Distance learning is becoming more and more popular as a viable option for your college education. It offers you increased flexibility, allowing you to work or care for family at the same time, and it offers you increased choice as you can select courses offered in cities that you might not be able to travel to. It has a lot to recommend it, but there is one obvious drawback. You can feel quite isolated and alone studying in this way and so it needs a high level of self motivation to keep on track with it. Have you got what it takes to study in this way? Of course you have! And to help you, today we want to share with you five tips for distance learning, to set you up well for your first year.
Keep all of your study materials in one place
The first thing that you should do is set yourself up with a study area. Ideally you will have a desk set up that you can always use, but if this cannot be done, clear yourself a table top and get to work.
It is going to save you a lot of time if you keep all of your study materials in one place. Perhaps keep them all in a basket, study books, notepads and pens altogether, so that you can simply pick it up, empty it out and start studying.
Stick to the schedule
Most distance learning courses do have a schedule, and it is always best to stick to this wherever you can, or ideally, work slightly ahead of it. You are likely to feel more in control and comfortable staying on track.
Many modules will set you up with what you should be covering each week, so aim to stay on track. If you can do, start the course earlier if you get your materials in time as this will buy you an extra week or two ahead of schedule. Then, if ever you need to take a break at some stage further down the line, you know that you have a week or so of breathing space before falling behind.
Give yourself breaks
It helps to set yourself a study schedule to give yourself some routine, and then you need to be sure to give yourself breaks within that. Few of us can study non-stop for hours on end, and it is unlikely to be effective anyway.
For our first few days of studying, pay attention to when you start to feel distracted from what you are doing. It might be that you can read and absorb information for around twenty five minutes before your mind starts to drift and you become less attentive. If this is the case, set yourself a routine that revolves around working for twenty five minute intervals and then taking a five minute break. You might go and grab a coffee, take a breath of fresh air or catch up on social media for a few minutes before getting back to it.
Remove any distractions
When you are studying, remove any distractions from your study area. It can be all too easy when you are studying alone to get distracted so you need to do all that you can to prevent this from happening.
For many of us, this will be our phones. Put yours out of reach so that you are not constantly picking it up and scrolling. If it is an option, turn it off for a few hours whilst you work.
Always stay in touch with your teachers
Just because you are distance learning, it does not mean that you have no support system in place. You will have teachers and tutors, so make an effort to stay in touch and build relationships with them.
If you have a good relationship with your teacher, you should find it easier to shout out for help and guidance whenever you need it. It is also worth attending any day schools or online lessons that they offer and take all of the support available to you.
We then all have those times in our life when it can be hard to keep working and studying. This could be anything from bereavement to side-impact collisions to illnesses, and in all cases, you are likely to be knocked off your usual stride. Always take the time to keep your teachers in the loop, staying in touch with them and letting them know if you have something going on outside of college.
You might find that you can push deadlines back to allow you time to get back on your feet by doing this, assuming that you are normally up to date with all of your assignments.