5 Online Learning Tips for Student Success


Whether you’re new to online classes or you're an expert distance learner, everyone can benefit from these tips for online learning success. Time management, organization and motivation will take you far while you earn your degree online – as will knowing where to go when you need help. 

Our dedicated faculty and staff understand the unique challenges of learning online, so don't be afraid to reach out for guidance in your journey, so we can help you prepare for success.

Taking some time and answering the questions below can help you learn to be successful in your online program. Remember: Learning methods can vary from student to student. It's all about finding which of these helpful tips for online learning work best for you.


1. Create a schedule and manage your time wisely.  

  • Keep a semester and a weekly calendar. On the first day of class, read the course syllabus and enter all due dates in your calendar, along with reminders for the due dates. 

  • Commit to studying or participating in your online class for at least three hours per week for every one credit hour the course is worth. According to experienced online learners, one of the most helpful tips for online learning is to be deliberate with your time.

  • Learn the difference between asynchronous and synchronous online courses, and develop strategies for success in each format.

  • Prioritize your work. What due dates are coming up first? What information is the most important for you to learn? What assignments are worth the most points? Make a smart decision about how to best spend your time.


2. Stay organized and be thorough. 

  • Have a designated study space that is free of distractions so you can focus on your work. 

  • Here's one of our best tips for online learning: Prepare as if you have to teach the information you are studying. Organize information by creating charts, outlines, study guides, flashcards, concept maps and chapter maps. Create practice exams to evaluate your mastery of the material. 

  • Use smart test-taking strategies. Before a quiz or exam, write down formulas or other information you may need. Survey the exam before starting and budget your time. Begin with the easiest test questions and work your way to the harder ones. Expect memory blocks. Often the information will come back to you if you move on to other questions.


3. Remain engaged throughout the whole course. 

  • Prepare and review for every lesson, attend in person/virtual class sessions and take active notes. 

  • Analyze all returned quizzes and tests as well as any instructor feedback and develop a plan for improvement. 

  • Make use of office hours on a regular basis and ask questions of instructors or peers if needed. Your fellow online students are a great resource to discover even more tips for online learning success. 

4. Take care of yourself. 

  • Look inward for your motivation. Remembering the goal you are working toward will help you as you work through the challenges of being a student. 

  • Stay healthy by getting adequate rest, nutrition and exercise. Use positive self-talk to reduce anxiety. Schedule time to take care of yourself and spend time with your friends and family. 

  • Keep a growth mindset. Your success has as much to do with your effort as it has to do with your ability. Monitor your self-talk and stay positive.


5. Know where to turn for help.  

Still searching for the best online degree?

Ohio State’s online bachelor’s degrees and graduate programs are ranked as some of the best in the nation, according to U.S. News and World Report. 


Last modified: 
August 5, 2022