Being an online learner is a fantastic solution for many students today who are looking to balance their education with a busy schedule. Online learning offers the ability to learn anytime, anywhere with the flexibility to adapt to the student’s personal and professional life. These advantages are what draw students to online learning. However, there are still some challenges that many students face with this learning model. Here are four common challenges you should know about and how to overcome them.
When you are taking classes outside the traditional classroom, it’s harder to control distractions that can pop up while studying from home or a public place. Kids, family members and pets coming in and out, background noise and a ringing phone are all common distractions that you may face at home. Social media and smartphones can make it even easier to lose your focus.
When studying from home, it’s a good idea to set up a designated work area where your family knows you need peace and privacy. Tech devices should be limited to just what you need to study. Since life happens, schedule regular breaks throughout your study hours when you can attend to personal matters.
While many students start out motivated, that enthusiasm can start to wane over time without the support of an in-person instructor and classmates. This lack of interaction and online learning isolation can make it hard for students to engage and maintain interest in online classes, even with things like Zoom sessions or quizzes to break things up.
To help solve this problem, try setting both short- and long-term goals for yourself. Regular check-ins with your instructors can help you stay on track and accountable for your work and progress. It’s also really important to set realistic study sessions that allow you to stay focused and engaged.
Along with a lack of motivation and distractions, time management is a common issue many online learners face. Many choose online learning for the flexibility but then find it hard to stick to a routine. To combat this, think about your daily routine and schedule. Taking these into careful consideration before you plan your course load and study schedule can help you figure out what you realistically can achieve in a day. Think about making a daily or weekly checklist and stick to it as best as you can.
One thing that can be difficult for online students to deal with is that communication can often be slower compared to traditional classrooms. Not only that, but feedback on homework, tests, or other assignments can also be slowed down. Because communication and feedback aren’t as timely, you may not get the information or answers that you need as quickly as you’re used to.
If you feel that you need more communication or feedback, let your advisor know. Ed-tech, and technology in general, has developed really quickly in recent years to make it easier than ever to stay in contact and communicate. While it may not be the same, asking your peers for clarity or peer reviewing can be a big help if you need another set of eyes on your work.
MedCerts knows that online students face a variety of hurdles when learning online, so our educational programs are designed to meet those challenges. With a positive mindset, you can achieve your career goals better and faster with our programs, getting the results that you need, fast!
Julie Campos is the Senior Director of Operations and Student Success at MedCerts. She brings over 14 years of experience in Online Higher Education in both Student Support and Enrollment and started her career at the University of Phoenix, serving most of her tenure as a student-facing leader.
Julie has her Bachelors of Liberal Arts in Political Science from the University of Texas at El Paso, and her Masters in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix. Her areas of expertise are student support in online higher education environments and working with nontraditional students. At MedCerts, she is focused on creating a pro-active student central support model for MedCerts students to reach their goals and has developed the MedCerts Student Support and Outreach Model, created MedCerts Student Success Advisor reports and Dashboards, as well as the Student Success Advisor Playbook. Her proactive approach to student support has been crucial in meeting MedCerts’ student’s needs, as well as completion and certification goals.
Julie has three children – a 10-year-old son and 12- and 4-year-old daughters, who keep her and her husband busy with sports. She is also an avid crafter with an entire room of her home dedicated to the hobby. In her free time, she enjoys teaching wreath making and even has a few “how-to” YouTube videos on the subject!