Tips for Successful Engagement in Online Courses

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There’s no doubt that online learning has become a more permanent staple in the everyday lives of students. While it offers some new and exciting benefits that could very well change the landscape of education as we know it now, it’s important to explore how one can remain successful when engaging in online learning.

Students that migrate from in-person learning to online may encounter some challenges and difficulties previously unbeknownst to them.  So we’ve come up with a list of tips for online learners to ensure they have the best chance at succeeding in this new world of education!

Remove Distractions

Picture your high school days when you would be studying for a big math test.  The television over your right shoulder would be throwing extraordinary images right at your eyes pulling you away from that pesky equation.  Your phone would emit an irresistible aura that compelled you to pick it up and text your bestie, “this math test is literally gonna kill me LOL.”  Before you knew it, 12am had rolled around and that sinking feeling would hit you like a Mack truck.  You were gonna fail the test. 

Allowing yourself to be free from distractions can be challenging.  There are steps you can take to reduce the difficulty of that challenge.  Actively removing distractions, creating distance between you and the things that call your name in sweet temptation, will reduce your odds of losing focus on the task at hand.

Distractions can be noisy things, some you can control, and others being a product of your environment.  A solution many find solace in is listening to music while studying material.  Others may work best in a quiet place.  Planning ahead should make this task easier!

Anything with a screen should be an automatic no-go, except the device you choose to complete the work on.  Turn notifications off while you’re at it.

Working in a messy environment may also be construed as a distraction. If you can’t use your study space as intended, your goal is being impeded.  Messes distract you visually and physically.  Clean-up your space!

People are also a major distraction.  Whether you like it or not, your partner, child, best friend, or parent could stop you from achieving your set goals.  Never neglect, but try and communicate some quiet time if you can.  Remaining distraction-free is the key to staying on-task and focused.

Create a Schedule and Adhere to it

With the largest difference between in-person and online learning being personal accountability, it can be overwhelming.  In-person education offers the familiar structure of having a time and place to learn.  Online throws caution to the wind and allows students the freedom to operate on their own terms within certain guidelines, of course.

To avoid falling victim to procrastination and disregarding seemingly insignificant work, you should create a structured schedule to follow.  While you might have a job, children, or other responsibilities that may trump focusing on school.  Try and set aside a specific time in your day to tend to your studies. Get a planner and calendar to track due dates and keep your assignments in order.

Set reminders each day if you must to keep yourself on track.  Reminders won’t do any good to someone who does not have the desire to do the work. Remember the goal, and remember what you’re trying to accomplish.

Ask Questions

Communication is key!  Asking questions when you need clarification on material or when curiosity strikes will open up a channel to your instructor.  Learning doesn’t have to be a one way ticket to lecture-ville, and you certainly aren’t just a receptacle for an informative tirade.  

Creating a line of communication to your instructor and other peers promotes a safety net of sorts.  You don’t want to struggle alone when there are wonderful resources in reach.

Your instructor could also offer some personal anecdotes providing insight to the world you will be entering very shortly.  That’s an opportunity you might have otherwise missed had you not asked questions!

Take Notes

It is a well-known fact that writing information down creates an easier pathway for your brain to take whenever it comes time to recall.  Listen attentively to any live instructor or recorded media and transcribe the key points for future reference.  Taking notes will allow you to have a home-made study guide, accessible at any time!  

It should go without saying that an online learner should have continual access to the equipment required to succeed, i.e. computer, and stable internet connection.

Online classes are not a lesser form of learning or something to be taken lightly.  If one is to pursue a learning endeavor, the medium in which it is achieved should be irrelevant.

Approach online courses with the same rigor and intellectual honesty that one would an in-person course.  Follow these tips to succeed in an online environment!


Southern Careers Institute offers a variety of different programs that train students in different tasks to prepare them for their future. With eight campuses in Texas along with online programs, it is SCI’s mission to provide employer-tailored programs to students, whether students prefer in-person schooling or online learning. To learn more about the programs, start dates, and financial aid, click here. 

This article was published on: 03/2/22 1:35 AM

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