25 April 2011
Every student develops their own unique study habits to help them succeed, and some of these habits are more effective than others. Regardless of whether you’re starting a new program, wishing to improve your GPA, or looking for a way to better organize yourself, you may find some of the tips listed below helpful.
- Know Your Learning Style. Auditory learners learn best through hearing; tactile learners do best with hands-on methods; visual learners excel when using visual aids. Determine which type of learner you are and proceed accordingly.
- Take Thorough Notes That YOU Understand. If you’re the type that learns simply from reading, then you’ll most likely find that detailed, text-heavy notes are useful. If you’re a visually-oriented person however, try using symbols & doodles to assist you with note taking. Also, make note of any words or phrases that the teacher seems to place extra emphasis on.
- Color Code Your Notes & Assignments. Use highlighters, markers, or multi-colored page tabs to color code your notes and assignments. This way, you’ll have a much easier time preparing for major tests and assignments.
- Write Down All Assignments. This may seem like an obvious task, but far too many individuals do not complete assignments on time because they didn’t write them down and simply forgot about them. If you use a planner, it may be best for you to write your assignments there. If not, you may want to try writing the assignment on a post-it note and then placing it amongst your notes accordingly, or even saving it in your cell phone’s event planner.
- Always Turn Your Assignments in On Time. When you’ve finished an assignment, why not post it to your online classroom immediately? If for some reason you’re not going to be able to complete or post an assignment on time, it’s important that you communicate with your professor.
- Designate a Study Area at Home. Whether you need absolute silence with bright light or dim lights and soft music, designate an area at home that meets your needs and study in that area, making sure that you are uninterrupted.
- Prepare Yourself Physically for Big Assignments.
In addition to studying for a test, you should always make sure that you eat properly and provide your body with the nutrition that it needs. A malnourished body generally will not do well on a test. Likewise, be sure to get enough sleep so that you’re fully alert and on your "A-game."
- Don't Procrastinate. This is the one that gets even the best students at one point or another. It’s always easy to say, "this can wait until tomorrow," but once you’ve put off the task at hand for a few tomorrow’s, you might find yourself with a once-minor task that has grown into a seemingly insurmountable one. If you can do something today, why wait? Just get it finished so that you can move onto other projects.
- Stay Positive. It's easy to fall into a pattern of negative thought, especially if the subject you’re studying is one that doesn’t particularly hold your interest. If you find yourself grumbling and groaning about doing class work for a subject that isn’t your favorite, try to remind yourself why you enrolled in class in the first place. Think ahead to the future, and remember that this is just a part of what needs to be done in order to reach your goals.
21 April 2011
According to Reuters, the University Of Missouri Columbia School Of Health Professions has been able to determine some traits that successful online students tend to have. Clinical assistant professor Shawna Strickland performed a study regarding the demographics as well as personalities of individuals in online programs.
The study, titled “Understanding Successful Characteristics of Adult Learners,” revealed that those introverted, quiet individuals were more likely to be comfortable taking classes online. Whereas such individuals tend to be withdrawn in the traditional class setting, online provides a way for these folks to complete work on their own and do so anonymously.
Also cited are additional research findings from Southampton University, which demonstrates that of the two learning styles – active and passive – active learners are actually more successful because they retain more information, demonstrate better cognitive processes, have a longer attention span and will interact more with classmates and professors. Passive learners however, may struggle with joining class discussions.
Online Education serves to work to the benefit of both types of learners, because the anonymous collaboration makes it easier for passive learners to engage with their professors & classmates. Strickland is quoted, saying: "Correlations between learning styles and success in distance education have shown to be inconclusive. However, one common theme reappears: the successful traits of a distance learner are similar to the successful traits of an adult learner in traditional educational settings."
14 April 2011
By now, you’re probably hearing about it everywhere, from your morning television news program to articles online: spring cleaning. Usually, they tell you about how to de-clutter specific rooms in your house, the areas to which you should pay special attention, and how to decide which items you should part with. Although not often applied to one’s studies, the same idea could work for you, wherever you happen to be in your online degree program. We often get so busy staying on top of our coursework, not to mention our work and family responsibilities, that things can start to get a little…well…messy. Now is as convenient a time as any to de-clutter your academic life and maybe you’ll even learn something new in the process.
You’ve most likely held onto notes from previous classes, but they may not be in the most organized format. Take an hour or two to peruse these artifacts of past courses. You’ll refresh your memory on some of the concepts you’ve learned, and you may also be able to weed out redundant notes.
If you really want to be productive at it, you might even consider organizing your notes by subject, importance, or another system you find handy.
You may also find it helpful to use your time to organize yourself for future courses. Since you likely have a general idea of what’s coming up, you can set aside notes and readings you think might help you down the road.
While it’s ideal to always keep your coursework organized, it’s not always feasible. Use spring cleaning as an excuse to set yourself up for future success.