Nov 17, 2017 at 12:00am ET By Alyssa Walker

Want to succeed in online classes? Now that online classes and degrees have a foothold in education, it’s possible to look at trends among online students and see what works—and what doesn’t. What are the habits of the most successful online students? Let’s take a closer look six habits of the most successful learners.

1. Planning, planning, planning
Successful online learners create study pans and stick to them. They plan weekly study time and log onto the course a minimum of three times per week for a total of at least 10 hours per week.

What else helps with planning? Organization. At the start of each class, the successful online learner will print out the syllabus (to have a hard copy), put deadlines in their calendars, and figure out when to “meet” with professors.

All that planning pays off—online learners who make a plan for their courses and stick with them meet their study goals.

2. Avoid distractions
Online learners avoid distractions. They let friends and family know when they’re working to minimize distractions.

Disciplined learners take it an extra step and limit their social media time while they’re online studying.

Distractions apply to workspace, too. Successful online learners have a consistent, distraction-free workspace that respects that space of those around them.

3. Meet technical requirements
Online learning can be really great—or really frustrating. There’s a learning curve and it’s technical.

This means that successful online learners need to have a basic level of technical savvy—a basic internet connection, a computer in good working order, and an understanding of how online courses work. Knowing how to use standard word processing and spreadsheet software is helpful, too.

If you aren’t techno-savvy, but want to be, you can ask your online institution for some help in getting started.

4. Assessing personal studying behavior
Successful online students know their strengths and weaknesses.

Looking to get started? Ask yourself these questions:

Do you create a schedule for your study time?
Do you have what you need when you sit down to study?
Do you turn in your assignments on time?
Do you get distracted while studying?
How do you decide which study activities are important?
How do you plan for your studies when something goes wrong?
Do you read all the course material?
Do you make an assignment plan?
Do you check your work before you submit it?
Do you have a notebook?
Do you take notes as you read?
Do you spend adequate time reading the material for the course?

Communicating with students and professors
Successful online students ask their professors questions and interact with their peers.

Emailing a professor is intimidating the first time you do it—but you’ll be grateful that you opened the line of communication.

Contacting your peers in an online class is also intimidating, but it’s always worth it. Finding a study buddy or a friend to whom you can ask questions and express concerns will prepare you for success.

5. Prioritizing
This goes along with #1: successful online students make their work a priority and plan for it.

One successful trick? Make a daily to-do list for your online study days in priority order. Tackle the tasks that need to happen first and work your way through.

Successful students who practice this strategy meet not only their daily goals, but their goals for the course.

Convinced? Arm yourself with the skills you need to be a successful online student and get to work. You can do it.

 

 

 

 

Alyssa Walker is a freelance writer, educator, and nonprofit consultant. She lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with her family.

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