4 Learning Goals for Online Classes

By Alicia Geigel on October 27, 2017

Taking online classes is completely different than the classic, classroom method of learning. As someone who is currently taking online classes and has taken them for years in the past, I can attest to this as I’m sure you can too!

As some of my readers may know (or not know), my junior year, I moved back home with my parents from my off-campus apartment. This adjustment was a big one for me as there were many factors that I had to consider when organizing a class schedule for the next semester, factors that I did not have to think about when living on campus.

Now a commuter student, I had to consider researching train schedules, factor in commuting times, and pick classes that worked within my schedule of commuting to and from school. One of the greatest options I took (and still take) advantage of is the choice of online courses.

Online courses can give you not only the opportunity to efficiently balance classes as well as time but also more freedom to engage in other activities outside of class like work, sports, etc. Because online classes are different, learning styles and goals may also be different as well. If you are considering online classes or are currently taking online classes and are looking for some advice on how to optimize your learning experience, my four tips will help!

1. Find your motivation, then use it!

Finding motivation for class is not just exclusive to online classes, but can apply to all. Online classes, however, are different from regular classroom ones because they are 100 percent virtual and are attended/completed at home. Because of this, you are way more vulnerable to distractions that can make it hard to be motivated to sit down at your desk for an hour or so and dedicate time to your online class.

A great way to fuel your motivation is to write out a schedule of tasks to do each day for your online courses; include a time period and the length of time it will take you to accomplish your task, as this will help you to hold yourself accountable and stay on top of your to-do list! Furthermore, if you find that you really have trouble sticking to deadlines or starting on time, set alarms and timers on your phone to remind you when you would like to start something and time it to avoid getting distracted.

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2. Cut distractions

Speaking of distractions, when you are engaging in your online class, try to take preemptive measures to reduce distractions. Social media, texting, music, and television are all huge distractions that can affect your participation in online classes.

One of the biggest tips I can offer is to take breaks when you feel that you deserve one, perhaps to get a snack or something, and set a timer. During your break you can have the freedom to be consumed by all of your distractions; however, once that timer ends, get back to work! Doing so again helps build self-discipline and pushes you to get your work done faster.

If you’re looking for a more in-depth article on online class distractions and tips, check out my article here!

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3. Evaluate the routine of your teacher/course

Not all teachers run their courses the same way, and when it comes to online courses, you will find that some teachers hold virtual meetings while others encourage discussion board participation. Evaluating these differences is important when it comes to your learning style because you can distinguish which kind of approach works best for you and which ones don’t come as easy.

Because of the nature of online courses, teachers and professors have to be mainly available through email or some other form of contact, which allows for you to get in touch with them at any time to voice any questions or concerns you have about your learning pace or your progress in the course.

Being in contact with your professor in an online course is especially important since they cannot gauge all the time when you are struggling and/or what you are struggling with.

4. Be engaged

Online classes make it easy for students to disengage and participate as much as they only have to. A great learning goal for online courses, though simple, is to be engaged. Review your course documents regularly, engage with students on a steady basis (not at the last minute every time), and participate not just when you need to, but when something sticks out to you in the material! Not only will this show your professor that you are interested and invested in the course, but it will also enhance your own learning experience!

Image via Pexels 

Though online courses can mistakenly be viewed as easy or unengaging, they are quite the opposite and there are many learning goals that you can have when taking them! Always remember that taking courses online does not make you any less of a student or whatever criticism you may have heard before. Everyone has goals, and I hope you can use my advice to form your own goals when taking online courses!

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