Thursday, January 7, 2010

How To Succeed With Distance Learning Education While You Work

By Mary Jackson

Consider the perks of a distance learning education: keep working and getting paid, forget a class attendance schedule, and have the flexibility of studying whenever convenient. In fact, students striving for an online degree seem to have the best of both worlds.

However, a distance learning education is not without certain challenges. Traditional students are spurred on by the interaction with others and attending the lectures. Without a lot of discipline and intrinsic motivation, distance learners can easily get sidetracked by life and fail to keep up with the coursework needed to pass the class. Enjoy the benefits, but do not forget the responsibilities.

Then, how can online students stay focused and overcome the challenges of learning from home? First, time management skills are essential. With only so many hours in the day, it is important to make time for work and family, and still have enough hours to adequately study the courses. Make a plan and stick to it. Let the family participate in your success. Let everyone know what your hours are dedicated to learning without interruption. Without a schedule, obtaining a distance learning education will be extremely difficult.

Another important aspect of a distance learning education is to stay in touch with classmates and instructors through email, instant messenger, college discussion boards or Internet calling. Discuss projects and assignments with peers who can help you stay focused by holding you accountable, and providing motivation and encouragement whenever needed.

In addition to peer contact, rewarding personal education goals is an excellent way to stay motivated and succeed in obtaining a distance learning education. Write particular course milestones on a calendar, and then celebrate the achievement. For example, after turning in a major paper, do something nice for yourself. Then, cross out each accomplishment. With a sense of personal satisfaction, it will keep you motivated to face the next educational hurdle.

Finally, a quiet place to study, away from distractions, is paramount. The television, telephone, and family will be very distracting and take away from quality study. Set times to not be disturbed. If necessary, lock yourself in a quiet room with adequate space to spread out on a table or desk. Sit in a comfortable chair and add any necessary elements to ensure an environment conducive to productive study.

Distance learning education is an excellent way to improve job opportunities and acquire a desired degree. However, success depends on the individual. With hard work, determination and the discipline to stay on track and maintain good study habits, academic excellence is within sight, without relocating and sacrificing job and family.

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