Studying online is a fantastic way to educate yourself and begin a journey towards a new career or increase your knowledge in your current field. It offers many advantages over traditional learning.
The biggest advantage of online studying is flexibility. You can study in your own time, at your own pace, from anywhere you like—your home, a café, the local library, a park on a sunny day. With courses being hosted on the internet, your choice of educational provider is vastly increased. Even the top universities in the world are providing online courses these days. You can quite literally study a course from Stanford University whilst eating breakfast in bed.
With all this choice, you can study something you love and fit it around your current lifestyle. Have young children? Study at home when they’re napping or at kindergarten. Have a full time job but want to move in a different direction? Study on your lunch break, your commute and in the evening and at weekends.
However, with all this flexibility, it also makes it easy to skip lessons or “take your time”, as there is rarely anyone to truly hold you accountable. It’s all on you. Although, here at the AFA we do encourage our students to get through the course and contact them when we feel they’re falling behind.
Regardless, it is important to be mentally engaged and create a structure to the way you study. Commit to that and you will succeed.
Without further ado, here are my top 10 tips to ensure you study online for success.
- Choose the best online program available
Before you even start studying, make sure you do some research into which providers are the best. Ask them questions about their platform and support. You want a program that has numerous ways to learn: downloadable videos, podcasts, reading material, presentations, lecture slides etc.
- Build yourself a good study schedule
By having some sort of schedule to commit to, you’ll find it easy to plan your life. Knowing when you need to study helps you plan social events or work commitments without disrupting your study too much. For example, if you know that every Tuesday and Thursday nights are reserved for studying, you won’t organise to meet a friend on those days. It’s importatn to be quite strict with yourself, but likewise, don’t make your life miserable by being too strict. A good balance is key.
- Give yourself deadlines, if there aren’t already some
By setting yourself goals and deadlines, you will ensure you have something to aim for. If you set your deadlines too far away, you’ll likely leave the work until the last minute to complete it. Parkinson’s Law dictates that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”, so the longer you give yourself, the longer it will take to complete.
One way to set realistic goals, is to split the course up over the duration you hope to complete it by. If there are 12 topics and you want to complete the course within 6 months, set a deadline to complete 2 topics per month.
- Create a suitable study space
The beauty of online study is that you can take your laptop anyway to study. Choose a location that will help you form good studying habits and get in the zone. Whether you choose to study from a bedroom desk, your dining room, a local café, a park or the library, choose somewhere that will allow you to concentrate—sitting in front of the TV is often not a good choice. A good study space can do wonders for motivation and helping you to get in the zone.
- Ask your provider questions when they arise
If you’ve chosen a good educational provider, you’ll be able to ask them questions and get a response back in a reasonable time. If you have questions that you can’t figure out for yourself, don’t be afraid to seek help. This can help navigate your way around any frustration you might be having if there was no help at hand. That said, I’d always recommend trying to work something out for yourself first, as it’ll be better for you in the long run and will likely be the quicker option. Google is a very handy tool.
- Take advantage of any online student forums
Your educational provider will hopefully have online forums within their platform or a Facebook study group that you can ask questions and have other students give you answers (we have both here at the AFA). This isn’t an area for cheating, but can be a great place to help you work out the answers for yourself with a nudge in the right direction from your peers.
- Learn in your own way
Understanding how you best learn and retain information is key to studying online. In fact it’s key to learning in any format, however in a face to face environment you are expected to learn in the same way as everyone else in the class. This is a great advantage that online learning has. There are lots of ways to learn: listening, watching, reading and actively doing something. We offer all these ways to learn, which will assist your individual learning style. Try all the methods available to see what works best for you.
- Maintain your inspiration and motivation
Try to keep in mind why you decided to study what you’re studying in the first place and understand what the final outcome will be. Then, if at any time you can’t be bothered to study or think you want to quit, just think back to your goal and reasons for studying, and you’ll hopefully find the motivation return.
- Aim to learn the information not just pass the tests
With online study, it can be easy to skim through the information and do the bare minimum to pass the assessments. This might get you qualified but it won’t make you employable. Employers want to be confident that you know your stuff. Therefore, ensure that you are actually learning the information provided, and try to do as much of the assessments without simply Googling everything or copying a mate. Assessors can tell if it’s copied from the internet and can also run your assessments through plagiarism platforms to see if you’ve stolen your answer from somewhere or someone else.
- Connect with other students and have fun
Part of studying is connecting with likeminded people. Everyone is clearly interested in the subject to some extent, regardless of their reasons for studying, so you can find people to chat to and help encourage each other. There is a good chance you’ll make some solid friendships that will also help you when you all enter the industry as qualified graduates.
If you’re looking for a great online fitness course, then look no further. We have a great online platform to help you get through your course packed full of information in many diferent forms: from podcasts to video presentations, video lectures to text books and much more. We have a full staff of student support lecturers at hand and even a mobile app available on Android and Apple to help you learn on the move. If you’d like to know more, call us on 1300 232 342 or fill in our enquiry form and one of our career advisors will call you.