One of a country’s important investments to give to its people is education. Education in general can raise income, improve health and reducing poverty. Educated people have a good future. Parents invest good education for their children, giving them high education in making sure their children will have good future with good job and high income. Unfortunately, not many people have the opportunity to get high education and this doesn’t stop them to pursue their studies while they are working.
Many employers now require a degree, or at least a diploma level of education, this are the reason more working adults and even young people choose to pursue for high education. Motivated either for career advancement or personal development, many choose to pursue their high education with distance learning and online education, instead of the traditional way of learning. This because working adults can still keep their job while learning and obtain their diploma or degree at the same time.
A research by done by Richards College of Business, advances in information technology (IT) are enabling little used educational delivery methods such as distance learning to gain new life. In addition, the advances in IT have ushered a new paradigm, on-line learning. The result is that many institutions of higher learning have adopted distance and online education as the next logical step in educational delivery systems. (John O’Malley)
The Online Learning Environment
Online learning has popular among adult learners and in continuing pursuit of their education goals. The flexible of time makes it possible for them to keep their current jobs and complete their education at the same time. Online learning environment gives learners the convenience of working from home, take care of the family or work from the office.
The methods and tools used for online learning is the virtual classroom, email, discussion forums and chat rooms are the communication tools use to facilitate interaction among learners, tutors and facilitators. The concept of the independent, place-bound, adult, self-motivated, disciplined self-starter and goal-oriented learner are the characteristic of the classic distance education learner.
Online learning is simple and flexible. Time and location has always a problem for anyone and also to me but online learning make it possible to get information, feedback and discussion regarding your studies online.
Attributes to be Successful in Online Learning Environment
As an online learner you need to understand the concept of online learning so that it is easier for you to set your own goal. You are expected to study independently on your own or via group-learning methodologies. Here are some of the important study habits and personality traits of successful online students;
Computer and basic IT skills
The most important tools, online student need to have a computer or a laptop and know how to operate it. The computer must have an internet access and you need to know how to surf the internet because the communication tools and e-learning materials are delivered through the internet. Electronic communication tools such as email, discussion forums and chat rooms are provided to facilitate interaction among learners, tutors and facilitators. Information and learning materials such as e-book and multimedia are continuously being developed to enhance the learning outcomes. Knowledge of information technology (IT) is a must know and must learn in order to be successful in online learning environment.
Learning Strategy using the Information Technology (IT)
To be successful in online learning, you need to know how to operate a computer and access to internet because you need to be actively involved in your portal learning environment. There are number of tools and menus that can help you enhance your learning. You can do your self-assessment, this will allow you test yourself as many times as you wish at your own pace, comfort and time. Course content and recent assignment can be accessed as your reference.
You are encouraged to participate in the online discussion forum which allows you to interact, communicate and learn from your tutor and peers anytime and anywhere. It is good to contribute your ideas, and by giving and read comments from others, you will gain great insight from your peers and they can learn from you as well. There are so many resources and information available. It is important to visit the e-library, you can search for important document for reference and retrieve or download necessary references you need.
It is always good to log in to your learning class, have a good understanding of each syllabus or topic and you can ask questions to your tutor online. You start to do the test to see how much you understand the topics.
Good Time Management
To be successful in an online learning environment are never easy, you become an independent learner and have to be smart in managing time. As you are working, you need to juggle your time with work, family and study. A good time management will help you in your duty at work, your responsibility at home and your study.
Strategy in planning ahead and managing time
Online learner has to be very proactive in their studies and full responsible for their own learning. You need to plan ahead and prioritize your tasks according to urgent and less important. Avoid time-wasting and unproductive activities because this will disrupt your plan. You need to schedule your study time, deadline for you assignment and date of your examination. Discipline is important in maintaining your own time management.
Time management is about managing your life, having a balance life, not only between family, work and study but also having a time for yourself. Learn to set your priorities, it is important in order to take charge of your situation and to achieve your goals. If you are married with children, you need to make sure you have priorities with your family but if you need to complete your assignment and study for your exam, you change your priorities at that certain time. Plan a schedule for yourself, analyze when is the best time for you to study and how long do you need to study in a day. You can do schedule for a week, month or a semester.
It is important not to procrastinate, as much as having fun is good, you have to make sure you do what you need to do first. For example if you have an assignment to do, don’t wait until its near dateline to do research and write your assignment. Last minute projects can be a disaster and this can lead you to lots of stress. Procrastinating can be a very bad behavior and it is also self-sabotage, because you know that you can do better than what you did.
Create your own dateline before the real dateline. For example if the dateline for the assignment is 16 November 2013, you create your own dateline on the 1st November 2013, by doing this you will have time to show it to your tutor and make necessary amendments should there is necessary changes to be done.
