More and more university students have experienced distance learning courses. There are two typical profiles of distance learning students. A first profile concerns students enrolled in a regular program, the majority of which are taught in class, on the university campus. Several study programs offer distance learning courses within their structure, which provides more flexibility in the schedule of students who can thus better reconcile their studies, their work and their personal life. Thus, during their training, the majority of regular students will have the opportunity to register for this type of course. Other students carry out their training entirely remotely. These are often students who live in another city, province or country or who need a great deal of flexibility in their schedule. Distance education makes it easier for them to access university-level courses without having to travel to campus.

Whether the training is carried out partially or remotely, the course requirements are the same or equivalent.

Tips and tools for a successful distance learning course

Motivation and personal characteristics

Regardless of the type of education, various factors contribute to success and persistence in studies. Among these factors, motivation is a key factor. Thus, good motivation can encourage you to direct your actions and to invest in the achievement of a goal. By the fact that the students must manage autonomously the required tasks, the online courses impose a certain adaptation. Thus, for some students, this will entail an additional requirement in terms of motivation.

Motivation specialists distinguish two types of motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic. From an academic perspective, intrinsic motivation is based on personal aspects, such as your interest in the subject of a course, your perception of the value of a course, and your sense of competence in your learning. As for extrinsic motivation, it is more based on external factors, such as aiming for high marks or obtaining a diploma. Other factors are also likely to affect motivation to study, including the structure of a course, coaching and feedback with leaders, and social aspects. A good intrinsic motivation would help to better engage and persevere in school tasks.

If your academic motivation is sometimes inconsistent or if you feel that it needs to be improved, here are some avenues to think about in this regard. These reflections can help you give meaning to your training and thus act on your motivation:

First, think globally about your reasons for taking up your studies and your goals (e.g., your reason for starting your studies, your choice of program or discipline, your academic goals and professionals you are pursuing, the methods or skills you wish to develop or acquire, etc.).

Ask yourself more specifically what the course or training can bring you on a personal level (e.g. acquire new knowledge, carry out new learning, learn work methods, benefit from course content and assignments required, either to do well in other courses or to refer to them in a future job, etc.) and come back to the advantages of getting down to work (personal satisfaction, surpassing oneself, reduced anxiety, etc. ).

Think about the advantages of taking distance learning courses (eg having more flexibility in the schedule and pace, learning new ways of working, achieving a regular and independent pace of work, etc.).

Other strategies applied daily could also help you better cope with distance learning:

Don’t obey the negative thoughts that might dissuade you from getting to work, and don’t wait until you feel ready and motivated. Instead, start the activities planned for your classes without delay, even if it means achieving a smaller goal. Motivation is found in action!

Actively participate in the discussion forums associated with the courses.

Carry out formative evaluations according to your rate of progress in the subject to properly assimilate the content and thus increase your chances of achieving the course objectives. A good mastery of the subject contributes to motivation.

Chat with colleagues and friends about the subject and your learning. In addition to maintaining interest in the material, it can help you revise for an exam. It also helps to clarify your ideas for writing a long work. Reward yourself for completing the task and give yourself time to rest so that you can balance your studies and other areas of your life.

Keep a journal of your accomplishments.

Nurture your sense of competence by maintaining a constructive attitude and focusing your attention on the positive (eg what you have learned or developed, etc.) rather than on gaps or difficulties. Relativize the importance of grades and be lenient with yourself by giving yourself room for mistakes.

Think back to other study situations where your motivation was good and identify what worked well, the factors involved, etc. If possible, try to recreate similar conditions.

Time management and organization

Distance learning sites are built from lesson plans. So, to properly distribute your workload and be able to meet the established deadlines (i.e. be ready to take your exam on the set date or even hand in your work on time), The teacher recommends that you do certain activities (reading, viewing commented videos or PowerPoint, etc.) every week. Distance courses have the advantage of allowing you to adapt your schedule according to your other constraints (eg doing a little less a week and catching up the following week). However, if you tend to postpone until the next day, it is strongly recommended to respect the pace suggested by the teacher. Not all students have the same way of organizing their time. It’s up to you to determine what works best for you. The following tips can help you manage your time throughout the session and thus help reduce stress: