One really important thing to remember about this style of learning is that the self-motivation and self-direction required to complete the course are excellent life skills that will be of benefit to you long after you have finished your work with VHS. So while you’re learning how to calculate the mass of an apple, and really, you could put that task off until tomorrow without losing marks, you’re also teaching yourself an extremely valuable life skill.
Here are a few tips that will help you stay motivated and allow you to manage your time:
1. Set realistic goals with deadlines.
To begin, read your course outline, and scan through the course content. Set dates for when you plan to write each test and submit each assignment. Do your best to stick to your plan! Even go so far as to schedule your final exam. More goal-setting tips.
Next, prioritize tasks that you’d like to accomplish each day or week. Make a “To Do” list for everything you have to do, and then decide what needs to happen first. It may look like this:
Depending on your interests, you may find shopping for a gift to be more enjoyable than studying. Keeping shopping to the end of the day will help you to maintain your motivation to complete the other tasks. Whatever you enjoy doing most on your “To Do” list, make it a reward for the end of the day!
3. Create a designated study place.
Whether you work in your room, at the kitchen table, or at the library, pick a place that becomes your office/classroom. Having one spot that you associate with study can help to keep you focused while you’re “on the job.”
4. Take breaks!
Having some time for yourself is SO important and probably my biggest takeaway for you. When you’re frustrated, tired, or bored, TAKE A BREAK! Whether the break is 5 minutes, 1 day, or 3 days, sometimes all you need is a break, and then when you go back to your work, you’re fresh, relaxed, and ready to try again.
5. Reward yourself.
What do you enjoy? As mentioned in tip #2, think of little rewards that will motivate you to reach your next goal. To hold you accountable, involve someone else in your reward, or choose a reward that simply cannot happen early, like a movie release. If you want to learn another life skill, make the rewards easily accessible so that you can practice and build self-discipline.
By setting goals, creating a designated study space, taking breaks, and rewarding yourself, you will be successful in your course and just as important, you will have learned approaches that will make everything you do more manageable.
You CAN do it!
Jackie Loebach is the Marketing and User Experience Strategist at Virtual High School. Jackie is passionate about learning and is constantly searching for innovative solutions to everyday challenges.