Distance learning has never been easier, with so many online courses to choose from. Studying at home is a great alternative to sitting in a cold classroom after spending a day at the office, or looking after the children, you just go to your study area and study in your own time.
BEFORE YOU START TO STUDY AT HOME
Your course material has arrived and you’re itching to get started with your distance learning course. But before you start, it’s important to set up a pleasant studying environment.
- a dedicated study area – even if it´s a small corner of a room
- a comfortable temperature – not too hot or too cold
- light – preferably natural
- away from noise such as television or children
- uncluttered and tidy
*Distance Learning Tip*Organise your working area so everything is close to hand. Have stationery, books, files, pens, pencils and your computer if you need it all within easy reach. A comfortable desk and chair are also important. These tips will ensure you make the most of your home study time.
BEGINNING TO STUDY AT HOME
Distance learning needs self-discipline so you should make a study plan. Break your work into manageable chunks so you cover everything you need to.
It’s a good idea to make a list of what you intend to study and when, so you can tick off each section as you complete it.
This will give you a sense of achievement and also ensure you don’t miss anything.
Distance learning time management
Study course modules in a logical order and don’t jump from one to the other. Course material is often written so you apply what you have learnt from one module to the next.
Make your home study times realistic. Don’t try to study continuously for 2-3 hours just because you have this time spare. We can only concentrate properly for about 45 minutes at a time. Take regular breaks, at least every hour. They only need be for 5-10 minutes, just to refresh your mind.
Turn off your mobile, close your email, browser and make sure the family know you are studying and can’t be interrupted. Distractions break your train of thought and waste time. Your study time is valuable so make sure you get the most out of it.
Some people find background music helps them study, others need complete silence. Choose what suits you best.
WHEN TO STUDY
This will depend on the time you have available to study at home and when you work best. Some of us are more efficient in the morning, whilst others work best late at night. Choose your study time for when you operate most effectively.
Try and set aside a specific time each week for your distance learning studies. A regular routine will work far better than the odd 20 minutes here and there trying to cram in information.
Don’t try and force yourself to study if you are tired or hungry as you won’t absorb the information and will end up having to go back over it. It’s not a good idea to study immediately after a big meal as you won’t function well. Go for a walk first then settle down to your studies.
Try not to drink too much caffeine or eat sugary foods when you’re studying as they’ll only give you short energy boosts and then you’ll feel sluggish. Have healthy snacks to hand so you can nibble as you study.
*Distance Learning Tip*
Set yourself time goals and reward yourself. For example after an hour of studying take a break of 5-10 minutes to do something completely different and re-charge your batteries.
Everyone has their own study methods and you need to find what works best for you. Our study hints below will help you make the most of studying at home.
How to study when distance learning:
- Make a study plan, with timings and review it regularly.Your plan will ensure you cover everything you need to.
- List what you intend to study at each session. As you complete sections tick them off so you can see what you have achieved.
- Allow time for extras such as background reading. This will enhance your knowledge of the subject you are studying.
- Organise files and study materials so you know where everything is. Time spent looking for pens and folders is lost study time.
- If you’re not absorbing information leave it and return to it later. Reading the page over and over again but not knowing what you’ve just read is common if you’re tired or distracted. Doing something else, just for a short while will help your concentration.
- Work out the best way for you to record and memorise information. Some students like to make notes, others highlight and underline and some draw pictures or mind maps.
*Distance Learning Tip*
Once you’ve finished an assignment to submit to your tutor leave it for a while before you send it. Then go back to it and re-read it. You’ll be surprised how many improvements you can make. You’ll also see any spelling and grammar errors you may have made.
Stay positive when distance learning
*Distance Learning Tip*Remember why you are studying at home. It may be to change your job, help you climb the career ladder or just learn about something completely new. Whatever the reason you can achieve your goal. Write your reasons on a piece of paper and put it where you can see it while you are studying. This is your motivation to succeed – good luck!