5 Tips to Staying Focused with Online Learning as an Adult Learner

As an adult learner, from the minute we wake up until we go to bed, we are continually connected to the outside world. Especially now living with a new norm as a result of COVID, many of us are able to remotely work from home thanks to technologies like Zoom but are also juggling the demands of family and so many other responsibilities that make it difficult to focus on your studies.

To help you succeed with online learning, we pulled together the top five tips for being successful with online learning as an adult learner:

Time Management

Each week, carve out time in your schedule to study, participate in online class discussions and complete homework. Structure is key to managing your time efficiently to adhere to deadlines and meet the expectations of the course requirements, especially as an adult learner who is also working. For those with younger children at home, you may be juggling their online class schedule along with your own. This becomes all the more important to carve out time so that you can focus on your studies.

Utilizing Support Resources

Since you’re not physically on a campus, it’s even more important to take advantage of the number of resources and support services offered by UMassOnline. For example, we recommend online students to utilize;

  • Grammarly: A very powerful and free online tool that checks spelling and grammar as you type — saving you time.

  • Tutor.com: Offers access to tutors who can help you with on-demand tutoring, essay review and more.

  • Student Services: Don’t be afraid to ask for help. From resume writing, interview skills, one-on-one career counseling support and more — work smarter, not harder!

Engaging Your Support Network

You are not alone. You have a network available from family, friends, colleagues, faculty, advisors, etc., to provide the support you need to be successful while you’re pursuing online education. One recommendation from a member of our team, is to share with your support network that you are taking classes or earning your degree online. The more you reach out in advance to let them know you will need to focus and need their help, the more they will be there to support you even if it is when you have to say no to plans or delay in order to get your homework done.

Keeping Your Eye on the Prize

Don’t lose sight of your end goal. There may be bumps in the road but don’t let that discourage you. You decided to enroll in school with the intent to graduate. You chose online education for its flexibility so you could manage within your schedule. Remember why you decided to take this step. Maybe it was to advance your career, to shift into a new career, to finish that degree you started years before life got in the way, or simply and incredibly, to make yourself proud.

Remind yourself of what motivated you to take the leap of faith and challenge yourself to stay focused on your goal to complete it. Write it down. Put it somewhere that serves as a reminder to help keep you motivated toward achieving your goal. You CAN do it!

Rewarding Yourself

Set goals and reward yourself at points along the way as you achieve them. Treating yourself to something like takeout from your favorite restaurant, flowers, a treat from Amazon, etc., is a small but important incentive to keep you focused and remind yourself of how far you’ve come. And don’t forget to involve those who are supporting you on this journey! If they know when you hit major milestones, they will want to celebrate with you.

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