Online learning, or e-learning, is becoming an increasingly popular option. Many people find that studying and attending classes remotely (via the internet), is more convenient, safe, and accessible than the traditional method of attending them in person. One of the greatest advantages of e-learning is that you can study in your own time, fitting in classes and coursework around a regular job or other commitments.
But while e-learning certainly makes studying easier, it is not without its challenges. Foremost among these is fitting online learning into your daily lifestyle. Without the rigorous discipline of having to attend classes in person at a set time as a full-time student, many people struggle to make time for the work required. So how can you make space in your life to learn at your own pace without getting distracted or derailed?
Prioritize learning — but do not neglect the rest of your life
Online or otherwise, any course of study requires a solid commitment of time and energy, especially if it is for a high-level qualification like a DNP degree. The flexibility of an e-learning course helps, but you still must prioritize your studies from the outset, and make sure that your friends and family understand this.
At the same time, be realistic about your schedule. Do not neglect other commitments or abandon your social life altogether. You should aspire to an effective balance of work, life, and study, in order not to become a hermit. A certain amount of escapist entertainment is good for our mental health, and being able to step away from studying occasionally for a family event or a catch-up with friends will help you avoid burnout.
A good tip is to treat your e-learning timetable as if you were having to attend classes in person. Be organized, turn up on time and keep on top of your coursework. Create a schedule for doing homework as well as for tutorials, lectures and seminars.
Review this at the end of each week, looking both at the schedule you were following and the actual schedule of work. If there are serious discrepancies, you either need to rework your schedule into a more realistic form or get better at self-discipline!
Tailor your timetable to your body clock
Are you a morning person or a night person? It makes sense to arrange your schedule so that you can work when you naturally feel most awake and productive. Of course, this is not always possible, as you also have to work around commitments like a day job or getting the kids to and from school. Find the best balance you can, blocking off 60 or 30-minute segments of time for study.
Look after your health
Finally, do not neglect your health by pushing yourself too hard. Make sure you get plenty of sleep and take regular breaks when you step away from the computer, stretch, and get some fresh air. Burning the candle at both ends may make you feel like you are working effectively, but sooner than later you will crash and lose more time than you gained. Staying healthy and setting sensible limits is the best way to study successfully.