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Distance Learning » How To Be Successful In Distance Learning

How To Be Successful In Distance Learning

Distance Learning can provide an opportunity for personalized learning.  Students spend the time (more time or less time) on the subject they feel they need to spend more time on, and have some flexibility in their own schedule. While these tips provide a solid foundation of how students can find success in distance learning, asking for help is by far, the most important skill that distance learners should utilize.  Lake Elsinore Unified teachers and administration are committed to assisting you with tech needs, connectivity issues, academic concerns, and social emotional support.

1. Set a fixed time to engage in the course work. (Don't Fall Behind)
Those who have never taken distance learning courses may find it difficult to engage without being directed to do so by an instructor in person. Assignments can be put off or forgotten a lot easier in a distance learning course. Being organized and self-disciplined is a necessity.

2. Do not rush through your work. (Take Your Time)

Students often enroll in distance learning courses because they believe they are “easy” or can be completed faster that in-class courses. While you may save the time driving to and from class, you should not count on finishing course work more quickly or distance learning courses being “easier.” In some cases, distance learning courses can be more difficult.

3. Take the time to ask questions and engage instructors. (Ask For Help, Our Job Is To Help You)
Instructors should require dynamic interactivity in a distance learning course. A good course will require the student interact with instructors and/or peers to collaborate and learn. Just because the course is offered over a computer doesn’t mean you don’t have the right to ask a question about the content. In fact, a good instructor will ensure students know questions are welcomed and encouraged, if not required. This is an important educational standard that should not be neglected.

4. Explore the technology (See What The Buttons Do, Before the Assignment Is Due)
There is no worse feeling than being required to do something you aren’t prepared to do. It can feel overwhelming especially if you have a short amount of time to complete it. Distance learning courses have historically high dropout rates often because students wait until the last minute to complete the assignment and then get frustrated with being behind. Seek out instructional videos or tutorials made available to you. Taking a little time upfront to complete the appropriate technology orientation will save you a lot of time later and ensure you understand when instructions are provided that require use of the technology. If you have to wait until the last minute, at least take time soon after the assignment is made to understand what you need to do.

5. If in a collaborative environment, choose your colleagues carefully. (Ask Others For Their Perspective)
If you have the option of choosing colleagues in a cooperative group, don’t leave this choice to chance. When collaborating with other students, notice who is excelling at their work in discussion posts or other interactions and then team up with the sharpest people you identify. When it comes to projects, you’ll be glad you have a team full of those who will actually contribute to the project. 

6. Use alarms and calendars to ensure your benchmarks and course milestones are met. (Stay Organized)
Good organizational skills is one of the keys to being successful in distance learning courses. Once you get your syllabus or course plans, record all important dates on your calendar. Ask for clarification often.

7. Social learners beware.
Good instructors should design collaborate exercises to ensure students learn from their social experiences and not neglect students who have a propensity to learn socially. Know that you may learn as much about people from the collaboration exercises and projects as you do about the course content or topic itself.  You will have daily, live interaction with your teachers, make the most of it.

Adapted from IACET, 2016