Distance learning or online learning courses are so beneficial for those who need to build their study in around a job or other work/family/hobby commitments. Studying outside of a classroom environment also allows you to go over areas at your own pace and repeat topics you need to go over again. Distance learning courses also cut down on the amount of time and cost associated with travelling to a course.
However, it's not for everyone and if you're struggling to manage your study, then here are our top tips to succeed on your distance learning course.
1. Create a study space.
It's important you find a space in your home/workplace where you can fully focus on your study. Whether thats sat in the kitchen/dining room/office or on the sofa, ensure you set up your space before you start. Remove distractions and have everything ready and at hand that you need. Be flexible too. Sometimes a change of scenery does wonders for your focus and attention. Maybe every now and again, head down to the library to study instead. Go armed with drinks and snacks and everything you need.
2. Schedule your study time.
We are all very busy. If you don't schedule time to study, then quite frankly it's not going to happen. On a Friday or over the weekend, schedule the time that you are going to study during the following week. Don't be over-ambitious! Select small, realistic periods of time. There is ALWAYS going to be something else you either need or want to be doing, but stick to your schedule!
3. Know your workload.
For most courses that are studied via distance learning you will get informed on the 'guided learning hours' (GLH)' required for each unit. Knowing this will enable you to plan how much time you may need to spend studying each unit before completing its assessment. Now, the GLH is flexible, so if you have some prior knowledge of the subject, then you could find you'll only need to spend half the number of suggested hours on that unit. However, we would recommend that you aim for the full GLH, and then if you progress quicker, then great!
4. Take a break.
If you've scheduled more that 30 minutes of study in, then ensure you take a 5 minute break every 25 minutes. Your 5 minutes break should just be to grab a drink, stretch or have a quick walk. Don't get distracted by doing something else.
5. Get support.
Make family and friends aware of how important your study time is so you get their support and encouragement. Utilise study groups with fellow students, like our Facebook Study Support Group! Ask questions, find others studying the same course as you. You're not in this alone!
6. Use your tutor.
Often during distance learning courses, you feel like you don't want to disturb your tutor or maybe you think your question is silly. Firstly, no question is a stupid question. We all absorb and learn things differently, so if something is not clear to you, then speak up! This is what tutor's are for, to support and guide you through your course. Use them!
7. Avoid procrastinating over bigger tasks.
We all do it......We have a big task to do maybe something we don't enjoy doing and we put it off. However, the worst thing you can do is procrastinate over it and keep putting it off. Get those bigger, more ugly tasks done first!
8. Identify the best time of day.
We all have a time of day when we are most alert. You may be aware of your 'peak time' already, but if not, try studying at different times of day and make a note which times you felt like everything was sinking in a lot easier and what times you felt more motivated and focused. Try to schedule your study in at these times as much as you can.
9. Apply your knowledge in the real world.
We all learn differently and have our own methods of learning best, however a very effective way to ensure that you have absorbed new information is to get out there and apply it to the real world. For example, if you've just learnt about how muscles and joints work, then when you're next in the gym and think about how your muscles are working during your workout. How are they contracting? Concentrically or eccentrically? What muscles are working? What joints actions are your performing etc.?
Maybe you've just learnt about the teaching and coaching points of a variety of free weight exercises.... Ask a family member or friends to go to the gym with you and ask if you can practice teaching them these exercises. You see how actually 'doing' it, will help it all sink in more effectively?
We hope you find these tips on how to success on a distance learning course useful!