10 Tips for Distance Learning Success
Starting a distance learning course can be daunting, especially since in many cases students haven’t done any formal education for many years.
With this in mind, we’ve put together some useful tips to help you get the most out of your studies, keep motivated and on track with your course and achieve the qualification you need.
Get to know your course materials…
Your course materials and textbooks are designed to give you the basic knowledge and information you need to get through the course, so make sure you’re familiar with them. If your textbooks are still in their wrappers, it’s time to get reading…
…but don’t stick to them exclusively
Reading around your chosen subject will give you a greater breadth and depth of knowledge, so extra reading and research can really help your studies. Your tutor will be able to suggest good resources, and will be able to offer you extra advice based on their own experience as well.
Set aside time to study
Organisation is key to succeeding in distance learning, especially if you’re juggling work and family commitments as well. Setting aside regular, short bursts of time to spend on your studies is much better than trying to cram in huge amounts of work as deadlines loom. Distance learning gives you the flexibility to study at a time that suits you, so make use of it – early in the morning before work or late at night after the kids are asleep can be great times to devote to your course work.
Create a study space
As well as setting aside time to study, it can be helpful to have a quiet space set aside to help you concentrate on your work. If you can’t convert a spare room or a quiet corner into a mini office, it might be more helpful to escape to a local library to help get yourself in the mood for studying.
Set regular goals
Breaking down your ultimate goal into small, manageable steps is the best way to make regular progress whilst feeling like you’re actually achieving something. Your tutor will help you set a timetable which breaks down the course elements, but it can help to break these down even further when it all starts to feel like too much.
Cater for your learning style
If you don’t already know it, now is an excellent time to find your learning style and use it to your advantage. Try to convert the topic or subject you’re studying into a format that helps you to learn best, whether that’s reading, listening, looking or doing. Speak to your tutor for advice on this, as they may be able to point you towards some useful resources.
Telling your family, friends, colleagues or even your boss about your studies is a great way to stay motivated on your course and get some much-needed encouragement and praise as you achieve your goals. Enlisting others to help give you a push can be a good way to ensure you study at the times you’ve set aside, and the watchful eye of your boss might help stave off any thoughts of slacking off!
Keep in touch
Keeping in regular contact with your tutor is essential to staying motivated on your course – if you haven’t spoken to them in months, it can be daunting to show up out of the blue with a question. Even if you don’t feel like you need any help, keeping in touch can be a good way to stay up to date, pick up extra tips and advice or just make sure that you’re still on the right track.
Find other students
Getting in touch with other students on the same course as you can be a great way to swap ideas and make friends, and can make your course a lot more enjoyable. Forums, social networks and college workshop days can all be great ways to meet up with other people studying the same course as you.
All work and no play can make it difficult to succeed on a distance learning course, so don’t be afraid to reward yourself for your achievements. Treating yourself for achieving goals will help to motivate you and give you a sense of progress and achievement on your course, so planning rewards for milestones such as submitting work or completing units can be a useful way to keep your spirits high as you study.