Strategies for Success in the Online Learning Environment
Course Outcomes/Lesson Objectives
CO: 1) Identify strategies for success in the online learning environment
- Identify the three common barriers to success in the online learning environment
- Develop personal and professional goals
- Develop and identify strategies to enhance time management and personal motivation
Welcome to your Orientation Course. For some of you, this may be your first course in an online learning environment. For others, several years may have passed since you sat in a classroom. Graduate study is a very rewarding and challenging experience. With the evolution of the World Wide Web, you can obtain a quality education from the comfort of home. A common misconception about online learning is that it is easier and self-paced. Online learning programs do offer great flexibility, but they are rigorous and demand self-discipline. The topics of discussion during this first module will include strategies for success in the online environment. Three common barriers to student success and strategies to address the barriers will be discussed.
Why is it important? Orientation is a great opportunity to practice before you start your first course. You’ll be more prepared and feel more confident to start your program.
Strategies for Success
As you begin the journey into graduate education, you must first determine personal and professional goals. Take a moment and reflect on your decision to return to graduate school. What were the motivating factors: a better job, requirement for promotion, a desire for professional development, or the opportunity to influence positive change and shape the future of nursing practice?
On a separate document list one or two priority personal and professional goals that facilitated your decision to embark on this educational journey. Place this list in a visible area to serve as a reminder and motivation as you progress through this program.
Once you have identified your personal and professional goals, the next step is to identify strategies for success and potential barriers or obstacles to achieving success. Self-evaluation is an effective method used to raise awareness of your strengths and weaknesses and to assist in identifying barriers or obstacles that will impede success in graduate study.
It is not uncommon to experience some angst when making the decision to return to school. According to the literature, the most common barriers or obstacles to success in graduate study are prior commitments to work or family and time management. One major barrier to success in the online learning environment is the potential for procrastination. The decision to return to graduate school requires a serious commitment of time, and you must create a balance in your life among work, family, and social activities, while meeting the demands of school (Morgenthaler, 2009).
An effective mechanism for decreasing the likelihood of procrastination is effective time management. One of the biggest obstacles to effective time management is underestimating the amount of time needed to meet graduate-course expectations. Finding time to devote to education can be overwhelming and takes effort on the part of the student (Morgenthaler, 2009). When you underestimate the time frame needed to provide a quality assignment and cannot meet a deadline, you become stressed. As you procrastinate and fall behind in assignments, your stress level becomes higher. This becomes a vicious cycle; the more the stress level increases, the more likely you are to use procrastination as an avoidance tactic or as a coping mechanism.
Once time is lost, it cannot be replaced or increased. An effective method for time management is to create a time management calendar. The first step in the process is to determine how you truly spend your time. This requires some honest self-reflection. Once this is done, evaluate the results. Are there times when you are less productive? Are there more efficient ways to complete the tasks that you are assigned (Wild & Neville, 2008)? Take time to create a time management calendar. Download the Time Management Calendar from Course Resources located in your modules of this course. Be sure to set time aside for rest and relaxation! Care for self is very important! See below for a guide/tutorial for how to find the time management calendar in this course. Once you are in your first course in your program, all of the assignment guidelines and rubrics will be located right on the assignment page itself.
How to Find Course Resources and the Time Management Calendar:
Step 1: Click on Modules and then Click on Course Resources
Step 2: Once in Course Resources, scroll down until you see Course Documents. Then click on the Time Management Calendar to open the document and save to your computer.
Another common potential barrier to success in the online learning environment is lack of motivation characterized by failure to persist. As you begin your educational journey, your enthusiasm is high which assists you in accomplishing your goals. When you progress in your educational journey you can become a bit fatigued with the demands of school, work and family. Strategies to overcome this barrier include seeking out support from peers and mentors, don’t be afraid to ask questions from your faculty when you don’t understand a concept or an assignment. Be sure to interact and reach out to other students in your course in order to help develop a sense of connectedness and community. Reaching out to others is an essential piece to success in the online learner (Killion, Reilly & Gallagher-Lepak, 2011).
The third barrier to student success in the online learning environment is challenges with technology including – access to and navigation of the online learning environment, use of Microsoft Office specifically Word, and Power Point applications. Understanding and having general knowledge of the working of computers is very important to success in online learning (Killion, Reilly & Gallagher-Lepak, 2011). Make sure to review and complete the computer checklist activity in this lesson to assist you with success in your online learning experience. If computer technology is a bit foreign to you, it would be good to review the computer literacy module located in the SSPMSN modules in this course for even further guidance.
You will be required to turn in many assignments written with Microsoft Office applications during this program. Now is a good time to evaluate your ability to use Office, especially Word and PowerPoint, and strengthen areas of weakness. Do you know how to double space, make a hanging indent, or insert a page number in Word? Even a modest investment of time upfront learning the features of the Office tools can save you exponentially more time in the future. Microsoft offers free tutorials for its entire Office Suite. Visit the training site at http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/support/training-FX101782702.aspx (Links to an external site.)to locate the version of software that you own.
During this lesson, you have identified motivational factors for returning to school, defined personal and professional goals, discussed potential barriers or obstacles to succeed in the online learning environment and learned the importance of having a time management calendar. To ensure that your first class runs as smooth as possible, complete the activities that go along with this lesson.
Success in the Online Learning Environmen