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Mon 25th Jul 2011

5 Ways to Stay Motivated on Your Distance Learning Course

1. Make the right course choice
Often the wide range of distance learning courses, course options and study requirements can be confusing and overwhelming. Once you have explored the course options the best thing to do is talk things through with a trained course advisor. Oxford College provide an advice service so that you can make the best course choice according to your ability, aims and study parameters.

2. Be realistic
It is often assumed that distance learning is a softer option than studying via a traditional route. This is a myth. Therefore to get the most out of your course you need to be sure you are not being unrealistic in terms of time, level of course and motivation to complete it. For example, if you wish to embark on a fast track A level Biology course, which is essentially completing a 2 year course in 1 year, and you dont have any previous biology knowledge you are already under pressure. If you then start the course in January and feel that you will be fine to take the examination in June that year, then you are being unrealistic. Distance learning courses cover the same material content as courses offered at traditional colleges and universities, so you must be realistic in your expectations.

3. Have an objective
Having an objective will help you to get the most out of your course, even if you are doing it for pure enjoyment or because you have an interest in the subject. It is a good idea to remind yourself at strategic points during the course, why you originally started it, particularly if you find yourself lacking motivation, or finding distractions when you should be studying!

4. Complete course activities and assignments
The temptation in distance learning to skip the course content and get straight to the exam is seriously flawed. Registration on a distance learning course does not mean you will automatically be successful in achieving a pass.Course activities and assignments are designed to test knowledge and understanding and are an opportunity for you to identify strengths and weaknesses so that you can address issues before examination. Self assessment activities are valuable as they prepare you for examinations and assignments. Likewise, suggestions to visit web sites or conduct independent research is commensurate with traditional study where you would be expected to engage in class based discussions. Tutor feedback on assignments is a way to track progress through the course and will help you stay motivated.

5. Reflect on your progress
Being a distance learner is something to be proud of. We normally undertake courses by remote learning if we have other commitments and time is limited. To continue to get the most from your study experience reflect on your progress from time to time to take stock of how far you have come. Remember there is no face to face engagement with other students or tutors, so reflecting on assignment scores, feedback and your own self-assessment activities and independent learning will reaffirm that you are doing OK.