If quality options are the hallmark of a healthy marketplace, then online learning has made the higher education market healthier than ever. No longer constricted by geography, successful online students can earn their degree in a flexible format that fits into their busy professional and personal schedules.
Adult learners especially benefit from online programs that allow them to hold down a job while earning their college degree. However, while they enjoy more online degree program options than ever, adult learners also must develop specific, strong characteristics to get the most from those programs.
Fortunately, any student can learn these characteristics and become a successful online student. It’s a matter of knowing what skills they need and focusing on developing them.
Tips for Online Learning Success
All the traits that lead to students excelling in a traditional classroom also apply to online courses. That includes an ability to focus, attention to detail, taking good notes, setting aside consistent time for homework and study, asking questions, and not missing class.
But in an online environment, certain factors play a larger role than others. They include the following.
Become a Self-Motivator
Motivation ranks among the most critical components of online learning, primarily because it mostly falls on the student. Without the need to be in a classroom, some find it difficult to get motivated to do their work. This is an area where each person must find what motivates them most as an individual. Students do well to remember their goal for higher education and focus on that goal whenever it seems motivation is slipping away.
Start with Organization
Organization can help with motivation because it makes schoolwork a part of the daily routine. Organization starts by setting up a space dedicated completely to schoolwork. Have everything needed for the class well within reach, including notebooks, pens and pencils, and open space for a laptop. Make sure everyone in the house knows that when you are in this space, you are working on school and not to be disturbed.
Also, before the first day of class, develop a realistic schedule that fits around other responsibilities. Rather than jumping in and working it out along the way, have everything organized ahead of time. That includes time marked out each day for whatever your class requires (reading, study, watching lectures, contacting professors and other students, homework, etc.). While the schedule may need adjusting, it’s good to start with one already in place.
Practice Proactive Communication
Proactive communication is a necessity for successful online students. Two students interviewed by U.S. World and News Report listed communication as a key factor when taking courses online. One student noted that it took time to get used to contacting professors through email only.
That’s a typical situation. Because they will not have in-person contact, online students need to hone their effective communication skills. They also need to proactively contact professors at the first sign of confusion with an assignment or difficulty in grasping a topic. With various communication channels at their disposal, students can quickly find the one that works best for them.
Develop Strong Time Management
Anyone who works remotely knows discipline is needed to stay on task. That discipline includes an awareness of time and a better understanding of what you can do with it. The key here, especially for working adults, is staying realistic about time. For example, don’t set aside 30 minutes for something that really takes an hour to do well. A great way to start with time management is to spend the first week of class writing down exactly how you spend your time throughout the day. It can be an eyeopener. It also can lead to a better, more time-managed schedule.
Learn Basic Technical Skills
If you haven’t used video conferencing, messaging, texting or video, take the time to understand how these technology tools work. They will form the foundation of your online education and allow you to communicate with both classmates and professors.
How TUW’s Online Format Supports Students
Touro University Worldwide ranked among the first universities to offer students the convenience of online learning. Over the years, the school has refined its approach to educating adults through distance learning.
Part of the school’s success involves the options TUW gives students. This includes eight-week accelerated courses allowing adult learners to concentrate on one class at a time and complete the program faster.
TUW also includes e-books, supportive background material and more in the price of admission (except the book in the Marriage and Family Therapy program). Another important factor is the faculty. TUW focuses on hiring faculty members who are dedicated to developing strong communication with students in a virtual environment, along with having subject matter expertise and professional experience in their field.
For adult learners who can develop the characteristics of a successful online student, the many online degree programs offered by TUW provide them an important step on their journey to attaining their career goals.