How to Stay Motivated While Studying Online
Over the past decade, interest in online learning has skyrocketed. Studying online offers a level of flexibility that on-campus study simply can’t compete with, proving a popular choice for professionals who work full-time, people located outside of city centres, and those who are simply looking for convenience in their study. Like every journey though, pursuing an online degree does not come without its challenges. Even if you are the most motivated of students, there are likely to be times where enthusiasm will fluctuate. The experience undoubtedly requires self-motivation, persistence, and a firm focus on the end goal. With a commitment to delivering life-changing experiences, the Australian Institute of Business (AIB) works closely with students to ensure they stay engaged throughout their online degree. There are a number of ways to keep your eyes on the prize during your studies, with our top tips explained below.
Plan what success looks like and reflect on progress
Before you commence your online degree, take a moment to set yourself goals and a vision of what you’d like to achieve through your studies. Thinking big picture, consider the specific career outcomes you’d like to achieve with your MBA in hand. Then, map out the milestones of the degree and goals you want to achieve along the way, celebrating each achievement as your progress. When you find yourself in challenging times, it can be very helpful to reflect on why you began the journey in the first place and what you’ve accomplished so far. Reflecting on how far you’ve come will also help drive you, keeping you focused on the end goal of graduation and achieving your career goals.
Apply the concepts to real-world challenges
One of the keys to long-term engagement is how relevant something is to your own life or career. At AIB, online degrees follow a practical style of learning, encouraging students to apply the theory to their personal career experiences. This means that a concept can be learnt one evening, and used in the workplace the very next day. The method helps the course content come to life, in turn, stimulating greater interest as you experience the concepts in a meaningful way. It is the preferred learning style for many students as they enjoy their hard work making a tangible difference in their roles. As a result, it motivates them towards the finish line of their online degree.
Don’t forget the basics
One of the easiest ways to get distracted when studying is if you’re underprepared or in an environment that isn’t conducive to work. There’s no doubt that studying an online degree will be a busy time for you, but it’s important to take the time to adequately prepare for your study sessions. This includes planning your study sessions and ensuring you have a good study space that is well equipped with the technology and amenities needed.
Lean on those who want to see you succeed
As undertaking high-level study like an MBA can require a lifestyle shift, it’s essential to get your family and friends on board with what you’re trying to achieve. As you will have less free time while you study, their understanding and belief in why you’re studying will be crucial. Your family and friends will likely be the first people you turn to when your motivation is lacking, and they’ll be there to pick you up and cheer you on. Their support will no doubt be integral to your study success!
The support from your learning provider is also crucial, so it’s important to familiarise yourself with the support services offered, and don’t be afraid to call on them in times of need.
Connect with peers
Just because you’re studying an online degree, it doesn’t mean you have to do so in isolation. At AIB, students study in small classes facilitated online by academics, enabling discussion, collaboration and networking. There are also a range of online study communities that would welcome your input, providing an opportunity to discuss course material, assessments and careers with peers. These communities have proven to greatly assist with long-term engagement.
Providers like AIB offer a number of in-person networking events each year, allowing you to build your network and form study alliances. Look out for industry specific networking events too, and be sure to share that you’re studying, as this can help to open doors.
Don’t let study become your life
Our final piece of advice is to ensure study doesn’t completely take over your life. While you will need to put time into your studies, you also need to make time for yourself and those around you. If you find that study is taking over your life and having a negative impact on your motivation, consider cutting back or taking a break where necessary. At the end of the day, your health and happiness will dictate your study engagement, so make sure you listen to your body and maintain a healthy balance.
When your study motivation is dwindling, reflect on your goals and progress, lean on your support network and recognise when it’s time to take a break – this can all go a long way to boosting commitment to your studies. What keeps you motivated on your online study journey?
This article was written by Laura Hutton on behalf of the Australian Institute of Business. All opinions are that of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of AIB.