Study Tips For Effective Distance Learning

Distance learning courses are increasing in popularity as people seeking a career change work on gaining the additional qualifications they will need to make the switch. Finding and maintaining focus can be a problem when studying in the home environment with all its distractions. Here are some tips to help you stay on track and get the most out of your distance learning course.

Environmentally friendly

Create a space specifically for study. Aim for a business-like, well lit, adequately ventilated and heated, quiet place well away from distractions. If this is impossible, try using the silent, reading area of your local library as a study venue.

Organise yourself

Make sure you have all the study materials you will need readily to hand. Text books and reference material should be neatly stored in your study area and you should have plenty of pens and paper if required. If you're studying away from home, make sure your laptop battery is fully charged or that you have the necessary cables with you.


Keep your eyes on the prize. If you find motivation slipping away, remind yourself why you began this course in the first place. Set yourself small, staged goals and promise yourself little treats and rewards as you achieve each one.

Hydration and nutrition

Make sure you drink plenty of water and stay well hydrated. Drowsiness is caused by dehydration and you won't study effectively if you're falling asleep! Remember to eat properly before you settle down to study too. Your brain needs nutrition as well as water to function at its optimum.

Study method

Establishing your preferred method of studying is usually a case of trial and error. Some people work better with chunks of text to deal with, others find bullet points easier to remember. Your course materials will probably contain guidance on the most popular study techniques and your designated tutors will be able to offer advice too.

Trustworthy reference sources

Make sure that the information you have gleaned from research is from reliable, accurate sources. Where possible, stick to the course material and if in doubt, check things out with your tutor. Be wary of using information held on unofficial, publicly edited websites as this may not be correct or up to date. Always cross-check information you have gathered from sites such as Wikipedia and other similar websites.


It can be difficult to stay on track with a distance learning course when your life is already busy with a day job, family and friends. It's important to make yourself a realistic study schedule that you will be able to stick to and keep to it.

Make the most of your allotted study time. Turn off your mobile, don't be tempted to check out what your friends have been up to on Facebook and leave Twitter alone too!

Don't overdo it

Make sure that you space your study periods out across the week. Don't try to cram too much into one session. Your brain will soon reach saturation point and then trying to study is pointless as you simply won't retain what you are reading. Take regular breaks, especially if you are using a computer to work.


If you find yourself struggling, ask your course tutor for guidance. You will be able to contact them by phone or email and they will be only too pleased to help you. Learning is supposed to be enjoyable and fulfilling, so don't suffer in silence and feel that you are getting nowhere.

Good luck and enjoy your studies. Keep your eyes on the prize; the effort will be worth it!

Alison Page

About Alison Page

Alison is a freelance writer and author. She is a member of the UK national panel of dressage judges, holds a degree in Equine Science and a Diploma in Business Studies.

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