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Developing Good Distance Learning Study Habits

Oct 26, 2007
If you are interested in furthering your education, but the prospect of attending regular classes in a traditional school or college leaves you cold, then you could consider becoming one of the increasing numbers of distance learning students. In a distance learning program, you can study in the comfort of your own home (or even at your workplace during your lunch period if you prefer), and at the hours that fit your schedule. However following an education program on your own isn't for everyone and so you need to develop some good study habits in order to successfully complete your course.

The first thing you need to do is organize yourself. When will you study? Where will you study? Create some kind of a timetable that shows the times you will be at a desk with your books. This timetable won't be cast in stone, but it should be kept as much as possible. Organizing your time is imperative to good distance learning outcomes as it is too easy to lapse into a "tomorrow" attitude and you'll soon find yourself lagging behind with your course work and assignments. You should also set up a wall calendar where you can plainly see it every day so that you can mark on any due dates for assignments/examinations.

As soon as you receive your material from the distance learning unpack the box and check the items off the checklist if one is included. Immediately inform the institution if anything is missing -- even if it doesn't seem very important. Next mark up any dates that are relevant to your course (start dates, end dates, online lectures, assignments due, etc) onto the wall calendar. Make a note of contact names and numbers, then leave the rest of the package until your next scheduled study session.

Your first study session should be the time you actually program your workload. Take a look at what you've been sent as a study plan. Mark up your material so you know what you will be studying and when. If you want to, mark up your wall chart, or put a note in your PDA/diary about what you will be studying each week. This keeps everything fresh in your mind and you know if you're on schedule with your studying, or falling behind.

Make sure that you keep the right number of study sessions each week. If you have to cancel one because of attending a meeting, or going to a party, make sure that you substitute that session with another one before your next scheduled session. If you find that you're falling behind, adding a couple of additional sessions into your week will help you catch up.

Distance learning is a great experience if you who have the organizational ability and self-motivation to keep yourself on track. Before signing up for any program be very clear that you will be doing this more or less on your own, with no-one ringing you up asking for work, or reminding you about an exam. If you are independent and have the necessary skills however, there are an increasing number of established colleges offering distance learning packages and it might be just the thing to help you need to secure that next promotion.
About the Author
Jane Saeman runs an In-Home Tutoring service called Aim High Tutors. Find out about how to help your student reach their full potential at http://www.aimhightutors.com/blog
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