In this section you will find general guidance and advice on how to make the most out of studying online. We will explain what it means to study online nowadays and the type of person who is attracted to this form of study.
Once you have read through this section of the Study Resources you will have learnt how to: make the most of your time whilst studying; work more efficiently and effectively; enhance your ability to retain and confidently recall information; and most importantly to succeed in your chosen career.
Studying Online Nowadays
Distance learning has been and is continuing to increase in prominence during recent years as more and more students opt to study at home via online tools rather than traditional classroom based methods. Distance learning appeals to so many, mainly due to the greater flexibility that is offered opening up more opportunities for so many individuals who may have otherwise not been able to study.
Though traditional classroom based study methods still has significant advantages, the increased costs (direct and indirect) involved, the demands on one’s time and efforts, plus the lack of flexibility, the need for a new approach to learning has never been greater. For many, the possibilities now made available due to distance learning has led to an increase in training and job prospects, opening doors that were perhaps previously closed. For instance, a full-time mother who wanted to study but could not afford the time and money spent on classroom based methods, now has the opportunity to study at her own time and own pace, thanks to the high quality distance learning programmes we offer. Furthermore, those already in paid employment wanting a career change, or career boost but need further training, also now have the opportunity to realise their career goals, again, due to top class distance learning programs.
Many people have a misconception that distance learning is a translation for ‘studying alone’, under the impression that you are sent out your training materials and then left to your own devices. This could not be further from the truth. Though you have access to your study materials to tackle in your own time and at your own pace, the Study Tools provided with your course, using the supports team advice and guidance, in addition to tutor support, studying your online course will be successful. We believe that all students in all circumstances should have the opportunity to reach their true potential, to do this learning and career support is the most effective and important way in which this can be achieved.
We are confident that, presuming you have used them, the study tools, advice and resources provided throughout your course has been of great use to you.
This is all part of the great care we put into your distance learning experience with us. We believe our innovative vision for studying online is leading the way for the future of distance learning nowadays.
Memory – Mnemonics
Throughout your studies and career, whichever career you decide on, you will be required to retain and recall a lot of information. This is necessary to demonstrate your competency not just in exams but also in the workplace, it is essential you are able to recall the information you have learned and acquired.
In order to be able to retain information and confidently recall this information there are several ways this can be achieved with some ways being better than others. Generally speaking you can think of your memory as a muscle and either – use it or lose it! That is the more you use it the stronger it becomes.
Mnemonic is a learning tool that facilitates information retention and thus recall. Examples of mnemonics include small poems, acronyms, memorable phrases and so on that you would have heard throughout your childhood and even into adulthood.
Mnemonics has proved to be very effective for retaining information in the long term memory according to much research studies. It helps to use and recall information that has been learned through the much easier application of the artificial memory.
To use mnemonics when studying is a very effective tool to remember the more mundane information that while may be very important to remember, may at the same time be difficult to remember on paper. Another example would be, the short phrase that is used to remember the colours of the rainbow – Richard of York Gave Battle In Vain. Arguably, it is important to remember the colours of the rainbow, although for some may be difficult to remember and recall spontaneously.
Though it can be quite difficult to come up with mnemonics, even a simple acronym can be used to help you recall study material throughout your course. The following are some hints and tips to help you come up with mnemonics that can be used throughout your learning and career:
- Create vivid mental images. The more vibrant and well defined the mental image is the easier it is to recall.
- Use positive and pleasant mental images. Research has also shown that positive images are easier to recall than negative ones.
- Use unusual and funny images. This can be for both physical drawings that you may use and for mental images. These will be much easier to remember than plain ones.
- Rhymes are very effective for both phrases and acronyms. Rude ones in particular are quite often difficult to forget.
- Imagination, association and a location will all help create a helpful mnemonic. Use your imagination to create an effective mnemonic; learn to associate images, items, or scenes and so on, together linking them in some way. Using a location in the mnemonic setting will also help give context to what you are trying to retain.
For example trying to remember the difference between the spelling and meaning of the words:
Organising – Mind Maps ©
Another great tool that will benefit you throughout your studies, and even into your career, is the use of Mind Maps © to help summarise and remember information. In order to maximise the effectiveness of the information you have learned and the extent to which you recall this information for the purposes of both theoretical application in exams and practical application in our career, organising your notes into Mind Maps © can be very helpful.
For study courses that are more complex, or for those of you new to a particular industry, there may be aspects to your learning material that you might find more difficult to grasp than others. In this case Mind Maps © are an effective and efficient way to link together various concepts organise your thoughts into how they relate, or do not relate, to each other.
When reading the mind map start from the centre where you have written the topic or drawn the topic’s image. From here read each branch in order they stem from the centre circle.
Creating your own Mind Map is a simple and straight forward process, and one process that you will find much easier to apply as you practice. To create your own mind map look at the simple instructions below:
- Get a blank piece of paper – any size, although many learners prefer larger A3 size paper to create their notes on
- Write out or draw the main point / topic in the centre – this can be in the form of an image or text. All that is needed in the centre is the main point of what you are trying to recall
- From this main header or image branch out – circle the topic and then branch out for main point, sub-points and so on.
- Keep it simple – use the branches as a summary for the points you are trying to remember as opposed to a description and explanation for what you are trying to do.
Below is a blank Mind Map for you to try out for yourself