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5 Common Mistakes Online Learners Make and How to Avoid Them

October 7, 2019 10:33am

Are you thinking about enrolling in school to finish that degree that life just hasn’t made room for? Online programs are making it more manageable than ever for working adults to work on their degree as their schedules allow. However, there are some common mistakes learners can make when beginning their trek toward online degree completion. Here are just a few common blunders many adult students make and how you can avoid them to ensure the best experience possible.

Not enrolling in an accredited school

The stories of colleges closing their doors and leaving their leaners with thousands of dollars in debt and few places to turn have been making headlines in recent years. Though this is clearly not the fault of the learner, there is something prospective students can do when researching degree programs and colleges, and that’s to research whether the college is accredited. There are differences between national and regional accreditation, but the bottom line is you want to be sure the college in which you enroll is one of the two. If it’s not, you run a huge risk of not only becoming part of another headline, but not having transferrable college credits if you decide to pursue another degree in the future. You can research accreditations easily on the U.S. Department of Education website.

Not engaging enough with classmates and instructors

Perhaps one of the biggest perks of earning an online degree is the structure which allows learners to complete coursework on their schedule without the restrictions of an on-ground classroom setting. However, some learners forget that just because they aren’t on a brick and mortar campus doesn’t mean they shouldn’t engage with classmates as much as possible. Not only will some interactions with fellow classmates likely be a course requirement, it’s a great way to make connections and help each other out with challenging topics and assignments. Take advantage of the access your learning management system, email, and social media give you to those taking classes with you. The more you connect, the better experience you are likely to have.

Thinking it will be a walk in the park

While convenient and flexible, online courses are anything but easy. Thinking they are can be a mistake shared among online adult learners beginning their online education journey. The simple fact is that while classes are usually consolidated and completed in a shorter timeframe than traditional college classes, this also means they are usually more demanding. Keep in mind you will have just as much coursework to complete in a shorter amount of time. Before enrolling in your first class, research how much time you are going to need to set aside for coursework as well as what resources you are going to need in addition to those the college provides so you can start on the right track.

Not managing their time

Effective time management can make you or break you as an online adult college student. It takes some skill to juggle an online course load as well as job and family obligations. Not setting aside enough time for studying, coursework, and online discussions with fellow classmates can upside is there are tools available to help you carve out enough time for school and everyday life events. You can fill out a time management worksheet and even view recorded webinars on the subject. Try them out so you can establish some balance.

Not avoiding distractions

Being able to attend class from the comfort of your own home can be both a blessing and a curse. While it’s nice to not have to commute to a campus or even get out of your pajamas to attend class, attempting to study on your sofa or easy chair can come with serious distractions. Not eliminating those distractions is a common misstep you’ll want to avoid. The best way to eliminate distractions is to identify them first. Know what keeps you from being focused. If it’s the TV, try to study from a room without one to avoid the disturbance. If you are one who likes to look at your phone frequently, turn the ringer and notification alerts off, or leave it in another room so you aren’t tempted to text, check sports scores, or social media posts. If you have the space in your home, create a designated study room or area for yourself. This will allow you to be distraction-free so you can complete coursework in a timelier manner.

You might also enjoy reading these articles:

Are Accelerated Online Courses Right for Me?
Top Reasons Why a College Degree is a Valuable Asset
Signs it’s Time to Finish Your Degree

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