SolveYourProblem Article Series: Online Degrees
Is An Online Degree Program For Me?


Can My Learning Style Affect My Online Degree Success?

YES. In the world of online schooling, your learning style can definitely affect your success in obtaining a degree. Some students excel with an online study program, while others benefit more from a traditional college. Here are some things to think about when deciding if online schooling is right for you.

Are you able to maintain a study schedule on your own, or do you need someone to enforce it? When studying online you must be able to discipline yourself to studying regularly. There are no assigned class schedules or teachers to help keep you on track. You must be able to find and maintain study hours without getting distracted. You will be responsible for your own deadlines for turning in exams and assignments.

Do you manage time well? You will need to be able to arrange time for your schooling around everything else in your life without the benefit of regular classes. This might mean having time to attend any on campus study periods or labs, going to the library to do research, or finding time to type your term papers. Some schools require a minimum amount of logged hours per course, which would have to be fit into your schedule. You should not feel pressured about things you are not getting done in school while going about the rest of your life, and vice versa. You need to be able to differentiate between your school time and your personal time. If you are running around like crazy and not getting anything done then you will not be very successful.

How social are you? Is the day-to-day interaction with other students a prime motivator for your education? Do you prefer group projects to private study? Do you need face time with the professor in order to understand the material? If so, then online schooling might not be for you. Online students need to be self-motivators, be able to work well alone, and be able to glean most of their information from reading versus actual lectures. You will often need to work independently from other students. Information sharing is different as well, and you will need to be comfortable with the use chat rooms or email for exchange of ideas, instead of just face-to-face exchange. Group projects with students who are thousands of miles away present their own challenges, so you must be able to have patience and understanding when working with other students. There is also a good possibility that other students are not going to be on the same work schedule as you, so finding a study group may be difficult.

How comfortable are you with your instructors? With online study you will have more direct one-on-one communication with your instructor than in a regular classroom, but it will not be face to face. You must be able to accept direction from your teacher, as well as be comfortable asking questions or having personal conversations with them. You must have patience and understanding that responses may not be instantaneous.

Where and when do you learn best? Do you do your best work at a desk in a classroom or with your feet up in the recliner at home? Are you more able to focus on studies during the day or the late hours of the night? If you prime learning time is at 3 am and the prime place is your apartment sofa, then you might get more out of an online degree. On the flipside, if you are better at learning in a more focused environment during the daytime a traditional college might be better for you. The times of day that you have more drive and energy are going to be better times to study than those where you are completely worn out and unfocused.

How do you learn best? Can you get the information that you need from reading? Do you need to have items explained to you? Are you better with a hands-on approach? Online course have an extreme amount of reading and writing involved. There is also no professor to immediately ask questions to. Most of the time questions will need to be submitted via email or chat and then you have to wait for a response.

Online course can be extremely effective if your style of learning meshes with them. If it does not, you will be much better off seeking an alternative route.

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