OrganizeThe first step in being a successful online learner is becoming organized. Successful students plan and organize their study environment, their academic environment, and their time.

Organizing your study environment includes a variety of aspects that allow you to maximize your performance as you concentrate on your coursework. Being mindful of the following questions will allow you to create a foundation for your online learning success.

  • When Will You Study: When are you the most productive? Is it best to do your coursework in the morning or night? What other regularly scheduled commitments do you have? Although ideal, a set time to study during the day can be a challenge, especially for those who work full-time. Many students will take advantage of any break they can find throughout the day to work on their studies. By creating a weekly calendar you can provide the necessary structure that will allow you to effectively manage your time and priorities.
  • Where Will You Study: Have you carved out a specific location where you can study? Do you have other locations where you can be free of distractions? When considering studying away from your primary location, is WiFi available and are electrical outlets accessible are just a few things to consider when creating your location. Many times you are never too far from a McDonald’s or Starbucks, both of which can provide free WiFi and electricity! If you venture outside of the home to study, make sure you have all of your power cords with you. Wherever you decide to study make sure you carry plenty of pens, paper, highlighters and any other study aids you may need readily available.
  • What Will You Study: Have you read through your syllabus? When are your assignments due and will they overlap with other assignments? Be sure to have read your syllabus so you are familiar with your assignments and due dates. Being able to create a term at a glance calendar will allow you to see potential conflicts and allow you to adjust your study plan.
  • How Will You Study: Are you aware of the differences between a visual, kinesthetic or auditory learner? Are you aware of your learning preference?
    • Kinesthetic learners typically learn best by physically doing. These types of learners excel at physical activities, such as athletics and dance or hands-on methods. These learners tend to incorporate real-world examples or look up case studies to help them remember abstract concepts. They ask friends to quiz them out loud or perform the material themselves in front of a mirror. They get out and explore the possibility of field trips, hands-on labs, or exhibits on the topic.
    • Auditory learners typically learn best by listening and talking out loud. They are using the Cornell Note Taking Method and focus on self-quizzing aloud, which has proven to be an effective strategy. Reading their notes or textbooks aloud has also proven to be beneficial. They create flashcards and quiz themselves aloud. Remember, out loud repetition will be most important for an auditory learner so they will need to find a time and place where they can comfortably talk aloud as they study.
    • Visual learners learn best from what they see in pictures, diagrams, flowcharts, timelines, films, and demonstrations. They get more out of written words in conjunction with spoken explanations that allows them to visualize the concept. They often learn best when information is presented both visually and verbally. They rewrite notes replacing words with as many symbols, pictures, or drawings as possible.  Creating visual study aids with multiple colors has also proven to be an effective technique.

These are just a few things to keep in mind as you begin to organize yourself as an online learner.

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