Traditionally, most people find the norm in education to involve lectures in physical classrooms. Tutor-student interaction is perceived as being only physical. With innovations, virtual learning has been introduced with varying degrees of success. However, lots of students, and potential students, find virtual learning both difficult and inadequate. To this group, combining student life with work and other commitments is no small feat. Self-motivation and managing distractions represent significant challenges to the distance student. Again, this is largely due to the traditional expectations that learning should be restricted to the four walls of a physical classroom.
As a first-time distance learning student, my experience thus far and from an informal interview with a friend (also on a distance learning program) has been informative. With the flexibility we have, study can be self-paced and the ability to interact with classmates from different parts of the world without having to incur travel costs or work capabilities make it more interesting and enlightening. The key, however is “motivation”. Some students are supported financially by employers and family, but what all distance-learning students must have in common is a passion for their subject and a commitment to self-studying.
While circumstances and situations differ, it is important to take advantage of the benefits that learning across borders poses such as increased networking, collaboration and ideas sharing thus initiating an exposure to innovative and unique perspectives. My experience of distance learning has been exciting and enlightening. I have got to know people from various countries and continents, identified with them (despite cultural differences) in terms of motives for registering, collaborated on ideas discussed, and built friendships that transcend the virtual environment.
Drinking two litres of water a day and having a sleep schedule has drastically improved my focus and ability to concentrate, but more so having a set plan already in place, I no longer open my books and waste precious time wondering what to do or where to focus. I can look at my chart and see exactly what I need to do and get started straight away.
After all the hard work, it’s very rewarding to cross off the topics on your calendar to show how far you have come. This can help keep you on track and stay motivated and give you the best chance of success.
My experience of distance learning has been exciting and enlightening! I have got to know people from various countries and continents.
A few of my friends are also studying, not at the same university or even the same course, but having other friends who I can ‘study buddy’ with or check in, keeps us all determined and on track. Scheduling in catch-up time can give much needed respite without panic. This keeps your goals realistic and manageable.