Did you know that 28% of students in the USA were taking at least one online course in 2015? This trend is insanely popular among students from different age groups.

If you assumed that online programmes mostly attract older people, you’re in for a surprise: a report from 2015 showed that the popularity of these programmes was growing among students under 25.

Online learning can be fun and effective. It can also be distracting, which is why you need the right approach. Today, we’re here to give you a boost, so you’ll stay on track with the curriculum.

The Benefits of Online Learning

If you’re still having doubts about online classes, consider these advantages of online learning:

  • The total costs of online programmes are much lower when compared to traditional college courses.
  • There are tonnes of programmes and courses you can choose from.
  • You’ll learn from the most comfortable learning environment – your home, your favourite coffee shop, the library, the park… wherever you prefer.

Skills to Develop

If you want to master online learning, you’ll need few skills that will support you through the process:

  • Technical skills

Even the most basic online courses require some level of computer skill. You’ll need to navigate through the learning management system of your choice, and you’ll be expected to create and share different types of documents.

  • Writing

Online courses don’t spare you from written assignments, at least the ones that provide credits. If you want to get better at academic writing before you even enrol onto an online course, you can use writing services. Such services connect you with professional writers, who will bring the process of planning, research, writing, and editing closer to your understanding.

  • Productivity

There’s no progress without focus. A study from 2013 showed that the average completion rate of MOOCs was lower than 7%. You want to be in those 7% that complete the course! For that purpose, you’ll need to stay focused on the goal.

Use Google Calendar to plan your days, weeks, and months. Browser extensions like AdBlock and StayFocusd will keep you away from distractions while you use your computer only for learning purposes.

Finally: the 10 Motivational Keep-In-Minds!       

You can’t talk yourself into a more motivated state, especially not when that self-talk is negative. I speak from experience here. I used to push myself to study more with “You failed again, and again and again. You need to do this. Why did you start when you can’t finish?”

It took me a lot of time and three dropouts before I realized: self-talk wasn’t really working for me. I needed a motivational boost, and I needed to get it from very specific sources. I have 10 of them to suggest today:

  1. Travelling!

“With my travel schedule, it’s really hard to be in a classroom, and even when I’m in town, my work hours are erratic. The strong point of taking courses online is the flexibility and freedom. I can just log on and do my homework at home or on the road in a hotel.” That was an excerpt from the success story of a student who’s earning an associate degree in accounting through an online programme.

When I read it, I had an epiphany: travelling and learning. It’s possible! People are doing it! In a month, I was visiting a place I always wanted to see (London), and I didn’t have to abandon my studies for it. I was even more motivated to follow the programme every single night, so I could justify the trip to myself.

  1. Find a new professional calling

When you have your mind focused on new perspectives, you have to learn to get there. Oh, I almost forgot: try to focus on a well-paid profession – money is always a good motivator.

  1. Get a new hobby

You finally have time for it! Doing something you love will keep you motivated to learn and progress.

  1. Eat healthily

I tried this method for a week: I ate only healthy food, without making any exceptions. After that experiment, I never went back to my old ways. No more coke, no more coffee. Try it and thank me later.

  1. Create Pinterest boards

Pinterest isn’t just for fashion and food pins! Education is an important category, and you can find great sources of inspiration in it. Create boards for each online course you take, and collect all the important resources you find.

  1. Blog!

Start a blog where you share the knowledge you’ve gained. It will serve as a reminder of your goals, but it will also help you keep track of the progress you make. Bonus: the project will improve your writing skills!

  1. The right source

Regardless of your interests, you’ll find several online sources that offer the course you need. Be very careful with the choice. The right lecturer and programme are important for keeping your motivation levels high.

  1. Get engaged in online communities

Online forums, such as the International Student Forum, will connect you with like-minded individuals. They will share their hacks and tips, and you’ll be making friends before you know it.

  1. Make a plan

What goals do you want to reach? How are you going to get there? Your Google Calendar will keep you on track.

  1. Consider your options

Here’s the last motivational booster for the day: consider your options. When you’re having thoughts about dropping out of an online course, think:

  • What will happen if you quit?
  • What will happen if you complete the course?

Chances are, you’ll be motivated enough to continue learning as soon as you make your list of answers.

The advantages of online learning are huge! As long as you keep yourself motivated, you can achieve all goals on your mind.

Author bio: Jessica Freeman is a professional journalist and a freelance content writer at the company Australian Writings. She focuses her content writing on education, business and academic topics. You can follow her on Facebook and Google+.

(Featured image credit: Business vector designed by Freepik.com. Used under the Creative Commons Licence.)