There’s no doubt that taking advantage of top-quality online learning programs such as those we offer can be an excellent way to prepare for an exciting and rewarding new career. Online training allows you to study at your own pace without the pressure of a typical classroom environment. You also get the benefit of studying at a time and place that is most convenient for your schedule. You can easily access Vista College programs on a 24/7 basis from any Web-enabled computer.
Taking college classes online, however, can pose a unique set of challenges — especially if you are more accustomed to learning in a traditional brick-and-mortar classroom setting. What follows are a few tips that can help you avoid common pitfalls and maximize your online learning experience.
Effectively Manage Your Limited Time
If you’re like many Vista College online students, you are already juggling multiple work and family obligations. To ensure you have the uninterrupted study time you need to succeed, effective time management is crucial.
It’s a good idea to sit down with your family and work out a schedule that provides the time you need to study at home without neglecting the needs of your loved ones. If there is only one computer in your household, you may have to limit the time your kids spend online to ensure you have adequate study time.
Upgrade Your Equipment
Constant technical issues can derail your online learning experience. If you are using an outdated computer that does not meet the technical requirements of the course or learning institution, you should strongly consider upgrading to a newer model equipped with the latest features, programs, etc.
A larger monitor/screen can also make it easier to view the online material. Think of purchasing a new computer as a sound investment in your future that will provide many long-term dividends.
Find the Right Study Spot
A great benefit of studying online is that it offers a mobile learning solution. If you own or have access to a laptop computer and there are too many distractions at home, you can find an environment that is more conducive to studying.
Options include the local library, an Internet café or coffee shop, or anywhere else you can find a quiet spot that offers Internet access. You may have to experiment with several locations until you find one that is suitable.
Unlike in a traditional classroom setting, online learning gives you the opportunity to repeat lessons/assignments as often as you wish. If you are not comfortable with your level of understanding after a particular lesson, go through it again until you have mastered the material. Repeating lessons is also a great way to prepare for upcoming quizzes/exams.
Engage Your Instructors
Vista College programs are taught by knowledgeable instructors who have a strong academic background and plenty of hands-on, real-world experience that they are willing to share. Use the available online tools to engage your instructors in discussion or ask questions about areas in which you may be having difficulty. In addition to enhancing your learning experience, this can help you overcome feelings of isolation that can sometimes accompany online studying.
Take Advantage of Supplemental Learning Materials
Many Vista College courses include textbooks and other “hard-copy” materials to supplement the online learning tools. Use these materials as valuable study aids when you may not have access to a computer, such as during lunch breaks at work, while waiting for an appointment or when exercising on a treadmill or stationary bicycle.
Switch Between Courses
If you are taking multiple online courses at one time, it can be helpful to switch between classes during extended periods of studying. This can help to break up the monotony and keep your mind fresh and active, while also ensuring you are not devoting too much or too little time to a particular course.
Also be sure to take short and frequent breaks during marathon study sessions to help you stay alert and avoid eye strain. Even a five-minute break every hour can do wonders for your attention span.
Take Copious Notes
While online learning gives you constant access to the course materials so you can go back and review at your leisure, it can still be beneficial to jot down notes as you progress through the course. The simple act of writing something down reinforces what you’ve learned and further imbed the materials into your memory. As with hard-copy study materials, you can use your notes as an effective review tool whenever you have free time and are not near a computer.