Today, if you aspire to earn your advanced degree you have two options: You can attend classes at a local university, or you can also take online classes. U.S. News & World Report cited results from a recent survey called “Going the Distance: Online Education in the United States in 2011,” that shows a 10-percent annual increase in enrollments for online degrees. Enrollments in online education programs are outpacing traditional classroom enrollments year after year.
Clearly, online learning works for a majority of these highly motivated advanced degree candidates. What sometimes doesn’t work as smoothly is figuring out how to organize your time in a self-paced learning environment. Here are some essential time management tips to help you succeed in the online degree plan of your choice.
Understand Learning Basics
Whether you plan to pursue your MBA or you have another goal in mind, the same learning basics still apply. In order to succeed as a student in any type of classroom structure, you must decide in advance how you will incorporate each of these learning basics into your studies.
- Create your own structure. With online learning you must create a structure that allows for attending classes, reading required assignments, studying for exams, working in groups and other classroom-related activities.
- Do some work daily. Procrastination is a temptation for all students, but there is an even greater temptation to procrastinate with online learning. If you set aside some time daily to work on your studies you are less likely to fall behind.
- Plan. In order to get the most out of your education and earn the highest possible grades, you need to keep a big-picture perspective. This means staying on top of important assignment due dates and mid-term and final exam dates.
- Ask for help. If life intervenes and you find yourself falling behind or not understanding the material as well as you need to, help is always available. Know how to get help if you need it.
Other Important Time Management Essentials
In addition to understanding the four learning basics that can transform even a poor student into an excellent learner, you should also factor in these other time management essentials, especially if you are pursuing an online degree such as a medical program. You’ll want to do everything you can to keep yourself motivated, organized, focused and excited about learning.
- Set up your space. No matter how small your space may be or how many people you share it with, you need some privacy and quiet to study and learn well. You may need to work with your housemates to create this, but once you have your own space for studying, you’ll notice how this helps you make the best use of your study time. You may need to designate a library, coffee shop or other space for your studies.
- Provide your own motivation. In an online learning environment you won’t have the physical presence of a teacher and other students around you to motivate and energize you. But you can do other things to find motivation, including participating in chats or online discussion groups, posting affirmations and motivational statements in your study space, writing out your educational goals each day and more.
- Set your own priorities and goals. You alone know why you are devoting so much time, money and effort toward your advanced degree. So take charge and set your own study priorities and goals.
- Maximize idle time. If you have drive time, time waiting in line or other idle time, see if you can download lectures to your iPod or upload lecture notes to your phone or tablet so you can be studying whenever time permits. This will help you juggle a busy schedule successfully.
With these tips you can enjoy the same success and career opportunities so many other advanced degree graduates have found through online learning programs.
About the Author: Carrie Marconi has just finished her distance learning MBA and is excited to start her career in nursing administration. She recommends no matter your educational goals, be it an online rn to bsn degree or something else, considering online education.