Time management in online learning
Learning from home has numerous advantages, but it also demands a high degree of responsibility from the student. The main advantages of online classes include the freedom to organize your own time and study at a pace that suits you best. In other words, you are the master of your own time, so you can have free time whenever you want. Online education focuses on the individual student’s pace and progress.
However, that level of freedom has its own downsides. Sometimes, too much freedom is damaging, because some people function better when they have to physically attend classes and when they know the exact schedule of activities.
To achieve the desired success, you need to be well-organized and utilize the independence of this type of learning to the maximum. This is where time management in online learning comes in, as an important element that will pave your way to a diploma. Below, we will give you some great tips for online students that will make your path to success much easier.
Time management is the key to successful distance learning
Time management is primarily a skill that demands commitment. Just like in sports, effective time management needs planning, dedication to one’s goal and a strong desire for success. A clear goal and motivation will help you concentrate and spend your learning time more effectively.
Determination will help you change some of your habits. For starters, you should have a clear vision of what you want to accomplish. Why do you attend online classes? What can you gain if you make an effort and graduate school this way?
- More effective learning
- More free time
- Less stress during school
- Better focus
- Better organized life
4 great time management tips for online learning
Whether you are in high school or in college, the approach to online learning is the same – to find a balance between your responsibilities and private life. In traditional education, this difference is clearly defined, but in distance learning, it is not so visible.
1. Define a study space
It is very important to have a quality learning environment from the outset, and this primarily means that you possess the necessary equipment. You will need high-speed Internet (primarily due to the quality of lecture streaming), a reliable computer and, preferably, a large monitor so you could see all the details. If you want to isolate yourself completely from the background noise, think about purchasing a pair of good headphones.
To learn more effectively, it is important to clearly set aside a study space where you can focus on your work. If you don’t have a designated space just for learning, then modify your everyday space for a better learning experience. Remove anything that could be a distraction, keeping only the things necessary for learning. Simply put – this is your classroom, so remove everything that doesn’t serve your purpose – learning.
2. Define deadlines
When you study on your own, it may seem that you have plenty of time for everything. As an online student, the most important deadlines are those for submitting papers and oral exams. But, in online learning, there is no one to tell you when and how much you should study to finish everything on time. This is why you need to self-organize and define deadlines for completing certain material. Be realistic so you could balance learning and rest in an optimal way.
Short-term and long-term plans are the basis of successful time management, so discipline is the key. You can define short-term and long-term goals, from annual, monthly, to weekly and daily. The more precise your plan is, the easier it will be to implement it.
However, many make mistakes by making unrealistic plans that simply cannot be fulfilled. Be honest to yourself, define deadlines and stick to the defined plan. The structure of work and disciplined fulfillment of obligations will help you learn more easily, even when you are learning complex subjects.
You can write down your plans in a notebook, or even better, use some of the available planner apps (Trello, Google Calendar, Todoist, etc.) so you would regularly receive notifications on planned activities, which further facilitates time management.
3. Attend lectures regularly
When you learn online, in most cases, learning material is available 24/7. Although you have unlimited access to the material, try to make yourself ‘go to school’ every day at the same time. Of course, you should follow lectures via online streaming whenever possible, because that way, you will actively participate in instruction. Another benefit is the presence of other online learners, because you can ask them additional questions.
The basis of online education is active student participation in instruction and regular communication with teachers, even when you don’t attend live stream lectures. Although it may seem that you are left to fend for yourself by learning from home, you are still a student of your school and you are entitled to teachers’ assistance. Therefore, attend lectures regularly, ask questions (even if it means contacting your teachers after the lesson), and deal with your school responsibilities in a timely manner.
4. Focus on each individual task
When you learn from home, your concentration can easily drop to its lowest due to numerous distractions. This is why you should try some of the effective learning techniques that will help you to master the teaching material on your own. As we already mentioned, time management is the key to success in online learning, so be sure to plan your responsibilities wisely. In other words, you should set aside some time for each task, no matter how short or simple it may seem.
The pomodoro technique is a revelation for many, because the timer makes you finish your obligations on time. The system is very simple. You have 25 minutes to work/study, followed by a short, 5-minute break, or a longer 15-minute break (if you have been studying longer). It is up to you to define what you will be doing in the given interval, and how long your break will last. The key is to stick to the schedule, just like you do in the classroom.
Learning time management can really help
The techniques used for time management in online learning can be applied to all areas of life. This is why you should pay more attention to time management and ways to overcome challenges more efficiently. The habits acquired this way will help you showcase your qualities, not just in school, but in your professional career as well.