Tips for Online Learning Success

“I do the bulk of my work on my laptop but I’m able to keep tabs on my upcoming tasks through email and the [NMU mobile] app on my phone. Leveraging technology really helps me stay on top of things”

-Jackie Cato, Loss Prevention Management, Nashville, Tennessee

Whether you’re taking a single course or working toward a degree, we put together a list of tips that will help you be successful as an online learner. Keep these tips in mind, focus on your ultimate goal, and remember why you started in the first place.


Don’t expect that you should have this all figured out on the first day. While some of the principals that are used in face-to-face learning can apply to online, it’s really a whole different kind of learning. Give yourself some time to adjust to fit this into your new routine.


You never know what will interrupt your schedule. Maybe you experience technical difficulties. Learning to plan a flexible schedule can be helpful. Always add a day or two to the ideal as a safety net. If nothing comes up, you can still meet your ideal goal. If life throws you a curveball, you’ve built in a buffer and can still get the assignment done by the due date. It’s a win-win!


Consider this your permission to get away from your study area. Go for a run, fold laundry, grab a snack, take a short nap, play with the kids, call a friend. Did you know that studying for too long can lead to insomnia, eye strain, and low knowledge retention?


Even more so than in a face-to-face class…don’t put off your work until the last minute. Planning ahead ensures that you have plenty of time to send questions to your professors and have time to receive a response.


Discussion forums are one of the most useful tools for connecting with your classmates. Reading and responding to posts (even if you’re not assigned to do so) is an important part of engaging and becoming part of a conversation and community. Participation is the key to online learning success. If you’re attending a Zoom meeting – ask questions and share your perspective. It’s only awkward to be in a video conference when no one participates.


There’s always someone on the other end of an email, phone call, or video chat. You’re not alone. Ask questions. Check-in. Make sure you have what you need to get your work done. Often, professors will identify their preferred method of communication; email, phone, direct message, etc. If they identify it, use it.

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