Nurses taking online courses can gain an edge over their peers when they develop effective study habits. Here are five strategies for success in online learning.
1. Stick to a Schedule
Basic time management is one of the most important strategies for success in online learning. Keep a calendar to keep track of times to review the lecture notes, do homework, take exams and submit assignments. The most successful online students rely on their own customized schedule to balance classes with work and family obligations. Maintaining a daily to-do list can help you stay on target and prevent work from piling up.
2. Be Organized
Before your coursework starts, decide if you want to keep all of your notes on an electronic device or if you prefer hard copies. If you maintain them electronically, be sure you can access your notes from any location and can easily find files you need. Free tools such as Google Docs and Evernote are helpful for those who have a digital preference. These options, and others, also have mobile apps available, which means you can review notes during downtime at work. In addition, make sure you back up your work, so you do not lose anything if your computer fails or you run into some other technological difficulty. With today’s external drives and cloud-based options, your work should always be safe and backed up.
3. Be Persistent
Technical issues or other roadblocks can derail your progress while you take an online course. Successful students focus on workarounds for when problems do arise. They maintain a positive attitude and get the work done despite the difficulties. These students also take the initiative to head off unexpected announcements and assignments by logging into the course daily.
4. Build a Network With Other Students
It can be challenging to stay on top of a course when balancing a nursing career and school, so building a peer network can be extremely useful. Not all courses promote the creation of study groups, but it may be beneficial to set one up anyway. Sharing email addresses and scheduling meetings to exchange notes can go a long way in ensuring no one in the group misses any vital information. If the course has a message board, being an active participant is a great way to reap the benefits of a study group without committing to a fixed schedule. If you have not enrolled in a program yet, consider asking your fellow RNs if they might be interested in joining the program with you. That way you have at least one nearby study buddy.
5. Ask Instructors for Help When You Need It
Some online students feel disconnected from their professors because they do not see them face to face, but online learning actually offers a unique opportunity for professors to give more personalized instruction to students. If a professor has an online lecture, participate in the discussion and ask questions. Do not be afraid to send the professor an email asking for additional resources if you do not understand the information presented. Many professors teaching in online courses also make themselves more available to students through digital means such as text, phone calls or video chat.
Students who want to be successful online learners should be self-motivated and proactive in their studies. By using these tips in your online courses, you can set yourself up for success. The persistence and organization required for online learning are healthy habits to carry into your career.
Learn more about the Purdue Northwest online RN to BSN program.
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