When you begin an online course, you often start with high spirits and a lot of enthusiasm. Perhaps the course will help you move up in your job towards better pay. Maybe you’re simply interested in the subject of the course and want to expand your horizons.
Once the course is underway, though, you may begin to feel your motivation slipping away. Day to day obstacles like work, home and rest can get in the way. You may even wonder why you signed up for the course in the first place.
In online courses, personal motivation is often a key to successful completion. It will help to have a clear idea of what those motivations are. List them before you begin the class work. When motivation begins to wane you can check back on your lists, share them with others in the course and get some moral support to get the spirits high again.
When you sign up for an online study course, you should make a list of questions for yourself and answer each of them honestly. The first list can be about the course itself. For example:
- How is the course presented?
- How is the course going to help me learn?
- How much time will the course take from my day?
- Can I take advantage of this course to the utmost?
Other questions will be about you as a student in the online course:
- Why am I taking this course?
- Why am I taking it on-line instead of attending classes?
- What are my expectations for the course?
- Are those expectations realistic for me?
Reviewing the list
As you work through the course, you should keep this list of questions and answers handy for easy reference. It might not be necessary to check them every day. However, if you find you have skipped a day of study or haven’t taken the time to do your homework for a certain assignment, get that list out and review it again. Decide if your original answers were correct at the time of making the list and if they remain correct when you review them.
In the case of changes in your answers or changes in your motivations, note those down as well. This document can be useful not only in keeping on track during this course: it can help you be better prepared for the next course. If you study the areas where your answers have not changed and compare them with those aspects that have changed, you can see where you need to pay more attention during online study in the future.
Catch the distractions early
Once you’ve made a list of motivational questions and answered them, you should also prepare an accompanying list of possible distractions and obstacles that could happen once the course is underway. This list might include:
- The kids
- The spouse
- The work schedule
Beside each of these distractions note a strategy to meet them. Make sure the kids are occupied during your study time with their own activities; communicate to your spouse the importance of the course; ask your boss to give you a little leeway at work. This is easier in the planning stages than once the course is underway. It will make you more prepared for the course and can help in avoiding stress and falling motivation.
Keep your objectives attainable
One of the principle causes of dropout rates for distance learning is the setting of unattainable objectives. “Learn to play the guitar in twelve weeks” or “Become a Certified Public Accountant in 16 weeks” are sales pitches that can excite a learner at first. Once the course is begun, though, the realization that the objective promised can’t be achieved within the time frame suggested can be very discouraging. This discouragement is fatal to motivation.
When signing up for the course you should study the objectives presented in the course materials carefully. If those objectives seem reasonable to you, then you need to compare those objectives to your personal objectives. You may simply want to get through the course with a passing grade and get the certificate at the end. You may want to use the course as a stepping-stone towards a promotion in your work place. Whatever your own personal objectives, make sure that the course will realistically help you achieve them.
Motivation is what drives us in our lives. It is the source of energy that helps us get through our daily activities. If you keep your motivations clear, make them attainable and reasonable your experience during an online course can be quite rewarding. When you are prepared for distractions with strategies you can keep them at bay when they crop up. Review both your motivations and the possible distractions regularly, as part of your homework during the course. This will make you a conscientious student and can help you reach the end of the course with satisfaction.