How to Stay Motivated in an Online Class

by Sara Vazquez Shaw

Online classes offer a learner the option to take a class in the comfort of their own home. Online courses can be more convenient, more cost effective (depending on the course), and can offer the student learning at their own pace. These are just a few benefits of taking an online class. It's no wonder so many people are flocking to take these classes. There are also a few downfalls to taking an online class; one of those being motivation. How does one stay disciplined and motivated to make it through an online course?

So keeping on top of your course load in an online class can no doubt be a big challenge. Especially if you lack the self-discipline to chip away at your course little by little. One thing you can do is make your own syllabus or itinerary. Map out your own timeline -oftentimes, online courses have a fluid deadline-leaving most things due at the end of the course or unit. This means you should design a plan and give yourself goals of what to do daily, weekly, and monthly. This way, when test time or the due date for the class comes around, you will easily be able to slide across home base instead of cramming everything in at the last minute.

Using other learners to stay on task is another good way to stay motivated with your online learning. Try and buddy up with another student or two in the class and correspond with them throughout the class. Check up on each other's progress and hold each other accountable for due dates. You can even bounce questions and ideas off of one another so you can keep the creative learning juices flowing.

Another great way to keep on task is to reward yourself once you hit certain milestones. After each chapter review or quiz you can do something nice for yourself. Dangling a carrot in front of you will keep you motivated. Choose something you love (something small and manageable). Get yourself and ice cream, go shopping for a new clothing item, take yourself out to the movies, or something else! Whatever it might be use a reward system to keep you moving forward.

Most of all, just keep your eye on the ball. Remember why you are taking the online course, most likely it's for a very good and rewarding reason. You might be working toward college admission or a college degree, or you might just want to enrich your own life. Whatever the case might be, keep on track and create a system you can follow. You will reap huge rewards in the long run.