions is an excellent idea to avoid online distractions. Alternatively, you could also power off unneeded devices to prevent call distractions. 

For your studying device, it’s helpful to turn off any pop-up notifications you might have from websites.

Generally, after every study session, taking note of what got in the way is among excellent study tips for online classes improvement. 

4. Learn the Prerequisites in Advance

Is there anything you need to learn prior to the course?

Plenty of students struggle with online course studying because they begin the learning process midway. Classes will be a lot harder to grasp if you don’t first take the time to brush up on your knowledge gaps. 

So conducting research is among the important tips for taking online classes.

For instance, some of these SQL courses work off an assumption of Python programming and libraries such as NumPy. 

In this case, you’ll want to take some time prior to learning python or, more conveniently, take a beginner’s SQL class first to get you up to speed. Other times, you may simply need to get reacquainted with high school Math. 

5. Set Your Goals for the Course

Why are you taking the online course?

Without setting your objectives, you won’t be able to track your progress. Goals also keep you inspired and their absence can mean a lack of motivation for your online studying.

Harvard establishes you are 10 times more likely to be successful if you set early goals, making goal-setting one of the most important study tips for online courses

So be sure to write down your goals, which should be

  • Measurable. 
  • Realistic.
  • Time-bound.

For example, say you’re taking an artificial intelligence course to build an AI model for a self-driving car. 

You could split up your goals depending on the various coding aspects involved and set a deadline on when you will be able to create your first prototype. 

6. Ensure You Have Reliable Internet

Poor internet connections are derailing online classes.

According to a survey by the Office for Students, 52% of learners blame unstable internet services for a poor online learning experience. These constant interruptions result in a lot of wasted time and may not be the best way to take online classes. 

Luckily, you can remedy bad internet with simple technological fixes.

If you’re using a wireless home network, disconnecting resource-sharing devices can amp up your internet speeds. Alternatively, you could go for a more reliable WiFi network at reputable public places such as coffee shops. 

In case you’re already accustomed to your home study space, you should also consider a wired internet connection or switching your ISP altogether. 

7. Request Assistance from Your Instructor

Getting stuck is quite normal when taking an online course.

When you put off concepts you don’t understand in the hopes of things getting clearer with time, this uncertainty will get in the way of other course content that builds on earlier teachings. 

Asking for help when you hit a dead-end is among the valuable study tips for online classes.

Getting a course with excellent and timely support should be a priority to ensure you can access your instructor for additional queries. 

As great examples for you to consider, many of these AWS courses have excellent trainer support should you need it, which will make your online study a lot easier.

Additionally, many of them have past Q&A sessions addressing common course challenges. 

8. Schedule Timely Breaks to Refresh

Does your study calendar include breaks? 

If not, then you may only be quickly running down the minutes of your video class, but your learning won’t be at maximum effectiveness. Important details will slip your attention, which is why breaks are among crucial study tips for online courses.  

With well-timed study breaks, you can improve your online learning. 

The University of Illinois has established the importance of breaks among the tips for taking online classes. Via study, it discovered that even a simple 5-minute break every hour can have tremendous benefits for your concentration and retention abilities.

During these breaks, I recommend some light physical activity like stretching. Moreover, you should take a few minutes to rest after getting off work before studying. 

9. Be Consistent with Your learning

Discipline is vital for successfully taking offline classes offline. 

If you let days pass in between lessons, that will mean going back to the drawing board to relearn previously mastered concepts before you can move forward. 

Specifically, research shows that you may forget up to 75% of what you’ve learned on the sixth day after training. 

So when you’re drafting your study calendar, be sure to factor in at least two study sessions a week. 

If other commitments make it difficult to do so, scheduling a few minutes of relearning is one of the most important tips for taking an online course. This way, you’ll be ready to go when you’d like to move forward.

10. Prioritize a Hands-on Learning Approach

Practice makes perfect. 

Often, concepts will seem straightforward when your online instructor is taking you through them. However, when push comes to shove and you need to put theory into practice, you’ll consistently hit a roadblock if you’re often just a passive listener.

Studies show that learning is 10 times more effective with regular hands on practice.

As a result, prioritize an activity-based learning approach to your online course. 

Fortunately, many of the courses herein give you the chance to learn by doing. 

These R programming courses, for example, include plenty of opportunities to work with actual statistical models and create your own code instead of only relying on pre-made code templates. 

That said, remember being an active learner is the best way to take an online course. 

Conclusion

Let’s face it.

Taking an online course has its fair share of challenges. 

Responsibilities may get in the way, leading you to push forward study sessions while the lack of a proper study area and calendar may not be the best way to take online classes. 

Factor in these crucial study tips for successfully taking an online course, such as study calendars and distraction elimination, to ensure you get full ROI on your educational investment. 

If unsure of what to learn, why don’t you give these computer science courses a try?

These online classes cover MATLAB, convolutional neural networks, Google Cloud, and basically everything else you need to be the computer science guru that top companies are desperate to have. 

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