Management & Leadership

Study Online Effectively and Efficiently

Aug 11, 2022 | By Saranne Durham
Study Online Effectively and Efficiently - SACAP
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Choosing to study online opens many avenues. One of the biggest advantages is that you can take courses based wherever you are, from institutions located worldwide. Effectively, the world of learning becomes your oyster when it comes to potential online study options. Many courses offered online also give you the possibility to have a more flexible study schedule. Additionally, there are often full-time and part-time choices. All of which makes studying online a great choice, particularly if you need to work at the same time.

“Online learning creates fantastic study opportunities.”

Potential Challenges to Studying Online

Something that you need to be aware of when you study online, is that not all courses are equal. Therefore, when you’re looking for an online course, the same criteria used to find a campus-based course should be used. Thus, which online course certificate you have at the end of your studies matters. Specifically, if you are looking for employment or if you want to study further. Another factor to consider is that when you study online, you need to be able to self-motivate. Without the comradeship of fellow students next to you, when things get tricky, it can be tough to keep working. Battling to motivate yourself isn’t a deal breaker, there are ways to get external motivation. For example, finding a locally based study buddy or joining an online study group.

“Learning online requires self-motivation.”

What Can’t You Study Online?

Many courses can be studied online. However, some do require in-person learning. Such as automotive classes, which require technical-hands-on training, those which need clinical instruction, are laboratory based or are accredited as face-to-face courses only. However, even for some of these courses some institutions enable students to study part of the course online. Then for the practical side of things, they have existing relationships with organisations to do the practical component through. So, it’s still worth investigating how things might work if you want to do a more practical-based course. Or one with integrated learning opportunities.

Is Online Study More Effective than Traditional Study?

Why study online courses rather than campus-based ones? If you need to study while working or want to augment your existing skill set, then online learning is great. Whether it’s more effective, mostly depends on the student, and then to some degree the course.

There are advantages to in-person lessons. For one, networking with potential future colleagues, participating in campus activities and, for some, living in residences. However, many online courses provide opportunities for e-interaction between students as well as with lecturers and course coordinators. Joining a sports club can take the place of campus-based activities. And, if affordable, you can still opt to live in shared housing or a student dig. Therefore, learning online is neither good nor bad. It’s largely dependent on how you organise your life and make it work for you, within your own context.

How to Study Online Successfully

For many it’s difficult to study, which means it’s hard to study online. However, online learning can be fun and the potential payoffs make it well worth getting it to work for you. Therefore, after selecting your course as a starting point, you need a learning strategy. And within that, an online study timetable.

Top Tips for Successful Learning Online

  1. Wear appropriate clothing.
  2. Choose a suitable electronic background or tidy the space behind you.
  3. Remember to fully charge your devices.
  4. Check your internet’s speed and ensure that you have enough bandwidth.
  5. Be on time.
  6. Unless instructed otherwise, mute your microphone.
  7. To prevent having to jump up and down, have everything you need for class within reach (including a snack).
  8. Make sure that those around you don’t interrupt you while you are in class.
  9. Minimise your distractions, for example don’t sit near a tv that’s on.
  10. During class, don’t post social media links – save memes and jokes for a later time.

10 Ways towards Successful Online Learning without Live Classes:

  1. Understand your course expectations upfront.
  2. Download new programmes, watch a video tutorial and practice using them ahead of needing them.
  3. If you need to get any physical books or print out anything, do it before you need them.
  4. Have a study timetable that:
    • Plots out time to do what each module requires, including watching videos, downloading course material, and submissions.
    • Take into account your daily life requirements.
    • Sets aside time to email questions to course coordinators and facilitators when necessary.
    • Enables you to have downtime to exercise and socialise.
    • Minimise distractions by having a dedicated studying area.
  5. Let people know when you plan to study so that they don’t distract you.
  6. Have rewards prearranged for when you tick something off or achieve a milestone.
  7. Inform your course coordinator or facilitator immediately if you have technical issues, don’t wait and blame them for late or missing submissions.
  8. Backup your work regularly.
  9. Try to find other students who study online; then, to help keep online learning momentum, plan meetups.
  10. Get old tests and work through them – ask your course facilitator for some or look online.

Where can I Study Online?

The South African College of Applied Psychology (SACAP) has three faculties all with certified and internationally recognised courses. They offer multiple online learning opportunities, for those who want to study online. The Applied Psychology faculty offers courses such as counselling and communications skills. Opportunities through the faculty of Management and Leadership include coaching qualifications. And the Social Work and Community Development faculty offers bachelors and masters qualifications. Enquire today about what you can study online or enrol to join an upcoming course.

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