Self-Motivated and discipline
Online learner is considered independent learner, it is not easy and need to be self-motivated. Remember why you pursue your study, for career advancement or learning new skills, this will keep you motivated. Look for something that can motivate you, maybe by looking at yourself graduated surrounded by family and friends will make you study more. You need to be aware of your own personal goal in order to get motivated. Believe in yourself, search for your strengths when facing difficult times.
Discipline is important for online learner as nobody will ask you to study, nobody forced you to go to library or log in your virtual classroom, self-discipline can help learner doing in making sure task done according to schedule.
Motivation strategies for successful learning
Setting a challenging but realistic goals will motivate you to attain. Once you attained your goals, you can reward yourself for good jobs done. Believe in yourself and maintain a positive attitude. Focus on your strengths to push yourself a bit harder to meet your goal or set other goals with a little more challenging. Use active learning strategies instead of passive learning. Take initiative to learn and seek out resources by going to the library, surfing the website, talking to your tutors and having face-to-face or online discussions with peers. Having a group discussion is good, take quiz together and find an interesting way to make learning fun, for example those who have less marks have to buy others drinks and this way can motivate your friends to learn more and want to improve.
Have you ever wanted something so badly, like a handbag or shoes? Motivate yourself by using rewards, for example if you could finish three topics do the test, if you got it all correct, you can buy a new pair of shoes. For those with family, you can also give rewards to all, for instance, if they can help you create good learning environment and at the same time your goal to get your test all correct, your family can go for a trip to an island. You have to be creative in managing your learning and life as well.
Understand your Learning Skills
Understand your learning skills, every individual have they own learning preferences. Analyze what type of learner you are, visual, auditory or kinesthetic, you can search in the internet and try do quiz on what type of learner you are. What kind of environment would you be able to study, quite place, in the library or a space at home. What is the easiest way for you to understand what you learn, in a study group, and how do you take notes. Understanding you learning skills is the important attributes in your success as online learner.
It is important to have a learning strategies and important to understand your learning skills. You need to identify what causes poor concentration as this will gives problem in learning, when you find the causes of poor concentration you can find ways to overcome their problems. You can find a space suitable for your study area. Securing a good location for your study area where there is no distractions.
There are three basic type of learning style, by discovering your learning style you will be able to improve your learning. If you are not sure of what type you are, you can try this link http://sunburst.usd.edu/~bwjames/tut/learning-style/. Once you understand your learning style, you can practice and apply it in on your study. Note taking and how you study can help you strive better.
Always keep your notes or book in your handbag. You can always have time to read and think, anywhere, anytime. During your lunch time or any free time, squeeze a little time for study. Try to reflect what you learn with what you see or observe in real life, this will make it easier for you to understand.
Strategy for Managing Stress
Stress can be good and bad, good stress can help you push yourself to the limit but too much stress can kill you. Here are a few strategies that can help you manage your stress;
a) Be aware of yourself – be aware of distress signals such as insomnia, headaches, anxiety, lack of concentration. These probably sign of stress, aware of your own body and any changes.
b) Eat good food –good food is not fast food or oily and sweet foods. Good food are foods contains nutrition, calcium and any sort of vitamins that can help you boost your energy. Vegetables and fruits are part of good food.
c) Exercise – Start with walking and slowly you can start jogging. You can even do a workout at home, aerobics, dance or yoga. Exercise gives oxygen to your body.
d) Relax – Learn to relax, you can relax with a simple meditation. Just sit down, close your eyes, breath properly and imagine wonderful things that you have in your life. Count your blessings and always have the attitude of gratitude. Create your mind with wonderful visualization this will train your subconscious mind of success.
e) Be positive – Learn to be positive even in difficult time. If your results are not good enough, never give up. Be positive and learn to improve. Have a positive affirmation, everyday remind yourself how great you are, keep your mind with wonderful words of wisdom, words of encouragement and faith in yourself.
f) Speak up and learn to listen – There are times you will get stress, learn to talk to people you trust, friends or family to get opinion or suggestion. You also need to listen, especially if you have children, if you feel you are stress, they probably do too. The only way to know is to ask them personally, ask them how they feel and give them attention.
Good communication skills
In the online learning environment, virtual classroom are used to interact and most communication are written communication. It is important for learner to interact and join the forum. Communicate with peers and ask questions to tutors. You will get information by join the forum for discussion with peers and tutors. Good written communication will make it easier for others to understand you. While in the forum or any other discussion, it is important to be polite because you are dealing with real people on the other end of the internet.
Online learning may sound interesting, it even sound easy and simple. Although it has a flexible time for working students to study and keep their job at the same time, it can be a challenging too. The online learning environment requires basic skill of computer and understanding of information technology (IT).
It is important for students to have good discipline and good time management skill. Setting strategy, dedication and discipline will help you to be successful in online learning environment