Online learning is becoming more and more popular and school, colleges and universities are offering new online courses, however a lot of people still have trouble getting the most out of this modern way of studying.

We have taken time to survey our successful online students to find what makes the difference, how are the students approaching their online study in a way that gives them more success over their peers. After much deliberation we have managed to squeeze these different approaches into 5 easy steps for online learning success.

1. Interact with your tutor

It might seem like the obvious elephant in the room, however making your tutor interactions on a regular basis rather than just when you get in trouble has been raised as the number 1 tip from successful students.

The interaction can be as simple as a weekly email, Skype call or just participation in the discussion forum. The key is to make it regular and consistent.

The discussion can be about the material you are studying, the assessments you might be working on or general opinions of the subject matter which your tutor might have. By being proactive and having these discussions you will be able to absorb more of what you are learning.
Planning for when you study, how long you will study for and when you won’t study helps keep you and your loved ones around you sane. Making 2hours available 5 days a week to study has been found more effective than spending 10hours in a single day. If you are consistent with your 2hour blocks of study you will notice an increase in your own performance each week. The opposite is true for the 10hour binge. It usually results in exhaustion and negative feelings towards the material you “wasted a day on” and thus stops you from wanting to return to the material. At the end this leads to a week on week decrease in performance as you “get over” the material you are studying.

Part-Time students recommend to at least study 5 nights in the week. However, it is better to break this up, so have Tuesday and Friday off, while making time on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday for at least 2hours of study.

Full-Time students recommend you treat it like a full-time job. Turn up at 9am every morning and stop at 5pm but be sure to take breaks regularly throughout the day and keep the 2 hour block of study ritual. Having the weekends off is also an important part to this type of schedule.

3. Attack your study

Attacking suggests having a goal in mind and being focused on achieving it. The best results students get is when they manage to attack their assessments, clearly identifying what is required and getting that done first.

A lot of the time if an assessment is too confusing there are reasons for it which are unrelated to the assessment. Mostly this is due to a misunderstanding of the assessment or having skipped some previous material that was a pre-requisite for being able to complete the assessment.

Luckily the best approach for clarification is speaking to your peers about it on the discussion forums, or coming along to Webinars where you can get valuable tips and chat to the other attendees. There are probably other resources such as previous comments on the discussion forums and videos that can help further clarify what’s required.

When all else fails contact your tutor, outline your “attack plan” to them in order to achieve success with the assessment and get them to confirm if your plan is the right one.

4. Get on the front foot, address problems as they arise

The reality is that problems always come up. Your ability to perceive these as opportunities for clarification can lead you to get on the front foot faster and get over the problem easier. Google is your best friend here, no matter if you just want to check the spelling of a word or are after a detailed explanation of a concept. Starting here is a good habit and getting better at formulating your question for Google to give you the right result is important here.

Being engaged with your peers who study alongside you is also an excellent resource. Chances are you are having the same problems that they’ve already had or about to have so you can help one another by sharing experiences.

Just remember, problems will happen but how you react to when they happen is a choice you can make ahead of time and the best approach is to be prepared and know how to deal with them.

5. Share what you’ve learned often

The best way to remember something is to explain it to someone else, or even sometimes to the same person who taught you in the first place (if they can spare the time).

When you share what you learned, you are forced to verbalise and formulate the ideas that you understood and remembered into new patterns, one that the person you are sharing with will also be able to understand. So it is a great way of practising your new skills.