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Motivation in Distance Learning

by Jen Saunders

Distance learning is an advantageous method for obtaining a college degree. Students with full-time jobs, single parents, active military members and other people with daytime obligations typically can’t afford the time to attend class at a campus setting and choose an online option. Although distance learning has its many advantages, some students find it challenging to stay motivated in a setting where they don’t see their teacher face-to-face. Self-regulation is vital to staying motivated.

Set Learning Goals

If you are trying to stay motivated in completing an online degree, setting goals will help you through the process. According to Kathryn Ley, associate professor at University of Houston Clear Lake, setting learning goals is probably the most powerful process of self-regulation in terms of lending the most to learning outcomes. Students can start out by setting small goals that are easy to reach and then increase them over time. If a student is required to do work in a weaker subject he can slowly increase the amount of time he dedicates to that subject. A regulated plan will help keep the student motivated to stay on track to completing his studies.

Listen to Music

Listening to music may motivate you to conquer the world of learning.

According to Plato, music is a more potent instrument than any other for education. We all relate to music differently, but some sources suggest that music can help motivate people to study. According to "Planet of Success," music is a wonderful method of arousing motivation because it elicits positive emotions. They continue to say that a song has the power to motivate studying because it causes a spirit of optimism that evokes the powerful feeling of being able to accomplish anything. Before you start studying try listening to something that pumps you full of energy. You even can try dancing around the room so long as you don’t tire yourself out.

Your Study Space

Your study space can have a big impact on your ability to stay motivated. You will be spending lots of time in this space, and you will want it to be an environment that makes you feel comfortable and inspired. Murdoch University advises students to be mindful of what motivates them and what distracts them when establishing a study environment. Try decorating your study area with things that inspire you, such as a family photo or an award you earned. Make sure your office furniture is comfortable. You may want to consider an ergonomic chair. If TV distracts you, remove it from the area or unplug it.

Mix It Up

We are unique individuals and as a result there are “different strokes for different folks." What might motivate one person may not motivate another. Therefore, alternate your study environments. Try studying in new locations and you just might discover an environment that motivates you more than others. Try the public library or the park. Some people feel more motivated to study in places with noise restrictions, while others are motivated by the great outdoors. If you discover that outdoor environments motivate you, mix those up too. Try the mountains one day and the beach another. Perhaps a quiet grassy field is your motivational sanctuary for studying. You will never know until you try as many settings as you can.

About the Author

Jen Saunders is an entrepreneur and veteran journalist who covers a wide range of topics. She made the transition to writing after having spent 12 years in England where she studied and taught English literature.

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