12 Tips to Succeed in an Online Course

So you’ve decided to take an online course. For some, that can seem like a pretty daunting experience, especially if you are used to a more traditional classroom experience. Online learning has so many great benefits that we don’t want you to miss out. We put together 12 great tips to help you succeed in your next online course. With a little planning, you can make your next online course a positive and rewarding experience.

1. Start Out With the Right Attitude
Online schooling is a fairly new concept, and it’s easy to fall into the trap that self-paced online courses are easier than traditional courses. This simply isn’t true, and you are doing yourself a disservice if you go into learning with that attitude. Students who take this approach often perform poorly and fall behind. Don’t let that happen to you! Go into your online courses with a positive attitude and give them the same respect you would any traditional course.

2. Set Up an Effective Study Environment
The great thing about online learning is that it allows you to learn and study from anywhere. Unfortunately, that’s also one of its biggest drawbacks. It’s important to set up a study space for yourself that allows you the type of environment you need to be successful. For some that may mean a place where you can get peace and quiet. For others, that may mean somewhere where you can listen to music while you work. By setting up a space that is specifically for studying, you train your brain to be ready to work when you enter that space.

3. Eliminate Distractions
We’ve all been there. You sit down to study, pretty soon you’ve binged seven episodes of The Office on Netflix and have spent the last hour browsing your social media channel of choice. We recommend putting away all distracting devices, and if needed, download one of the many anti-distraction apps available. You can find some recommendations here.

4. Utilize All Available Resources
Figure out early on in the course what resources are available, and use those to your advantage. Most online courses provide a variety of extra learning resources and material and often come with opportunities for tutoring or study groups. Don’t let these go to waste!

5. Stay Organized
It’s just as important to stay organized in an online course as it is in a traditional course. Make sure all papers, notes, and tests are kept in organized folders so you can easily find what you’re looking for.

6. Ask Questions/ Seek Help When Needed
Just because you are taking an online course doesn’t mean you are working within a vacuum. It’s important if you have questions or are struggling with a topic to reach out. This means asking questions as soon as you have them. The last thing you want to do is try to convince yourself that you’ll eventually figure it out and fall further and further behind.

7. Take Notes
Write down important points just like you would in a traditional classroom setting. This will make it easier to remember important information, and you can even use those notes to make flashcards for studying.

8. Manage Your Time Wisely
With self-paced online courses, it’s easy to put off your studies. Life is busy and one of the first things to go is usually time to study. However, even with online courses, you still have to study. It’s important to make studying a priority in your daily schedule.

9. Make a Study Plan
While this is part of managing your time wisely, it deserves its own note. Making a study plan is one of the easiest ways to make sure you don’t get behind. Treat studying like your job and get into a routine. Then, make sure to stick to it!

10. Put Your Goals in Writing
Why are you taking this course to begin with? Odds are, it’s a piece you need to complete a larger goal. Put those larger goals in writing and refer back to them any time you just don’t feel like studying, or any time you get frustrated. This will remind you of why you’re doing what you’re doing and will help to give you the motivation you need.

11. Proofread Everything You Submit
The last thing you want to do is end up getting marks taken off papers, essays, and tests because of spelling and grammar mistakes. Make sure to proofread everything.

12. Take Breaks
Last, but certainly not least, don’t forget to take breaks. Take frequent, short breaks. Your mind stops retaining information as well if you spend too long in front of a computer screen. Take small periodic breaks to stretch, get a drink, or get a snack.

If you are interested in taking your very first online course, visit our courses page to see what we have to offer.

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