Written by Andrew Mackenzie

Online learning is growing in popularity. It’s not surprising: it’s convenient, cost effective and flexible. With courses available in almost any subject, more and more people are taking advantage of modern technology to further their education.

If you’re considering starting online learning, you may have questions about the process. Perhaps you’re wondering if it’s for you. So how do you get started and stay on course with online learning?

Here are a few tips.


Identify learning objectives and goals

Before beginning a course, identify what your learning objectives and goals are. Where do you want your online course to take you? What are your ultimate goals? This will help you decide which course is right for you.

Knowing your goals and ambitions will also help keep you focused. It may be useful to write them down, and reviewing them regularly will help to keep you motivated.



While online courses are a more convenient way of studying, they require at least the same amount of dedication as attending a bricks and mortar educational institution. To be successful in your studies, you need to be fully committed and treat it as you would if you were attending a regular course.



It may seem obvious, but ensuring you have the right technology to study is vital. Alongside accessing written materials, you may be required to attend virtual classrooms or work collaboratively with other students.

Make sure you never lose your precious work too, by getting familiar with cloud storage such as DropBox or Google Documents. This will allow you to access your work from other devices even if your computer or laptop stops functioning.



Establishing a strict study schedule will get you into the habit of studying regularly, and stand you in good stead. Treat your schedule as if you were attending a regular course, where you would have to attend lectures and classes.

Focus is key to success, so it’s essential that family and friends respect your routine too, and recognise that your study time is important. Turn off social media and perhaps your phone too, so that you can work uninterrupted.


Space to study

It can be difficult, particularly if you have children, but establishing a dedicated study space can make a real difference to your success. Whether you work in a corner of the lounge, at the dining room table, or in your bedroom, your space needs to be quiet, organised and distraction free. 


Plan ahead

Fail to plan, plan to fail, as the old saying goes, so plan ahead. Make sure you know when assignments are due and plan your studying accordingly. Set yourself weekly learning objectives that support upcoming deadlines. Don’t forget to build time in if, for example, you’re going on holiday mid-course.


Take the support

Just because you’re studying alone, it doesn’t mean that you’re on your own. You’ll have tutors and fellow students. Making the most of the support available will help to keep you focused and motivated and feel less alone on your learning journey.

Through establishing your goals and motivations, and by following these simple tips, it will help ensure that your online learning journey is a successful one that leads to great new things.