Online learning is growing increasingly popular with working students and students with children. While this method of learning is more accessible and affordable than traditional courses, it can also require more discipline. To succeed in an online program, students must increase their self-discipline, reduce the possibility of distractions and properly manage their time.

Online Distractions

Online learning requires logging into the Internet each time you want to read a lecture, download reading materials, participate in a discussion or submit work. Just being online can be distracting to students. The temptation of exploring and wasting time are abundant; alarms and popups of social media, games, TV shows and surfing the web can lead students to waste hours before completing a single school-related task. If students find they cannot exercise the proper disciple to resist these temptations, they should actively log-out and switch off all devices that could draw their attention away from their work.

Offline Distractions

It's not only the World Wide Web that tempts students away from schoolwork. Offline distractions such as family, chores and career projects can pull students away from their online classes. To limit offline distractions, create a private and quiet study space that you can escape to when it is time to do your school work. Manage your time such that you complete day-to-day chores and tasks before logging in to the online campus; this way you will have less of a chance to make an excuse to leave the virtual classroom.

Procrastination

Often online classes provide students a wider range of freedom in terms of when they need to read a text, listen to a lecture or complete an assignment. However, the lack of a daily log-in structure can lead students to repeatedly procrastinate on their assignments because they assume they can complete them any time. In this way students can fall behind and have too much work to make up. Also, since the virtual classroom lacks traditional forms of in-class discussion students are expected to participate in online discussions, with each student being required to contribute a certain number of posts. Saving these posts until the last moment can force students to rush in the last minute, which can hinder the quality of their work.

Don't Underestimate Online Learning

Students must remember distance learning is not an effortless alternative to the traditional face-to-face school structure. In fact, because of the absence of in-person interactions, the workload for online classes is often heavier than that of traditional classes. Kankakee Community College reminds students that online courses "maintain the same rigor and high standards that its classroom courses do." Knowing the responsibility and workload that education through the internet requires is key to students creating their own disciplined and focused programs of study.