There’s a common belief that good grades can only be achieved through endless hours of study and all-nighters. But if you’re in distance education, you may not always feel you have free time to study for long periods of the day. Which can leave you concerned you won’t be able to successfully complete your course.
The reality is the time you spend studying doesn’t automatically correlate with a certain grade.
Discipline is certainly important when it comes to self-learning. You need to make sure you’re fully focussed on the task you’ve assigned yourself for that session. But if you want to make the most efficient use of your time, you need to identify the way you learn best. This will allow you to use your time more efficiently, easing the pressure you may be feeling.
Thousands of students achieve their learning goals every year through distance learning so you can confident that you can do it too. Learn how you can manage your available time to get the most out of your course.
How many Hours of Study is Right for Me?
There’s a lot of information out there telling you the different formulas to follow for success with your learning. Like the number of additional hours of study you should complete in correlation to those spent working through the online course materials.
Generally, it is believed that for every hour spent on your course materials, you should study for a further 2-3 hours. Depending on the number of guided learning hours for your course, that can quickly mount up.
It no doubt would be great to have that amount of time free to dedicate to learning. But it simply isn’t realistic for most people. And what one person can achieve in a set amount of time is entirely different to someone else.
So, stop wasting your time trying to find the magic number of hours to study each day. There isn’t one. Instead, you need to be realistic about the time you have available to learn. Then find the study method that makes the most of that free time.
Find the right Balance for You
There are many things that can impact the amount of time you have available for study. Whether you’re working a 9-5 and learning in the evening or caring for children in the day. We all have different commitments, schedules and priorities, but these don’t have to be an impediment to your education.
Make what time you have work for you. The first stage is being realistic and deciding, before you enrol how much time you can commit to your studies.
Most online courses will provide the guided learning hours and/or total learning hours. That will allow you to map out when you can study and how long the course will take to complete.
Again, in most instances, you will have one year to complete a course, which should make planning easier. It can also take the pressure off if you’re in no great rush to qualify.
If you had a deadline in mind – such as a university application deadline – then you may need to commit more time.
However, be aware that increasing study time while decreasing the number of overall days is going to pile on the pressure and not necessarily give you the best result.
While online courses allow you to start your learning at any point in the academic year, it’s important to strike a balance. Make sure you don’t compromise your health, your family or your job security in your efforts to meet a deadline.
Explore Study Options
It’s worth spending time exploring different approaches to learning to see which suits you best. You’ll find certain study methods and activities help you learn better than others
Consider what type of learner you are and the ways you prefer to take in new information. This could be reading, listening to audio versions of the course copy, watching videos or something else. Trying out different approaches not only helps you find the best one for you, it can make learning much more enjoyable.
You could write out a list of the topics that are covered in your online course. Then spend time compiling a factsheet on each of them. If you search online, you can often find subject relevant flashcards, puzzles and quizzes to complete too.
You may find one method that works amazingly for you or a combination of methods that are more effective. It’s your learning experience, so you can tailor it to your learning style.
Organise your Studies in Advance
Another way to study effectively in less time is by organising your study sessions in advance. You’ll get through far more in each one if everything is structured and set out ahead of time.
Some great tips for organising your studies are:
Manage your time
Organising your calendar in advance makes it easy to see where you have time available to study. Blocking out slots early on helps you mentally prepare for your study sessions and helps prevent a clashing schedule.
Create a plan and set goals
Get a plan together of how you aim to tackle each study session and set a goal for what you want to achieve. Having a structure in place removes panic as you know exactly what to do and where to focus your energy. So, you can get to work the minute you sit down to learn. Rather than contemplating what to do for half of the time.
Breaks give you chance to process what you’ve learnt. They can also reduce stress and fatigue by breaking up the study session, helping you to keep focussed. You may think lengthy sessions are the best way to learn, but you won’t take anything in if you’re overtired.
If you’re contemplating going back into education but you’re concerned about the time commitment, consider taking an online course. Online learning is flexible and allows you to gain your qualification at a time and place that works for you.
You can work through the online materials at a pace that suits, at any time of the day or night. So, your entire education process can be organised around your lifestyle.
Online learning providers are also able to offer a broader range of courses. Catering to many more interests and niche areas than those that are provided in a physical campus.
You can also take advantage of flexible payment methods and online tutor support, should you need assistance with your learning.
Stonebridge Associated Colleges is the leading UK distance learning provider. With many online courses available to help you achieve your learning goals.
Find out more about studying online and how to get the most out of distance learning in our blog.
If you’re ready to take the next step in your education, browse our many online courses available below.