Are You Ready For Online Learning?


Students who tend to be most successful in online learning classes are those individuals who are self-directed and self-motivated in their learning and study habits. If you have the right qualities to be a successful online student, you will probably find online classes a convenient and rewarding alternative to traditional classroom learning.

You are in the best position to determine whether learning online is right for you. To help you reflect on your personal learning style and work and life circumstances, click on the qualities below to see if online learning is a good fit for you.

Qualities of  Successful Online Learners

Self-Motivated and Self-Disciplined — completing assignments on time

In traditional courses, students meet face-to-face with the instructor and each other frequently over the course of the program. However, in most online courses students complete their assignments at different times throughout the day and week depending on their schedule. This offers individuals greater flexibility and convenience, but requires more self-discipline to stay on task. Without the structure of regular class meetings, students must pace themselves and keep up with assignments.

Committed — participating in the virtual classroom 4-6 days a week

Online courses often require at least as much, if not more, time and commitment than traditional courses. Participants in online classes report that these classes are as hard or harder than classroom-based courses.

Completing course assignments and activities can take from five to eight hours or more per week. Class discussions or other activities may require you to be online almost every day.

Open to sharing with others — ability to work with others in completing projects

Social learning experiences, such as peer teaching, group projects, debates, discussion and other activities that promote knowledge construction in a social context allow you to observe and subsequently emulate other students’ models of success.

Successful online learners are highly aware of how their own learning is advanced within an online social setting where there is a free flow of advice, information and skill modeling. 

Able to communicate through writing

In the online classroom nearly all communication is written, so it is critical that you are comfortable expressing yourself in writing.

Some students have limited writing abilities, which should be addressed as part of the online experience.

Computer and web skills

The personal computer is the primary learning and communication tool in most online courses. Students need to have basic technology skills (such as using word processing software and web browsing) as well as regular access to a computer with an Internet connection.

Individuals who are generally intimidated by technology and avoid it at all costs may not be a good fit for online classes.

Willing to speak up when problems arise

Individuals who do well in online learning courses are usually comfortable contacting the instructor as soon as they need help with something. Instructors need to know right away if students are having problems with technology or course content.