Online learning has become increasingly popular over the past few years. The flexibility and convenience of being able to study from anywhere make it an attractive option for many people. However, with this increased freedom also comes some unique challenges. Without the structure of a classroom and set class times, it can be difficult to stay motivated and on track with your studies.
Luckily, there are many techniques and strategies you can use to boost your motivation while learning online. Below, we will focus on eight ways to stay focused and engaged so you can successfully complete your online course.
- Make Sure You’re Interested in the Program
This may seem obvious, but make sure your online program is actually something you’re interested in! It’s much easier to stay motivated when you have a genuine interest and passion for your degree or short course.
An uninteresting program can quickly sap your motivation, even if it seems beneficial on paper. So, before enrolling, take the time to
- Carefully consider your interests, skills, and career aspirations
- Research the course curriculum and learning outcomes
- Determine if it aligns with your goals and passions.
If you’re still exploring potential programs, check out nexford.edu for a range of undergraduate and graduate degree programs and even different courses and certificates.
- Create a Dedicated Study Space
One of the first things you should do when starting an online program is create a dedicated study area in your home. Having a tidy and organized space to learn can greatly improve your focus and motivation levels.
Make sure your study area has:
- A comfortable chair and desk to avoid physical strains from long study sessions. Invest in an ergonomic chair and adjustable desk if possible.
- Proper lighting, whether natural light from a window or a bright desk lamp. Poor lighting can strain your eyes and make it harder to focus.
- Minimal distractions in your space or within view. Put away electronics, TVs, clutter, etc.
You can also decorate your study spot in a way that is motivating and uplifting for you by adding colorful artwork or plants that bring positive energy.
Of course, some personal commitment on your behalf is required. Treat this space as a classroom where you go to strictly study and avoid doing other activities like eating or browsing the internet.
- Set a Schedule and Stick to It
With online learning, it can be tempting to put off your studies until later in the day or week. Procrastination is one of the top challenges for online learners.
You can combat procrastination by
- Creating a weekly or daily schedule and doing your best to stick to it.
- Outline specific days and times you plan to study each week.
- Scheduling blocks of time for completing assignments, readings, lectures, etc.
Treat your study schedule as real commitments, just like you would for in-person classes. Setting a routine will help build habits that boost motivation and productivity over time.
- Set Manageable Daily Goals
In addition to your weekly schedule, set daily goals and to-do lists to stay on track. These goals should break down your bigger assignments and tasks into smaller, more manageable chunks.
For example, set a daily goal to:
- Review one chapter of a textbook
- Finish one section of an essay
- Complete a certain number of practice problems
- Outline the main points for an upcoming test.
Ticking off daily goals gives you a sense of progress and achievement, boosting motivation. Make sure goals are realistic so you don’t get discouraged.
- Take Regular Breaks
While you want to stick to a schedule, be sure to also build in regular breaks. Studying for too long at once can cause mental fatigue and burnout.
Take a 10-15 minute break every 45-60 minutes to recharge. Some effective break activities include
- Getting up and moving around or doing light stretches
- Having a healthy snack to refuel
- Meditating or practicing deep breathing
- Stepping outside for fresh air.
Giving your mind periodic breaks helps restore focus so you can dive back into your studies re-energized.
- Stay Organized
Disorganization is another common downfall for online learners. Don’t let lost notes, confusing assignment dates, and cluttered courses derail your progress.
Spend time upfront getting organized before classes begin by
- Setting up an online filing system to store study materials
- Using a planner or calendar to clearly track key assignments and test dates
- Creating a study checklist of tasks to complete each week.
Staying organized helps minimize stress so you can focus energy directly on learning rather than wasting time searching for what you need.
- Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle
Don’t neglect your physical and mental health as you study online. Lack of sleep, poor diet, and insufficient exercise can zap your motivation fast.
Do your best to maintain a relatively normal routine by
- Going to bed and waking up at consistent times
- Making time for healthy meals and avoiding junk food
- Scheduling time for physical activity like walks, yoga, or home workouts
- Taking occasional days off from studying to fully relax and recharge
A healthy lifestyle provides the energy you need to tackle online learning. Make self-care a priority, not an afterthought. Your motivation depends on you feeling physically and mentally well.
- Reward Yourself
Speaking of achievements, be sure to celebrate when you meet goals or complete assignments. Finishing a course or passing an exam is an accomplishment!
Reward yourself in small ways as positive reinforcement:
- Get your favorite takeout meal or dessert as a treat
- Spend an evening watching a movie you’ve been looking forward to
- Spend time on a hobby you enjoy, like reading, gaming, or crafting
- Buy yourself something small like a book, houseplant, or coffee
These little rewards reinforce the progress you’re making and incentivize you to keep going. Check Why Is It Important to Engage Communities in Preparedness Efforts.
Table of Contents
Online education offers amazing flexibility but also requires discipline and self-motivation. Following these tips, you can successfully navigate online learning while staying productive and motivated from start to finish. Consistency and routine are key, so implement these ideas early on to build habits that will carry you through to the completion of your program.