The key to success in online learning is staying motivated. This is equally true for veteran online students and those newly introduced to the online classroom. So here are six strategies to keep yourself motivated to do the work.
1. Set realistic goals.
Set small, attainable goals for each class to avoid getting discouraged and overwhelmed. Keep track of your goals by writing them on sticky notes and placing them around your home, or create a spreadsheet to track your progress. And remember, small successes will help lead to your ultimate goal — earning your degree.
2. Schedule your study time.
Develop a plan to stay on task so you can complete your coursework while still allowing time to enjoy the things you like to do. Schedule set times to log in to your course and to study, create reminders of due dates on your calendar or phone, and build in breaks to give your mind some time to take in what you’re learning. Having a plan will increase your likelihood of success and will help you reach your goals.
3. Get to know faculty and classmates.
To avoid feeling isolated when you're learning online, make it a habit to interact with your peers and instructors through instant message, email, Google Hangouts, Zoom, discussions forums, or by phone. Doing so will help keep your spirits high and help you develop a level of accountability to your coursework.
4. Share what you're learning.
Talk about your coursework with friends and family. Make connections to what you’re learning in your personal and work life. Sharing your knowledge with others can help you develop a sense of pride and accomplishment.
5. Take care of yourself.
Taking care of your mental and physical health can help your academic performance. As you build out your schedule, try to work in regular exercise, healthy meals, and plenty of rest and relaxation. If you’re not sure where to begin, contact your school’s respective recreation or counseling centers.
6. Plan a reward.
Everyone deserves a pat on the back every now and again. As you complete your coursework, take time to recognize your achievements, whether you’ve finished a really long textbook chapter or totally rocked an exam. Reward yourself with something you enjoy, whether that means taking a run, streaming your favorite TV show, or ordering takeout to celebrate. Reveling in your accomplishments and taking breaks will help you keep a positive attitude and stay motivated.
The original version of this blog was published in March 2020. It has been updated.