There’s no question; earning a certificate or college degree online has its benefits over attending a traditional brick-and-mortar institution. Not only does it allow you to keep a flexible schedule (which is great for students who will be working while taking classes), it can also save you money. However, just as there are cons to traveling to a college campus to go to school, there are also a few cons to the e-learning method.
If you’ve ever had the opportunity to work from home, you know that it can sometimes be difficult to stay on task, and the same is true for taking classes online at home. There are many distractions and no one to tell you to get back to work, and this can be detrimental to your studies. At the same time, working and studying from home can also become boring, if you don’t allow yourself time to get out and socialize with friends and family.
To stay focused and keep things fresh, use the following advice:
- Create a schedule: By creating a “class schedule,” you will add an element of discipline and order into your studies. To come up with this schedule, think of the time of day that is most open for your studies and plug each class into this time, giving yourself at least one hour per class every day for reading and homework assignments. Your motivation to “attend class on time” will help keep you focused and on top of your school work.
- Designate a study spot: Find a place in your home that can be blocked off from everything else. Ideally, this space should be quiet and separate from social activity and television. Organize your notes and other school supplies for easy access and efficiency. Ask your family or roommates to respect your study time by staying as quiet as possible while you focus on your work.
- Forget about social media: It is absolutely essential to ignore your social media accounts and other un-related websites while you study. This will take a lot of self-discipline, but remind yourself that you will complete your work sooner by staying on task and saving social media for later.
- Find alternative study spots: Sometimes, you will just get tired of studying at home. To break up the repetition, search your town for other low-key, quiet places to study. Remember, you will need to have a laptop for this, and the places you choose will need to have free internet access. Coffee shops, libraries and community centers are some of the best options. If you are interested in studying outdoors in a park, consider purchasing a wireless internet card.
- Go for a walk: If you are having a hard time focusing, try going for a walk around your neighborhood to clear your mind and give your eyes a rest from the computer screen. Getting fresh air is helpful for anyone who is working on a project or learning a new concept, no matter what the situation.
- Save the weekends for fun: If you are adamant about your “weekday class schedule,” you should be able to keep your weekends as free as possible for family time and fun. Plan a delicious family dinner, watch a movie or find an outdoor activity that you enjoy. When you save as much weekend time as possible for stress-free activities, you give your body and mind the break it needs to power up for the week ahead; something that is very important for students.
Even though e-learning is about schedule flexibility, the key to success is still making sure you create a schedule for yourself that can be easily executed and maintained. Self-discipline and awareness will keep you on your toes, allowing you to complete every task quickly and still have time for a break from the monotony.
Patricia Garza has been writing articles on education methods, accredited online schools and how to find the right college for at least a decade. In this time, she has seen the great changes taking place in schools and universities all across the globe and continues to see the value of earning a college degree. Patricia welcomes your comments and questions below!