Study Skills

For the Online Adult Learner
by Jennifer Dyer original article

The Five Online Study Success Factors

You can pursue a college degree or professional certificate at home, at sea, or from a remote duty station with online education. The virtual classroom allows returning students to balance their studies with career and family. While successful e-learning requires self-discipline, distance education can work if you have the right technological know-how and e-savvy study skills.

Technically Speaking
Students must be comfortable with course technology when education takes place in cyberspace.

  • Whether course content is delivered by Internet, video, audio, or print, test all class components before the term starts.
  • Know where to get technical support.
  • Keep hard copies of course materials in a binder, including lectures, exams, office hours, and discussion groups.

Prepare Yourself

When you bring the classroom into your home or berthing space, it can be challenging for you to take learning seriously, let alone your family or coworkers. To overcome this pitfall, create an environment that helps you excel.
  • Find a quiet space and tell roommates not to interrupt. Study at night or get childcare if you need it.
  • When you're in your virtual classroom, act like it. Ignore everything outside of class, and don't get sidetracked.
  • Order textbooks in advance and survey course material before classes begin.

Time Manager
Effective time management can make the difference between success and failure when you juggle education with family and work.

  • Plan regular periods throughout the week for your coursework. Commit to this schedule as if you were attending an actual class.
  • Develop a course study plan. List assignments and deadlines on a calendar and check them off as you complete them. Don't procrastinate.
  • Distance courses take as much time as regular classes. Plan to study two hours weekly per credit. Never enroll in more courses than you can handle.
  • Create a "to do" list that prioritizes tasks according to need: A for today, B for next week, and C for later. Learn to say no to other requests for your time.

E-Savvy Studying
Distance learners need to adapt traditional study habits and develop good study skills designed for online learning.

  • Follow a regular study schedule that includes short breaks to reenergize.
  • Use an effective study system to process course information.
  • Participate regularly to enhance learning. Stay in touch with your professors, use discussion boards, and join a study group.
  • Learning independently doesn't mean that you're alone. Ask for help when you need it.

Family and Work Matters

Don't forget to communicate and collaborate with your employer and family. Their support will upgrade your chances for success.
  • Lighten your load by arranging in advance to reduce work responsibilities or share housework.
  • Set aside two hours every weekend to spend with loved ones and friends.
  • Be flexible, but plan ahead. A work deadline may make cramming for an exam

With distance education, your dream is only a mouse click away.

We can help...

Contact us with your questions, concerns or suggestions by e-mail at or 912-358-4161, or stop by our office in the Colston Administration Building on the SSU campus.