Staying motivated while enrolled in online classes can be a challenge. Students may be forced outside of their comfort zones. Barriers such as procrastination, feelings of isolation and absence of support make matriculating online a major adjustment for some students. In addition, some students find an inadequate level of technical knowledge to further complicate issues. Recognizing the obstacles associated with studying online should encourage you to focus on your educational goals more aggressively.

Procrastination

Many students in online classes have to juggle external factors, such as family, work and various other daily responsibilities, in addition to school. Having to set aside time to complete assignments can be a struggle, and the convenience of online classes can eventually become an inconvenience for perpetual procrastinators. The consequences of procrastination could result in you not succeeding in college. Consistently turning in assignments late or not studying for tests can lead to you earning failing grades in your courses. Although most students do not intend to procrastinate, the flexibility of online learning combined with everyday life commitments causes many students to fall victim to procrastination. According to Sean Chamberlain, college professor and educational researcher at Fullerton College in California, procrastination is a major concern in an online course because you do not have an instructor there in person to remind you of course responsibilities. Self-discipline is essential.

Isolation and Absence of Institutional Support

Online learners sometimes feel isolated because they are unaware of the services and resources at their disposal. Because online classes are not conducted on campus, some students feel they are not connected and are excluded from receiving important information. Online students tend to feel disconnected because there are no face-to-face connections with people. You are forced to be proactive about reaching out to each other by using the online chat options within the course or forming online student groups or class Facebook pages. Likewise, you have to seek out institutional resources available to you, such as the health center, tutoring labs and the library. East Carolina University offers the same institutional services to distance-learning and traditional students, and this is the practice of most colleges and universities. However, online students need to know that these services are available.

Inadequate Technical Competence

Online learners are required to maintain an up-to-date computer and other technology tools to complete assignments. In addition, students should have a basic level of technical knowledge and should feel comfortable navigating the Internet and using email and chat services. Many students enter online classes without a basic technical aptitude, and this puts them at a disadvantage. If you have trouble using the Internet, you will not be able to access assignments or communicate with the instructor. Technical skills are critical to success in an online environment.

Considerations

Colleges and universities realize enrolling in courses via an online environment will be a challenge for students. Many colleges, such as Bakersfield College in Bakersfield, California, offer prospective students a questionnaire to determine whether online classes would be a good fit. In the online learning environment, self-discipline and self-motivation are critical components to success. If you do not possess these traits, you will have difficulty succeeding in online courses.