The way we study is changing and universities around the world are increasingly moving to online learning models. Many graduate students are discovering the benefits of studying online, with online degrees proving to be more flexible in terms of time and cost. If you’re thinking about choosing a digital programme of study, here are some tips on how to make online learning work for you.
Know what motivates you
We are all motivated by different factors in our lives. What makes you spring out of bed in the morning might make someone else want to hide under the duvet all day. Studying online is no different.
A recent study by Wiley Education Services found that there were three key graduate student types – the Advancer, the Launcher and the Altruist – each with their own set of motivations and study needs.
Advancers are typically career-focused. They will be looking to gain qualifications that will help get them that promotion or pay rise. Online study increases the number of degree programmes that are available to them, including courses at universities overseas.
Launchers tend to put greater emphasis on personal development and building relationships. Launchers are in the earliest stages of their career and are keen to network. Opting for online study places them alongside learners from diverse backgrounds and gives them flexibility to pursue other passions outside their studies.
Altruists are not primarily motivated by their career. Their choice to pursue further study is informed by their love of learning and desire to help others. The convenience of online learning and the support offered by a global community of students make online study an attractive choice for Altruists.
How would you describe yourself? By understanding what motivates you and why, you can feel better prepared to make decisions about your online studies and future career goals.
Create your ideal online study routine
UNESCO’s IDEAL (Impact of Distance Education on Adult Learning) report found that 70% of students were undertaking online study alongside employment. 29% of students studying for a degree online said that they allocated between 15 and 20 hours per week to their studies. 34% reported studying for 10 to 14 hours per week.
Opting for online study is still a considerable commitment but having flexible study hours makes it a popular choice. 69% of students said that the ability to combine their learning with an existing job or at-home responsibilities was of high importance to them. At UBIS, our online courses have self-led elements plus classes that are held at set times. With this blend of fixed and flexible study, creating a weekly schedule is important to help you stay on track.
Write down your existing weekly commitments, including any classes at set times. Now identify where you can best make time for your self-led study. Maybe you’re an early bird who likes to work first thing in the morning? Or perhaps the evening would suit you best, away from the pressures of the working day? Find a rhythm that works for you and make it part of your weekly routine.
Having a comfortable workspace is also crucial to making your online study schedule work for you. Firstly, a decent-sized desk and a supportive chair are important basics to have, as well as good lighting. Next, gather any materials you might need before you sit down to study. If you’re watching a video broadcast, ensure that you are in a quiet space or have headphones. Finally, switch off your phone or put it out of reach. That way, you can focus and really make the most of your online study time.
Take a break – it’s good for you!
Maintaining our offline connections as much as our online ones is more important than ever. The negative impact of sitting in front of a screen for long periods of time is well documented but taking a break from being at our computers can also enhance our ability to focus and produce great work.
Taking regular short breaks will give your eyes and brain a rest from prolonged screen time. You could make a phone call to a friend or go for a walk around your neighbourhood. Why not make a healthy snack or simply take a few moments to do some breathing exercises? Short breaks will help to renew your motivation and refocus your mind. They can even help you reach those breakthrough ‘eureka!’ moments faster.
In a post-pandemic world, choosing to study online is an increasingly popular choice for graduates. At UBIS we have a range of online and blended learning opportunities for the next stage of your academic career. We also have flexible student finance options, bespoke to each course.
We can support you with world-class online teaching staff and professional connections. Click here to find out more about our degree programmes and how UBIS can help you make the most of your online studies.
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