E-learning systems are being adopted and developed at ever-increasing rates, but along with their many benefits they sometimes present challenges. E-learning allows you the flexibility to decide where and when you want to learn – you can manage your time and determine which learning schedule suits you best. And of course, learning online from the comfort and privacy of your own home does sound great, right?
However, without any real structure, you have to come up with your own schedule and workflow. But how to do that? Sometimes it’s really hard to motivate ourselves in these situations. Because of that, we’re offering you some tips to enhance your motivation in e-learning.
Why is motivation so important for e-learning?
The answer to this may seem obvious, but lack of motivation is one of the key barriers to distance learning. People who lack motivation will take very few online classes or simply drop out. They’ll probably have trouble e-learning and find the process unsatisfying and boring. One study suggests that certain behavioural characteristics can affect people’s motivation in online courses. They tend to procrastinate, choose only the easier aspects of an assignment to complete, or feel the online learning environment is not inherently motivating .
Six tips to enhance e-learner’s motivation
You’ll find some general tips on how to motivate yourself to study independent of the learning environment in this Nobel Coaching & Tutoring article. However, here we want to offer you some tips that enhance the motivation characteristic to e-learning.
Give yourself a chance.
Do you prefer holding a book more than listening to someone talk and reading materials online? Sometimes we don’t like a professor or the topic, or we find the materials boring. Even though you may feel anxious about taking online courses, give yourself a chance. This may be hard in the beginning, but you will succeed! It’s been shown that after experiencing just one online class, most students either overcome many barriers or find out that they had overestimated the barriers before taking any online courses . Maybe you already dropped out from some course that you tried to attend. However, is that a good enough reason not to accomplish your goals?
Set clear hours for e-learning.
We’ve already mentioned that the lack of a real structure, can affect our learning. Create a fixed schedule with specific time slots that are strictly devoted to taking your classes and sitting through online tutorials. You can still have freedom and flexibility – the schedule should be designed according to your wants and needs, so if you find it easier to study in the evenings, why not? This can help you avoid procrastination and stay organized.
No other electronics.
Speaking of procrastination, do you text or chat while listening to tutorials? It may feel great – you’re multitasking, but is it really? When you text someone while listening to the professor, you lose focus and probably miss some information. Turn Airplane Mode on your phone and log out from all your active social-media windows.
It’s hard doing your assignments on time, especially when there’s no one standing over your shoulder waiting for them to be done. To finish successfully, set deadlines. While doing so, consider how much time and effort assignments will take, not only the deadline for submitting your work. Begin assignments which require the most effort and time first. Also, consider if there’s any group project you need to tackle and how you’re going to work with the other students. A group call on Skype may be hard to arrange when you all have different schedules, and even harder if you live in different time zones.
Maintain social interaction.
Lack of interaction is one of the characteristics of e-learning that usually affect students negatively [1, 2]. Even if there is no assignment which requires teamwork, try to create and improve your social interaction with your colleagues and professors. Send emails, meet over Skype, chat/text them… Social interaction can help you consult about learning difficulties you may come across, learn while explaining material to someone else, and stay motivated. And, you may find a new friend(s) here!
Continue motivating yourself.
And the last, but not the least important tip is to keep yourself motivated! When you finish your assignments, learn something new, or when you just make a lot of effort to accomplish your goals, treat yourself. Make yourself your favourite dessert, watch the new episode of your favourite TV show you’ve waited so long for, or do anything else you really like. Also, when thinking about how much you need to get done, don’t forget to be proud of yourself for how far you’ve come!
 Keller, J. M. (2008). First principles of motivation to learn and e3‐learning. Distance Education,29(2), 175-185. doi:10.1080/01587910802154970
 Muilenburg, L. Y., & Berge, Z. L. (2005). Student barriers to online learning: A factor analytic study. Distance Education,26(1), 29-48. doi:10.1080/01587910500081269
Author: Jelena Nedeljkovic, content writer at Nobel Coaching and Tutoring