I didn’t appreciate just how hard it was during my first module. You see, I was on maternity leave, so had a lot more time to study. I was also doing a module that I really enjoyed.
This time, I’ve found it much harder. I don’t always have the hours in the day, and it’s not something that I really enjoy doing. I also don’t really like my tutor and find myself focusing more on her inability to spell in the comments on my work than anything else.
But why is distance learning so hard? Surely when you have the chance to set your own schedule it should be easy. Well, here are the problems I’ve noticed:
Time Management Is a Must
Time management is essential when distance learning. I knew that before I started and do have good time management skills. My problems really started in January, when my business shot off pretty quickly. I ended up with more orders than normal, so less time to study.
Not everyone has the time management skills. It doesn’t come natural to all, and it’s one that I believe is quite difficult to learn (although not impossible).
You need to set up a schedule to do well with distance learning. But setting a schedule is relatively easy. Sticking to it is the hard part. Life and work get in the way, you want to spend time with family and before you know it a whole week has gone and you haven’t once opened the books.
Being Strict With Yourself
This moves me onto this point. To stick to your schedule, you need to be strict with yourself.
After the last two months of just breezing through my course and getting by with an average of 55%, I’ve decided it’s time to actually put some effort in. I have two essays left to write and I want to do well on both of them. The last one is going to be the hardest and it’s one I must get 40% on at least or else the whole year has been for nothing.
I’m making a change to my schedule so I start my day with some studying. I do one hour while my daughter is having her breakfast and watching her cartoons and then I can get on with work. So far, it’s really worked and I already have some good notes for the next essay. Hopefully it will continue.
I try to do the second hour later in the day, but again work gets in the way. I should get up earlier and do the two hours on a morning, but then that would mean retraining my body clock…and I don’t like starting work later than 9am.
No Tutor Around All the Time
My tutor only does that job part-time, so she’s not around all the time. I think this is one of the factors that makes distance learning so hard. When I was in a brick and mortar university, I would be able to discuss my problems with my lecturers all the time. It didn’t really matter what time of the day it was, as long as it wasn’t the weekends or after 6pm!
Now I get a two hour block during the week and some time at the weekend. But I’ve got to email first to make sure she’s available before calling. Chances are, I’m not going to be available when she is—I’ve already found it difficult to get a hold of her when I have a question—so I ended up just going along and hoping I’m doing my best.
There are tutorials, but the times that they’re on will not suit everybody. They’re Tuesday evenings and usually fine for me, as long as I don’t have work. So far, I’ve only attended two out of five because of work getting in the way.
This may sound like I’m moaning, but I don’t want it to come across that way. Distance learning is so hard, and I really want to get that point across to those of you who are considering it. It isn’t the easy method of studying and the thing to do because you want to use up some of your spare time. I really recommend it, but you need the skills to manage your time and be strict with yourself. Otherwise, you’re really going to struggle (struggle more than I am at the moment!)
By the way, I’ve decided to take a year off studying after this. I need to focus on my work and wait until everything calms down here first. Right now I can’t put the effort or the passion into learning like I wanted to.