Studying is hard enough as it is, but it can get even harder when you are doing distance learning. While it is true that distance learning is more flexible, there are many distractions and problems that can arise that normal students don’t face. What can you do to help you study better?
The following list of tips is specifically for distance learning students.
1. “Save The Date”
Get a BIG calendar (you can buy or print one) to put up against your wall. Mark all the important dates like exam dates or assignment due dates in red first. Once you have done that you can start to plan and mark your study sessions on the calendar. You can even add in dates like birthdays or other things that might take time away from your studies. This way you can plan your studies to best suit your life and timetable.
2. Set up a Study Area.
It is important to have a dedicated area to study in. Set up a desk in a corner somewhere you won’t be disturbed. Use this space every time you study. Get everything you need ready, pens, paper, highlighters etc and keep them on the desk. That will help prevent distractions and procrastination.
3. Study in Different Places
Yes, we know the last tip said to have a dedicated study area. Sometimes, however, a change of scenery is also good. When you do study somewhere different, try to do it somewhere quiet and where you will not have too many distractions. For example, you could go to a quiet coffee shop and have a cup of coffee and a sandwich while you study, or maybe a library, or even just outside in your own garden or a park.
4. Ask For Help
Just because you are doing distance learning and you aren’t in a class, it doesn’t mean that you are alone. There are lecturers and support staff you can contact. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You don’t have to do it all alone.
5. Say it out Loud
Saying your work out loud helps you to remember it better. If you don’t want to talk to yourself, ask someone you know if you can explain it to them. Explaining it to them will also help you because if you can’t explain it in a way that they can understand, you don’t understand the work either. As the saying goes: “If you can’t explain something to a six-year-old, you really don’t understand it yourself.”
You should give yourself rewards after a study session or any other deadline. Maybe watch an episode of your favourite TV show after you study, or go and get that piece of cake you wanted. For bigger milestones, like handing in assignments or writing exams, do something like going to the cinema. Rewarding yourself in these little ways as you study will help you to stay motivated.
7. Baby Steps
Studying takes a lot of time, especially if you are studying for a degree. Distance learning can take even longer and your workload might seem like an impossible task. Instead of looking at it as a whole, break it into smaller pieces. This makes it easier to achieve little goals, and achieving them will make you feel good and keep you positive. As you achieve these smaller goals you won’t see the workload as impossible anymore.
8. Have a Break
Many of us tend to do long, hard, marathon study sessions for hours on end, however, this is actually not a good thing. Your brain becomes unfocussed after long periods of study so it is important to take breaks. The best is to take a ten to fifteen minute break after every 40 to 35 minutes of studying. Use that time to stretch your legs, make yourself a sandwich or a cup of tea, or even just to go outside for some fresh air. You will feel refreshed and energised when you go back to your studying.
Normally we are told to not be boastful, but it can be a good thing. When you are a distance learner, not many people know about your achievements, and it can make you feel that there is no point to studying. Tell your friends and family, post your good marks on your Facebook page, or whatever you want. When the people around you know about your achievements they will comment on them. This support and recognition will go a long way in keeping you positive for your studies.
10. Minimise Procrastination
All of us procrastinate and as a distance learner, you are also dealing with things like work and your family. This can make it very easy to procrastinate. Minimise the amount of time you procrastinate by telling your family not to disturb you during your study session and by making sure you always have everything you need before you sit down to study.
Hopefully, you will not only find these tips interesting but also use them to help you in your studies.
Written by: Clifford Ekron
Last Updated: April 10, 2019