Distance Learning Strategies that Guarantee Success
What are the necessary requirements for a successful distance learning course? Here is one approach that works effectively, if it is treated like a project. With the right project management approach, the success is just around the corner. This particular project is composed of the following team members: the student, the provider along with the available resources, the tutor, and a few significant stakeholders such as an employer. To illustrate, if you are a postgraduate student, you should act as the project manager and if you are the employer of the student, you should play the role of a client.
At the very beginning, the student must set down the foundations for the success of this endeavor. One of the first steps involved is to do research on potential providers. The range of courses being offered must be examined in detail. If the scope is too wide, from business management and marketing to physics, think twice before enrolling. It is better to consider the offerings of a provider that has chosen to streamline and focus on one or just a few areas. Aside from the courses offered, the accreditation of the provider must be determined as well. In developed countries such as the United Kingdom, there are many different types of accreditation bodies. It is better to become affiliated with a nationally recognized accreditation body and provide proper HNC and HND. This makes an organization trustworthy and reputable; hence, the courses are of highest value and quality.
After course and provider have been determined, the next step involves planning and preparation. Now, it is the time to consider the effects of the course to the schedule, lifestyle, social activities, domestic situation, and current workload. The implications must be examined, and the necessary preparations must be put in place.
The needed resources must also be procured, including the study area and the required computer set-up with Internet connectivity. Distance learners often conduct their studies from home. As such, it is important to plan for the expected changes in the daily schedule and routine. There might also be a need to rework the whole plan in order to accommodate time to engage in hobbies and other interests.
The stakeholders in any project are the individuals who have an interest in the project. For a student enrolled in distance learning, the stakeholders are family members, partner in life, friends, colleagues at the workplace, and the employer. They need to be treated in the same way as a project manager would deal with stakeholders in a business environment. In other words, their needs and concerns have to be taken into account. They all must be regularly updated of one’s progress during the course of the project.
Planning is an important component and it helps the student to manage effectively course requirements, assignments, deadlines and examinations. The structure and the requirements are provided by the course schedule, so the student has already been provided with the basis for his planning. It is important the student to plan how, where, and when will be studying, not just for examinations but for all the other course activities. There are many activities that are time consuming such as reading, doing research, completing reports, etc, so a proper and detailed time schedule is of high importance. The tutor is the primary resource during the planning stage and can help new students on how to come up with a feasible and realistic plan that should be followed through the whole duration of the course.
Another key strategy is monitoring one’s progress so that all the activities are geared toward staying on target. Being able to adapt to changing circumstances is important as well. This is important so that the student has the flexibility to respond to unexpected and untoward events (e.g. illness, family emergencies, and work issues, etc).
An e-learning specialist with core expertise in educational technologies. He received his Master’s degree in computer science from University of Western Australia. Aditya Pullagurla also blogs on a broad range of subjects for online e-learning magazines, he also set himself up as a freelance e-learning consultant for work place training. Aditya Pullagurla continues to progress his passion for e-learning and his enthusiasm in learning technologies. He is also very interested in networking, collaboration and outsourcing. He currently resides in Sydney and can be contacted at his email [email protected]