Online learning experts estimate that much like traditional on-campus courses, not every student enrolled in an online course will complete it. This can seem daunting, since an online course is a great way to build skill, especially when you have some extra time.
However, those same experts say that just a few adjustment can raise that percentage significantly. The combination for online learning success seems to be inspiration, structure and good, old-fashioned grit.
Here are some ways to give yourself the best chance of staying motivated during an online course:
Set Your Internal Compass
Your “internal compass” is the blend of your intention, your habits and your environment.
Your intention begins when you select your online course in the first place.
Are you studying something you want to study or have to study? Believe it or not, either of those motivations – “want to” or “have to” – can provide a great foundation for selecting a course.
Your habits involve both your study practices and the way you apply your learning.
It is generally a good idea to have a consistent study routine. Set a reminder or alarm on your phone for the same time each day and it gradually becomes easier to study at that exact time.
Also, the more you apply what you learn – practice the tools, use the techniques – the more you build strong habits.
Your environment refers to the literal and conceptual space around you.
Dedicate your study space to study only, at least while you are studying. “Study mode” is a mental frame, whether you are at your desk or sitting in your favorite chair. Go into “study mode” and it will help focus your study. Your mental environment is important, too.
Experts recommend creating a series of “small wins” to help you stay motivated and on track.
One of the great benefits of online learning is freedom. You can study on your own time and at your own pace. And yet, that freedom can sometimes give us permission to let our attention wander and let our commitments to things like online courses slip.
Psychologists tell us that structure helps keep us focused and moving toward our goals. Obviously, too much structure is stifling. But a well-designed online course uses tools like recommended timelines and deadlines to create structure.
Good online courses balance freedom with structure. And they tend to have the highest completion rates.
Work Toward A Meaningful Goal
If you are clear about your intention and mindful about adopting strong study practices, you are already way ahead of the average online learner.
In any case, learning means improvement and improvement involves overcoming a challenge. And that can put your “procrastination engine” into high gear.
That’s where your “want to” and “have to” come into play. There is nothing better for persistence than pursuing a worthy goal.
A great online course will help you work through a set of steps on the way to a goal you consider important. That may be a project, certificate or opportunity to join an industry through an internship or apprenticeship.
Completing a worthy goal gives you proof-of-concept of your learning and new competencies. It also acts as a great motivator when the going gets tough, as it will in all challenging courses.
Supporting Online Learners
Finally, given all of its advantages, online learning can make you feel a bit isolated. Whether it is a question about content or advice about your project, there is nothing like having a supportive voice to help guide your progress.
Great online courses are almost always linked to a mentor, guide or instructor. Their roll may be content related, but their real purpose is to support you in completing your course.
We wish you the best in your journey to online learning. Feel free to explore our instructor-led courses, set your intention and fulfill a worthy goal through an online course.
Find the online course that’s right for you: