Motivation And eLearning: 5 Ways To Stay On Track Without In-Person Accountability
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Stay On Track Without In-Person Accountability: Motivation And eLearning

Though eLearning and distance education afford us the flexibility of working from anywhere and accessing course content at any time, the reality is that without someone physically checking over our shoulder to ensure we remain on task, it can be easy to get distracted, become unmotivated or simply spend time on other, more personal endeavors that pull us away from the screen.

If you’re an eLearning student, this can result in slipped grades, missed deadlines and negative professor feedback. To stay the course, it can be helpful to engage in a few goal-setting exercises to keep you on track, boost your morale and keep your ambition level as high as possible. Today, we’re exploring 5 ways you can make the most of your at-home or at-work learning experience and excel along the way.

1. Keep A Paper Calendar

We live in a world that’s gone almost entirely digital. Especially as an eLearner, you’re aware of the myriad tasks that can be accomplished from behind a screen. Yet, though there are a host of online apps that make it easy to set reminders and plan events in a cinch, it’s important to write those dates down on a paper calendar as well.

The act of writing them down helps to cement the activities in your brain, though you can always supplement with an online calendar or even the alarm on your phone. Begin by recording every time your eLearning class meets and what you plan to study. From there, you can establish manageable goals, such as writing a research paper in five days or completing your part of a big group project by the following Monday.

As you complete your goals, you can mark them out on your calendar, providing an instant feeling of satisfaction and reward. This is an important step, as research shows that the very act of creating, then crossing something off your to-do list triggers a positive response in your brain, as it prefers things to be accomplished in an orderly fashion.

2. Talk It Out

When you’re an eLearning student, you might feel isolated at times. After all, you’re not engaging in a traditional classroom setting, where you can participate in a group discussion, learn directly from your peers, ask your professor a question in real time and hear what other classmates have to say. This can be a welcome change for those not comfortable in that type of environment, though others may feel that the solitude is a bit ostracizing.

This is where it helps to find a community of distance learners who share the same interests, passions and pain points as you do. Perhaps that means joining a local Facebook page centered on your subject niche. Or, you might reach out to a few virtual classmates online and begin a chat group. Your professor may have also taken steps to help you find and build an online learning community.

Whatever route you take, it’s helpful to keep at least some element of interaction and collaboration alive, even when you’re not sitting at an actual desk. The best part? Taking this step can help you connect with people who can hold you accountable, offer advice and suggestions and generally lift your spirits when you’re feeling stressed out or overwhelmed.

Share your goals with the group and ask them to keep you on track, promising that you’ll deliver the same level of accountability for them in return.

3. Remember To Reward And Prioritize

It’s an oft-repeated piece of advice for anyone working remotely, but too often, students fail to heed it. Set goals with short timeframes that you can complete relatively quickly, then reward yourself when you do. This might mean reading an online textbook for 20 minutes, then breaking for a five-minute stretch break and walk around the house. Or, you might stay up working on a term paper, then eat a piece of dark chocolate when you type the last sentence.

Regardless of your preferred type of reward, keep in mind that the very accessibility of eLearning can also be one of its setbacks. Yes, you can log into your classroom portal at any time and work on your activities. However, it’s best to keep your school time to a limited and defined number of hours during the day. You might work best from 8:00 to 11:00 in the morning, or you might prefer to work in the evening when the house is quieter, from 8:00 to 10:00 p.m. Remember to live in the downtime, and enjoy times with friends or family to reset your emotions and help prevent burnout.

4. Remind Yourself What You’ve Already Achieved

It’s easy to look at our calendar and the rest of the semester and think of all there is to do. It’s harder, on the other hand, to go back and reflect on what we’ve already accomplished. When you feel the stress rising up alongside your blood pressure, think back on how far you’ve come. Even if you’re just beginning your eLearning journey, there have likely been multiple life events that led you to where you are, that you can look back upon with gratitude.

In the busy rush of accomplishments and new pursuits, it can be easy to lose track of assignments we’ve already completed and goals we’ve already achieved. This is where it can be helpful to break apart the past year into discrete, manageable categories. Create a list to remind you of your past success and personal accomplishments in the realms of health, relationships, finances, career and similar sections of your life. Consider how you felt when you achieved these goals, then use that spark to motivate you onto a repeat win.

5. Look At The Big Picture

There are days when it might feel impossible to sit down and work on an assignment in your home office. You may have work duties pulling you from every angle, small children at your feet, and a host of other responsibilities tugging at you, tempting you to throw in the towel. Yet, when you feel like giving up, consider again why you enrolled in distance learning in the process.

Are you trying to earn a degree after staying at home with your family for a few years? Are you pursuing advanced certification to propel your career? Are you taking a few online classes to help cultivate a new hobby? When you’re in the thick of coursework and deadlines, it can be easy to lose track of why you started in the first place. Yet, by taking some time to reflect on your long-term ambitions, you can remember what sparked that desire in the first place. Then, you’ll be better prepared to tackle any challenge that comes your way.

Succeeding And Staying Motivated As You Learn

There are times when almost every eLearner has felt overwhelmed at the prospect of completing assignments and acing exams on his or her own time. However, that doesn’t mean it’s time to throw in the towel. For every challenge or setback it presents, this form of flexible education has a score of benefits that make it a wise decision for almost every learner.

By following these above tips, students can ensure their initial enthusiasm doesn’t wane from the day they signed up for their courses. Reward yourself, remember past achievements, take breaks, set smart goals and keep the bigger picture in mind. As you do, you’ll be able to achieve any trial that comes your way.