Monday, September 20, 2010

What Do You Need to Succeed in Online Education?

There was a time when online education was the anomaly; today however, it is the norm. It has grown in leaps and bounds not just in the quality of education offered, but also in respectability and reputation. In fact, the University of Phoenix which offers both on-campus and online courses is the largest institution in the USA in terms of number of students enrolled. More and more people are choosing to study online for various reasons – it allows them to earn while they learn, they can set flexible schedules, and they don’t have to pay through their noses to gain an education.

While critics of online education are quick to point out that the success rate in online education is low because people tend to leave courses incomplete and the dropout rate is pretty high, the truth is that online programs are meant for people who are able to establish a schedule and who have the discipline to stick to their plan. It takes more than just the will to learn to taste success in online education, and to do your best, you must be:

• Determined: You must be determined to succeed no matter how many hurdles you face. It’s not just enough to want an education, you must be willing to do all it takes to ensure that you get one of the highest quality. There will be hurdles cropping up every now and then, you may be bogged down by work and other personal issues, and there will be times when all your efforts seem so futile. However, the key to success is to never give up. Stay on the path that you’ve marked out for yourself, and you’re sure to scale greater heights.

• Disciplined: You’re going to be juggling many balls in the air when you choose to go back to school and earn a degree online. With commitments to work, family and social relationships demanding your attention, your education could take a backseat. However, if you’re disciplined and set aside at least an hour every day to devote to your lessons and assignments, you won’t find the going tough when it’s time for your exams. Just as you make time to eat and do other things that are a part of your normal routine, make some time for your education too.

• Flexible: Even the best laid plans tend to fall apart because of the uncertainty of life; so unless you’re able to change track on the fly and reschedule your day according to the circumstances, you’re going to be stressed out and find yourself staring into the eyes of failure. Learn how to multitask – you can invest in a netbook or a smartphone and learn on the go, when you’re traveling or when you have a quiet hour at the office; know how to alter plans so that you’re able to get things done without getting flustered and losing control. Success in online learning is all about being flexible and knowing how to go with the flow.

• Ambitious: There are times when you need to look beyond your coursework and search for more information. Use sources like the Internet, books and magazines to collect data and information needed when you’re doing practical projects and when your assignments call for you to get creative and push the boundaries of your knowledge. Unless you are ambitious and try to be the best you can, online education is going to be just another thing that you do, not something that you must succeed at.

• Tech-savvy: And finally, it pays to understand technology when you choose to study online. There are a number of gadgets and applications that help you learn better and faster, and which help you get organized and become better managers of time. So invest in learning technology before you invest in the gadgets themselves, because unless you know how to harvest the potential of a device, it’s as good as useless.

So if you’re armed with these necessary qualifications, you’re sure to find online education as easy as a stroll in the park.

This guest post is contributed by Carrie Oakley, who writes on the topic of online college. Carrie welcomes your comments at her email id: carrie.oakley1983(AT)gmail(DOT)com.

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