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California State University, Fullerton "Committed to guiding, supporting, and empowering faculty in creating quality online instruction."

Tips for Becoming a Successful Online Learner

Control Your Study Environment

According to a recent Boston Globe article, the environment around you can make significant differences in your mental processes as measured by concentration and memory retention. With this in mind, here are some basic tips for creating and managing your own study environment.

1. Find and setup a fixed location and time for you to study and only study in that location. Do you prefer the quiet of the library study rooms or outdoor peacefulness of the Fullerton Arboretum? Choose a location that fits your personality and learning style. Use that location only for studying, if possible. That way, each time you go there, your mind reacts like one of Pavlov’s dogs and you become conditioned to the study mind set. You will waste less time dealing with distractions.

2. Control the noise level and visual distractions of your study location. According to Dr. Ruth Peters (a TV show consultant for shows like The Today Show), some children study better in quiet environments, while others prefer background music or TV.

3. Don’t let studying at your computer be too big of a distraction from your study schedule. The internet can become a hugely addictive, time-consuming distraction from your study time. Think about all of the time-consuming activities you can do while sitting at your computer: instant messaging, email, music, gaming, news gathering, video watching, browsing (surfing), etc. When you follow your study schedule and it is time to take a break, get up, stretch, and walk around for your 5-minute break. Don’t stay seated, glued to your computer screen. Give your eyes, your back, and your brain a break. Some good tips are offered by the article called Distracted Distance Learner: 25 Ways to Break Your Online Procrastination Habit.

4. Turn off or mute your cell phone during your study time. Studying requires considerable concentration and effort. The frequent distraction of a cell phone call or text can severally compromise your ability to concentrate on the task at hand.

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