Many people are taking up distance learning courses at the moment. They are a great way to enhance your career and get that promotion you have been dreaming about. Alternatively, distance learning can be a great way to find out more about a hobby or learn a new language. It may be a unique way of learning for you, especially if you are used to a more traditional school environment. Here are some top tips to help you get the best out of distance learning.
Decide What You Want to Study
This may seem like an obvious place to start but with so many different courses available it can be a daunting task to decide where to begin. You can study almost anything online. Personal interest courses are available for self-development. For professional advancement you could choose to undertake an MBA – Distance learning with Aston University can help you to develop your career from the comfort of your own home.
If you are studying for a promotion or work-related purposes, approach your HR department. They should be able to help you find the course that is right for you. Colleagues or managers may have undertaken the course too so they could provide you with a personal perspective that you will not find elsewhere.
Select the Right School
There may be more than one school that will offer you the course you want to study. Consider how much support you will be offered from each individual school and whether you will need to participate in online classrooms or work to your own schedule. Read the reviews and see what each school has to offer before making a decision and choose the one that sounds right for you.
Familiarise Yourself with Online Resources
Online resources should be offered for whichever course and school you have chosen. Get familiar with these from the beginning as this can save you a lot of time further on when you need to research or revise. If a lot of the information you need is available online, it can save you money as you may not need to buy as many books or study aids to complete your course. Knowing what is available to you online will enhance your distance learning experience.
Get the Right Equipment Before You Start
Make sure you have everything you need before you embark on a distance learning course. You will need a computer with a decent memory and speed. Most home computers will enable you to partake in distance learning but if you know this is going to be a struggle then it may be a good idea to upgrade before you start the course. Otherwise, you will find it frustrating and challenging.
Depending on the course you have chosen, there may be a reading list or textbooks you need to have access to. Get these before you start and be as prepared as possible. This will help you make the most of your distance learning opportunity.
Set a Schedule
Once you have enrolled on a course, set yourself a schedule and then stick to it. This will help you to stay focused and stay on track to finish your course within the timescale you have been set. This may be made easier for you if the course has set online classroom time. However, setting your own schedule is not as challenging as you think. Look at the course as a whole and then break it down into chunks to see which week or month you should be at each stage. Your tutor should be able to help you if you get stuck on this.
The challenging part may be sticking to the schedule, but if you have a timetable, it will be easier to slot study time into your week. Remember, if you fall behind it can be difficult to make the time up so try to stay on track and meet any deadlines that are set for coursework and study.
Keep in Touch
Your participation in online discussions with your peers may be a requirement of the course, so make sure you stay in touch online. Even if all your work is a self-study, communicating with your fellow students can be a great way to exchange ideas and study tips. If you are having issues with a particular topic then you are probably not the first and you do not need to be alone. Ask your peers how they overcame difficulties and support others when they ask. This can also be a great way to stay motivated.
It is important to keep in regular contact with your tutor. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, this is what they are there for. Your tutor may offer you a regular time slot to touch base with you and you will probably have to submit assignments or showcase your work regularly too.
Self-Care While Studying
It can be tempting to rush in full speed ahead while studying. This is especially true if you have just started and you are keen to get stuck in. Revision is another place where people tend to concentrate on their studies to the detriment of self-care. However, to get the best out of distance learning, you need to take care of your basic needs by doing the following:
Take regular breaks –
Schedule a ten-minute break per hour so you can get a coffee or walk around. This will help you to relax and stay motivated.
Eat properly –
It can be tempting to grab a snack on the go, especially around revision time. However, eating the right food is an important way to enhance your learning.
Get enough sleep –
Sleep is our brain’s way of repairing and digesting the information it has received during the day. Try not to stay up late studying. You may think that you will get more work done, but tiredness will reduce your brain’s capacity to take in information and hinder rather than help your learning.
Follow these top tips to get the best out of your distance learning experience.