Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Successful Online Learner

Are there tricks that will help you be a more successful online learner? Instead of tricks, I think I prefer the term "ingredients." If you use the proper ingredients, this will greatly improve the possibility of success. What are some of those ingredients? It is easy to identify five key ingredients that will work to guarantee success.
  • Hard work. Sometimes the answer really is that simple. People who work hard at most anything are more successful than people who do not. Online learning is most decidedly not easier than traditional learning. My experience has been just the opposite. Working alone and being in charge of your own progress is much more difficult.
  • Collaborate. For most people, the ability to discuss topics is a key ingredient to greater understanding. This does not mean that you need to be in a traditional classroom. What it does mean is that you are an active participant in the online discussions however those might occur.
  • Do your homework. Homework becomes that much more important when everything is homework. Remember, there really is no class work. It is all done at home. Just get it done. The best way is to schedule homework time at the same time every day.
  • Hit the deadlines. One of the major causes for not succeeding is that you fall behind. In the traditional classroom, you have a teacher or a professor ready, willing, and able to collect assignments. It is much more teacher-driven. Online learning is very student-driven. It is up to you to make sure that things get done and turned in on time.
  • Read the books. I know a student who got all the way through high school and college without ever reading the books. He, however, is a genius. He could sit in the lectures and absorb everything. Most of us, including me, are not capable of that. It becomes even more difficult when there are no lectures.

What? You expected secret, difficult-to-find ingredients? Nope. There are no secrets to being a successful online learner. Follow these five simple steps and you will create a recipe for success.

Thomas Nixon is the author of Complete Guide to Online High Schools. In it, he details how to earn a high school diploma online The companion website,, is the premier source of information on online high schools. Tom is also the manager of His website is

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