Six ways to get the most out of distance learning
If you want to get or complete a college education, but your career, family, or other life commitments mean you don’t have time for class, Distance Learning programs can be your pathway into that education, letting you go back to school without literally going back to school.
When taking programs in distance learning, you take your courses online, through Centennial College’s eCentennial Learning Management system. You’re getting the same skills-oriented education, led by a professional structure, but in a time and place that suits your life needs better.
While it’s much more convenient and flexible, it’s important to remember that it’s still a college education, and comes with its own set of challenges. While the lack of a fixed schedule and structure can suit your busy life better, with no one to keep tabs on you, the temptation to slack off is pretty strong. As someone who’s spent a lot of time both learning and working from home, here’s a few tips to ensure you get the most out of the unique way distance learning works.
1. Build a good study space
Where you learn is up to you, but you need to make sure it’s a good space to learn in. If you’re at home, you need to find a spot where you’re undisturbed. This is really important if you’re living with other people, as you need to make sure you’re not going to be bothered or distracted. It’s also possible that your home isn’t the best place to work, and you’re better off heading to a library, community centre, or even a coffee shop. You’ll know what works best for yourself, and the important part is figuring it out before you begin.
2. Bring some (healthy) food
If you’re not careful, breaking to get, make and eat lunch can cause an hours-long delay. Meanwhile, bringing some healthy snacks, like fruit and juice, to your study space can keep you studying longer. They need to be healthy, though, otherwise the food will just make you feel burnt out and tired.
3. Try unplugging
If you have a phone, shut it off, and when you’re not online using the eCentennial learning system, turn the internet off, too. Constant social media updates have a way of interrupting a good study vibe.
4. Make a schedule
One of the biggest advantages of distance learning is that you can do your studying whenever you need to. But that can also be dangerous for your work ethic, because without a schedule, you’re tempted to do everything “later,” and later can sometimes become “never.” What you need to do is make your own schedule, and stick to it. Say you’re studying Wednesday, from 7 to 9 PM, for example, and stick to it every week.
5. Set Goals
While you’re planning it out, don’t just figure out when you’re studying, figure out what you’re going to get done, as well. Two hours in the evening is wasted if you don’t accomplish anything. If you’ve got notes to read, finish them that evening. If you’ve got an assignment to write, get 1000 words done, at least in draft form.
6. Don’t overdo the prep time
While there’s a lot of things you can do to prepare for distance learning, it’s more important not to overthink it. Spending hours building the perfect study space means losing time you could have spent using that space to learn. You don’t have to go overboard, but simply come up with something you can set up quickly. And if it turns out it isn’t working for you, don’t spend time leaving that space and rebuilding it. Carry on, and try again next time.
By Anthony Geremia