In today’s tech centric society, online education has become an ever more popular choice for our learning needs. There are numerous institutions offering online courses and programs that help non-traditional students obtain the degrees they desire. Online learning is a wonderful choice for many different types of students. However, there are several challenges that online learners may face in the online classroom.

Because most of us grew up in a traditional learning atmosphere, making the transition to an online classroom environment can be a struggle. While it is in no way impossible to adjust to a new way of learning, many students struggle with the flexible, self-motivated nature of online education. As new (or veteran) students to the world of online education, take note of these three tips to help you become more successful in the online classroom.

Create a Consistent Schedule

distance learningOne of the most basic differences between a traditional brick and mortar college experience and an online learning situation is the class schedule difference. Online classes rarely require students to “attend” class at a specific time. Students choose when they would like to do their work and complete their assignments within a given time.

This can be a serious issue for many students who have grown up with the structured scheduling of most traditional schools. It is imperative for online students to develop a regular and consistent class schedule of their own to be successful as an online student. Choose a specific time that you will review class materials and complete your assignments. You should stick to this schedule as carefully as possible. It can be easy to fall behind in an online class with less structure than you are used to. Create a schedule and impose it upon yourself strictly to stay on top of your work.

Find a Successful Study Area

While working from the comfort of your own home can be a huge luxury involved with online learning, it can also pose some challenges. The atmosphere and location in which you do your learning is one of the most essential factors of successful learning. Doing schoolwork out of your personal space can make it difficult to maintain focus. Our homes are typically the place we go to relax. Our minds are not in school mode when we are in our own personal spaces for the most part. For this reason, it is essential that you create an at-home classroom that is conducive to learning.

Pick an area of your home that is away from distraction and noise. You want to try to study and work in the same spot every time so that you can train your mind and body to view this place as an environment for concentration and deep thought. Do not put your study area in your bedroom, in front of a television, or at the dining room table. Each of these areas are for different activities. You want your study space to be a space only for learning and thinking.

Mind Your Equipment

Obviously, if you are completing courses online, your computer is an essential aspect of your education. It is important as a distance learner to maintain a healthy computer and system. Blaming late assignments on malfunctions with technologies or devices is the oldest trick in the book and just won’t cut it in the online learning world. As a responsible online learner, you have to take dedicated care of your computer. Back up your material on an external hard drive or with a cloud system, so that you are sure not to lose any of your important school documents. You should regularly update your computer and be sure to keep it in its best running order.

While this may sound silly or trite, your education really relies on the success of your computer. Don’t let something silly like a computer error or bug cause you to lose all of your material.