Many factors can influence academic success and your strategies won’t differ too much from face-to-face studies to online learning. But who wouldn’t want some tips to ensure that they are successful in their online learning studies? So, with that in mind, here are some factors that impact your online learning success.
These are the factors that come from your head and your heart, which you can control if you pay attention to them:
Active, timely participation in the course.
Lecturers were interviewed in a study and asked what was likely to predict a student’s successful completion of an online course. By far the most common answer was that “the most successful online students participate early, participate often, and allow enough time in their schedule to ensure effective completion of all aspects of the course.” (Mandernach, Donnelli and Dailey-hebert, 2006). This means you need to manage your time and get involved by asking lots of questions early on.
Personal initiative and motivation.
Although motivation is essential in all aspects of studying, online learning requires a lot more independent effort because of the physical distance between educators and peers. This means to study online you should examine your commitment to the course or programme and make sure you remember “why” you started.
The ability and confidence to navigate technology will mean that you have more time to spend on the actual course content, rather than spending all your time learning how to use the new tech. If you are not comfortable in this arena, spend some time doing a digital literacy course.
Reading, writing, and comprehension skills.
Being able to read and write with comprehension will set you up for success. The necessity to explain what you have learned is essential in all learning spaces, in the online space however, this extends to the discussion forums and emails to your lecturer. Being clear and succinct will mean you get the help you need quickly.
These are the elements that influence you from the outside – they can be used to your advantage or derail your studies if you don’t pay attention to them.
Getting support from your family and friends can really assist the success of your online learning journey. There is nothing like a cheerleader in your corner reminding you on the tough or lazy days that “you can do this”, “just one more hour”, or “don’t worry, I will sort out dinner and the children”.
Institutional availability and feedback.
The availability of the facilitator, e-lecturer, or e-coach as well as their interaction with students and their timely feedback can really impact your learning journey. It is essential to pick an institution that gets back to you, explains how things work, and supports your academic journey when you do have questions to ask. Constructive, specific feedback from a lecturer will give you the guidance you need to be successful.
The online learning content.
The content should be interesting, diverse, well laid out, and easily accessible. Engaging and relevant content will affect your ability to retain information as well as your willingness to return to the course to learn in the first place.
Reliable internet access.
Access to the internet is also essential, and online learners struggle if they have insufficient data or internet speeds.
With these factors in mind, are you ready for online learning? If you are already an online learner, is there anything you would add to these lists?
Remember that you have far more control than you think and the choices you make today will incrementally affect your future. Success is just around the corner.
- Mandernach, B. J., Donnelli, E. and Dailey-hebert, A. (2006) ‘Learner Attribute Research Juxtaposed with Online Instructor Experience : Predictors of Success in the Accelerated , Online Classroom’, The Journal of Educators Online, 3(2), pp. 1–17.