How to get started with your studies
Distance learners have to be particularly self-motivated when it comes to studying, because you don’t have to attend classes or answer to a tutor on a regular basis when you study remotely. Basically, once you have all the materials you need, it is up to you to create a learning schedule and stick to it. Of course, one of the most appealing aspects of distance learning is that it is flexible and so you can fit it around your job or looking after your children. However, at the same time, you have to take a consistent approach to studying.
Clearly, you are going to struggle to complete your course if you don’t set aside time to read and complete assignments each week; opting, instead, to rush through your course at the last minute. You are not completely alone as a distance learner, since you will be able to contact your course tutor, who will provide you with online support. Your tutor will offer you advice and encouragement, which will undoubtedly prove useful at times. Ultimately, though, you very much have to rely on your own resources as an online distance learner.
Before starting your course, it is important to find out whether there is any preliminary reading to be done, so that you can get a head start and get some idea of what lies ahead. Usually, all the material you require for the course will be provided, but it is worth checking whether you will need to buy any additional books or software that will aid your studies and to check that your computer system is compatible with any programmes that you may be required to download.
If your IT skills are somewhat lacking, it might be a good idea to brush up on them, so that you at least know how to use programmes and software that you will be expected to access during your course. If your course requires you to write essays, for instance, you will obviously need to know how to use a word processor.
It is also advisable to create a study schedule before your course begins, so that you know how much reading you have to do in a week and can set aside enough time to complete it. If you’re a slow reader, you may have to spend more time reading than the number of hours that are suggested, whilst if you’re quick to pick up new things, you may be able to get through the work quicker and check it over more thoroughly. There will undoubtedly be times when life gets in the way, but the beauty of online distance learning is its flexible nature. If you fail to do as much studying as you had intended to, then you can adjust your schedule.
As a distance learner, you have to be independent and self-motivated, because you won’t have a regular tutor or other classmates to help you stay motivated when it comes to your studies. Plus, the chances are you will have work and family commitments which may sometimes make studying harder. Once you have decided that you want to take a distance learning course and know what you want to study, it is basically up to you to find the motivation to keep going until you reach your goal. It can be tough at first, but it is worth remembering that all your hard work will pay off in the end.