Self-Discipline and Other Keys to Success in Online Courses

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Online courses offer a lot of convenience and flexibility, especially if you’re trying to balance a job and family life with your studies. If you’re an adult learner, these benefits often make online learning a better choice than traditional in-person classes. But online classes do require you to exercise some important skills if you want to succeed. Self-motivation, organization, and accountability are just a few keys to success when you take an online course.


When you were young, your teachers may have been what motivated you to complete your schoolwork. They constantly reminded you of your deadlines. Or maybe it was your parents who expected you to hand in good grades. But now that you’re on your own and learning online, you need to motivate yourself. How can you do that? Remember the end goal. Why did you want to take classes in the first place? Do you want to start a new career? Prepare yourself for licensure? Build a better future for you and your family? Whenever you feel yourself start to slip, envision that end goal.


Those teachers from the traditional classroom gave you set days and times when you had to be in class, doing work, paying attention. But without strict timelines, it’s up to you. Create a study space for online learning that is as free from distractions as possible. Make sure you have the supplies and software you need to do your work. Set up folders on your computer so you can save your work and know exactly where it’s stored so you can pick it back up later.

You’ll also want to create your own schedule to make sure that you get all your work done on time and to the best of your ability. Use a planner or a calendar app and make a plan. For example, you could plan to watch lectures and take notes on Monday and Tuesday mornings and take Wednesday and Thursday afternoons to complete your assignments. And set reminders! Whatever you do, don’t procrastinate. Stick to the schedule you set. Use push notifications or alarms to help you remember to study and do your work.


Communication is important in online classes. You won’t be able to raise your hand in an actual class or stay after to speak with the teacher, so you need to be proactive in your communication with your instructors. If you need help, reach out via email and ask if you can set up a Zoom meeting for extra help. You’ll also have to be proactive if you want to socialize. Join a study group or set one up so you can meet other students and help each other learn.


Online classes are different from in-person classes, so you’ll need to adapt to this new environment and be willing to learn new skills. You’ll stretch your technical skills and use software that you may never have used before. You’ll work in your own home on your own time (which probably will be easy to get used to) but you won’t be in the same space as your peers and instructors. And of course, you’ll have to be more self-motivated, organized and willing to communicate. But with those keys to success, you’ll could be able to unlock a brighter career path.

Are you ready to start an online program? At Charter College, we offer online training programs in Business, Health Care, Information Technology, and the Trades. Our programs provide you with the knowledge and skills that employers look for and are designed to be as flexible as you need them to be. Call us at 888-200-9942 or fill out the form to learn more.