Online Study Tips

5 Online Study Tips

Studying is not everyone’s favourite pastime but it is a necessary part of life, especially when someone is pursuing a University level degree. Challenging on its own, it can be more so when it’s an Online Learning or Distance Education course. This article outlines 5 Online Study Tips that can help students focus on completing their online degree or online course.


Online Study Tip #1: Set Daily or Weekly Study Goals

Starting a new course can often feel overwhelming but as with any major project, the best way to manage it is to break it up into milestones and smaller tasks. A University degree course is made of of several modules, and each of these modules have Learning Outcomes or Learning Objectives that the module aims to teach a student. These are a great starting point to building study goals, as students can mirror the final objectives for each module. Once this is done, it’s important to break it up even further by setting daily or weekly study tasks that are achievable, ensuring that students do not need to rush through or cram just before assignments are due. In addition, it also helps build studying as a daily habit.


Online Study Tip #2: Create a Study Calendar

One of the challenges with Online Learning and Distance Education is that the ownership on remembering and meeting deadlines falls to the student. While important dates and deadlines are listed on the Virtual Learning Environment, it is very rare that reminders are sent. Creating a study calendar that lists all assignment deadlines, quiz dates, etc., with pre-set reminders before the due date ensures that students stay on top of their assignments, and start them well in advance. It also helps students to better balance between study, work commitments, personal commitments and vacation days.


Online Study Tip #3 Take Study Breaks

Studying can be mentally taxing, especially if it’s done at the last minute or a student is trying to catch-up on missed milestones. Pushing through or trying to study when feeling frustrated or tired is counterproductive as it decreases retention and overall performance. Building in short study breaks into the Study Calendar, or taking 10 minute breaks when tired is an important way to recharge the brain and the body. The best type of break involves some sort of physical activity such as a stroll or walk away from the ‘study area’. This distance helps reinforce the ‘break’ and rejuvenates the mind to go back to studying.


Online Study Tip #4: Write Notes, Don’t Type Them

Research has shown that physically writing something down helps the information to be recalled a lot better than if it’s typed on a screen. Writing ‘encodes’ information differently compared to typing on a computer, creating richer memory, thus making recall easier. When watching online videos and online lectures, have a notebook and take frequent notes about key points and theories. This notebook can then later act as a study guide, proving useful when planning out what to include in an assignment.


Online Study Tip #5: Ask for Help When Need

A common misconception with Online Learning and Distance Education is that there is no support from tutors when students have doubts or questions, which would normally be asked in class. With Online degree courses, students can still ask for help when they need it by contacting their tutor through the VLE, by Skype or by email. It’s important to clarify points and concepts when studying, to prevent the wrong theories and ideas from implanting. Talking to peers online, using the online forums and discussing ideas in online groups can foster discourse and opens up a student to new perspectives that will help them in their studies.

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