|Before you enroll to take classes through an online school,|
check to make sure distance learning is really right for
you. While some people thrive on the independence and
freedom offered through such classes, others find
themselves regretting their decision and wishing they had
enrolled at a traditional school instead.
Successful and happy distance learners have a few
characteristics in common. Do you?
1. Successful distance learners do just as well, if not
better, without people looking over their shoulders. While
some people need teachers to keep them motivated and on-
task, distance learners are able to motivate themselves.
They realize that they will never be face-to-face with the
people who give them assignments and grade their work, but
they don’t need others to encourage them. The most
successful students are self-motivated and set their own
2. Successful distance learners never (or at least rarely)
procrastinate. You’ll rarely find them putting off
assignments or waiting until the last moment to write their
papers. These students enjoy the freedom of working at
their own pace and appreciate the ability to complete their
work in as much time as it takes them, instead of waiting
for an entire class. However, they understand that putting
off their work too often can end up adding months, if not
years, to their studies.
3. Successful distance learners have good reading
comprehension skills. While most people learn by listening
to lectures and taking notes, the majority of distance
learners are expected to master material through reading
alone. Although some distance learning courses offer video
recordings and audio clips, most programs require that
students understand a large amount of information that is
only available through written text. These students are
able to comprehend texts at the college level without the
direct guidance of a teacher.
4. Successful distance learners can resist constant
distractions. Whether it’s the phone ringing off the hook,
the kids screaming in the kitchen, or the allure of the tv,
everyone faces distractions. Successful students know how
to filter out the constant disturbances that threaten their
progress. They feel comfortable turning down an invitation
or letting the machine pick up the phone when they know
there is work to be done.
5. Successful distance learners feel okay about missing the
social elements of traditional schools. Sure, they realize
that they’ll miss out on a lot, but they’re convinced that
the independence is worth it. In place of classroom
discussion, they explore the issues with their peers
through email and message boards or discuss what they’re
learning with spouses or coworkers.
If you have few of the qualities of these students, you may
want to reconsider applying to an online school. Remember
that online learning is not for everyone and, while it is
an excellent choice for some, others will always struggle
with learning independently.
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About the Author
Graham got a basic education at school, but always felt he
could achieve more. When he discovered e-learning, he knew
that was the answer to his goals.
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