Developing Skills For Online Learning Success

Posted on September 19 2012

“It’s a different ballgame.”

The beauty of enrolling in an online high school is that it gives you plenty of freedom and flexibility in terms of your schedule and availability. It also provides you with learning opportunities within the comfort of your home. You can work on your online lessons while working, going to school or taking care of your family.

But then again, it’s a different ballgame. Going to a virtual high school is not the same as going to a brick-and-mortar school. It is important that you develop skills to ensure that you make the most out of your online high school education. The way the lessons are delivered is different and the way you study also has a difference.

Here are some skills you should learn to enjoy success with your virtual high school education:

  • Self-motivation and discipline. Learning through an online school requires active participation from you, thus you really have to be motivated. Unlike a “regular” school, where it is possible for you to sit passively, an online school requires that you be fully engaged in learning the lessons. You also need to make sure that you are maintaining a reasonable pace for your studies. Postponing lessons and assignments and then trying to finish a big chunk of your requirements at the last minute is biting off more than you can chew. More often than not, it will result in mental indigestion. You need to motivate yourself to ensure that you are doing your lessons and assignments on schedule and with plenty of time for you to absorb the lessons.
  • Time management. Even though you can work on the lessons at your own time, it will help to have a routine for your week. This will help you effectively manage your time. Remember that aside from your lessons, life may have other demands from you. You may be working, raising a family and enjoying a social life. You need to balance your studies with other important things in life. Also, you need to consider the best time for you to study. Do you work well at night, or is morning the best time for you to do your lessons? What is your work schedule? What other things do you need to do for the day? What time are you setting aside to do other things, such as chores, recreation, cooking for the family or work? Allot time for each of these tasks in your day and your week. Slot in time for breaks and rest periods. Set down your schedule in writing and plan to stick to it.
  • Being organized. This does not include just your time but also your environment. Learn to create an environment that is conducive to your learning style. This may mean reorganizing your space to make way for a study room or even a study corner. Being organized also means planning your learning. Take a look at your syllabus and have a course study plan that outlines your requirements for the term. List down projects and assignments, as well as their deadlines so that you are aware of how to meet them.
  • Goal-setting. When you start with your online classes, you should already have goals as to how you plan to finish the lessons. Of course, it is important that your goals are realistic and attainable. How many units can you finish in a term? What other goals do you have, besides finishing your high school credits? Do you have work goals, family goals, fitness goals or other personal goals? All these have to be taken in consideration when you sit down to set your goals.
  • Being tech-savvy. With online high school classes, you need to be adept at using your computer for basic programs, manage files, send out projects online and print lessons. In addition, you need to familiarize yourself with the virtual environment in which you will be studying. You should learn how to effectively communicate and learn via the Internet and use video, audio and e-mail tools. You can also harness the internet to do research on a project and network with other students. Skype and other forms of video teleconferencing can be used to establish a study group among your “online classmates”.
  • Getting support. Doing it on your own is not impossible, but it can make things more difficult. Why go at it alone when you can get help and support from others? This can come with online student service representatives, as those offered by The American Academy. They can provide you with guidance and help you strengthen your online study skills. Don’t hesitate to ask questions if you are confused or unclear about a lesson or a project.

    Other avenues where you can get help include your loved ones and co-workers. You can inform them of your goal to finish high school via The American Academy. They can provide you with support – taking on other chores you need to do, helping ensure that you have a quiet moment while you’re studying. Your boss can help you by providing you with a more flexible work schedule.

  • Celebrating successes. One way to keep the excitement and motivation is for you to give yourself a pat on the back for each success. This may mean simple rewards for sticking to your schedule or going on a break after finishing a major chunk of the course.