Distance learning continues to be popular among learners worldwide. According to the statistics, we can expect it to keep growing, exceeding USD 243 billion by 2022. This popularity and projected growth can be attributed to distance learning benefits, including improved collaboration and a wider educational scope. So, there is no wonder that in the future the percentage of the curriculum being taught online will be rising.
However, the main advantage that drives the popularity of this form of education is flexibility. See, with distance learning, students have the liberty to schedule their studies at most convenient times. Unfortunately, this freedom to handle studies often presents a serious time management struggle to e-learners (in many cases).
Having that in mind, if you’ve started or are considering distance learning, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with time management skills. This way, you can take charge of your online education and make it a success. Let’s now highlight seven useful tips for managing your time as an e-learner.
Always Have a Plan Somewhere Nearby
It would be best if you made a comprehensive study plan before starting distance learning. Check the course’s syllabus and identify all assignments, tests, deadlines, and important activities/ events. After that, you could use a calendar to mark them according to priority to avoid any issues.
For instance, planning for when your educator offers a virtual face-to-face session will save you from the hassle of last-minute scheduling/ appointments. Having a plan also keeps you from engaging in bad study habits such as cramming, which often precedes an exam.
Focus on One Subject at a Time
Having too many things on your table is sure to undermine your productivity. It is best to identify one thing at the moment and give it all of your attention and effort. If you are revising for an online test, focus on only that. For online forums, the same applies.
A project management tool will prove handy if you need assistance in maintaining focus. Trello is an excellent example of such a resource. Evernote and other digital notebooks can also help you manage your tasks and improve focus.
Note, you can cultivate and maintain focus over a long time if you tackle the most urgent things. For instance, if an assignment is not due in weeks, you could direct your attention to other activities such as online discussions.
Understand Your Time Well
Unlike the traditional classroom, most online courses are seldom planned. You’ll have to plan your time well such that you can handle all course components effectively. The best way to do this is by understanding how course time works. See, a three-credit grad degree will typically need about ten to fifteen hours weekly. So, be sure to plan for these sessions accordingly.
Give importance to these hours and respect them just as you would do for traditional classes. Each session is essential, and missing one cannot be easily undone by attending another.
Build a Study Area
Even though your studies are online, it is essential to have a designated area for taking your classes. You could identify a room in your home and organize it in a way that encourages learning. Having a specific room for your studies helps will help you shift to a learning mindset whenever you are inside the space. Try to make your study area as much a learning environment as you can.
Here are some characteristics of an excellent study space:
- Comfortable but not very;
- It has all essential study items.
Get Rid of All Distractions
Remove everything that can take your mind from your studies and put it away. If you are on social media, consider closing all tabs with your accounts on the PC. Put away the phone if you use it to access your social media.
If you keep getting distracted even after getting rid of various things, it’s time to adopt the Pomodoro approach. This strategy enhances productivity by organizing your activities in a way that boosts efficiency. In this approach, you create twenty-five-minute study sessions.
Here is how to use this approach:
- Set a twenty-five-minute timer and study without breaks for the entire time;
- Break for five minutes;
- Get back to studying;
- Repeat this cycle four times;
- Take a fifteen-minute break after four sessions.
If you feel like surfing is making it hard for you to stay focused, cut down your site visits with KeepMeOut or Freedom. These tools will bar your access to various websites, keeping you on your studies.
Balance Your Studies with Your Lifestyle
As a distance learner, it’s essential to have the right balance between your online course and other activities. Having a good balance among your undertakings ensures that you do not burn out and helps with prioritizing. The point here is to ensure that you do not compromise any bit of your life.
You can easily create a balance of your life activities by having a schedule that fits everything perfectly. These undertakings include school, job, and personal undertakings.
Get Timely Assistance
With online studies, you do not want to miss out on anything. Whether it’s a concept or an assignment, go out of your way to understand or complete it. If you feel that you are lagging, organize private sessions with your tutor.
For assignments, you could discuss issues with your peers on various online forums. Alternatively, you could get online assignment assistance from trusted services with vetted and proven academics. If you’ve written an essay and lack time to check it the last time, consider hiring an essay editor. Doing these things ensures that you stay ahead of your online learning always.
Time management remains a real struggle for many online learners. Luckily, you can quickly take charge of this situation by taking time seriously and adopting the tips discussed here. Remember, the point is to incorporate distance learning into your life conveniently to reduce stress while enhancing productivity.