Everyone continues to learn as their life changes from childhood to adulthood. Education starts at home, primary, secondary and even street knowledge is where we acquire our basic skills and study habits. During this time parents primarily set up study areas, times and habits for children. This begins to taper off around middle and high school, where students are beginning to set their own study time according to school work load and activities. Many times time manage-ment is set according to family activities and rules in the home as well as outside. As we transition into high school and college more of the responsibility for studying becomes our own. Extracurricular activities along with classes begin to make time management as an adult learner becomes difficult. We continue our lives into adulthood away from home and the comfort of parents making sure we manage our time to meet our educational task. Time management becomes more relevant as we enter the work force and begin a family of our own, while seeking our educational degrees. Home, work and other obligations take over what time we have for education.
Education may take a back seat as we develop a lifestyle for our family. This researcher found that after finishing my first 4 years, this researcher took a break, got married, moved, divorce and was in and out of traditional colleges for years, but never attaining my higher level degree than an Associates of Arts. Then time went to help those around me to achieve their dreams and raise their families. Now, like many older people, especially women, this researcher went back to finish those goals. We became good at juggling the home life with family affairs, church and work. Adding going back to traditional college to that and time has no bearing, so many chose online educations and time management takes on another meaning to an adult learner. Conflicts in schedules, work and home activities takes over our management skill as our adult life changes and we enter the educational system. Online classes or distant learning is one avenue that adult learners have come to accept.
Roper states that more and more adults are finding online learning more convenience and flexible for their busy lifestyles (Roper, 2007). It is important that adult learners develop a good system of managing their time during their online education career from the start. This researcher found it quite hard to schedule my daily activities, other than work into my school needs. Studying, posting, and doing the assignments on time were difficult to fit into my twenty-four hours, seven day week period, but this researcher had to learn to manage and schedule my time if this researcher wanted to succeed. The main reason that many adults lack success was that they did know what to expect and never quite came to terms with the demands placed upon them (Talbot, 2007). As an online learner a student needs to makes a consistent study time each day, this should be about the same time each day if possible. As a student you should know what you need to study and the due dates of your assignments. This researcher likes to change locations as she gets bored and distracted easily. Make sure there is nothing to distract your attention away from your studies.
This researcher does like a little noise or music though. This researcher found that aside from household tasks, family needs, a working 8 to 5 every day, with church, four days a week and also keeping my god children so that their parents can go to a traditional college, being a procrastinator, as a student we may find it hard to stay focus on one thing for long. As a student if we moved away from our computer, we tend to start another task elsewhere, especially if we are at home, but like many adult learners, this researcher finds that the advantages of being able to progress at her own pace, where and when she choose to study far outweigh the disadvantages associated with distance learning (Talbot, 2007). As a student we must be able to commit to a specific amount of time to be given to reading. As a student we have to always think one day ahead of our normal day of events. We must put our schedules to memory when it comes to classwork and deadlines. This researcher learned through trial and error what worked best for her in developing a schedule and making the time needed to complete task. As an adult learner we must make the decision on whether or not online education works for us. Disciplining oneself to devoting time to study is a challenge for all students even those going to a campus (Roper, 2007).
This mode of education is not for everyone. This researcher realized that if there were children constantly in her home it would have been impossible for her to return to school, especially as a distant learner. Traditional college may have been this student’s only option. As it would offer daytime classes that would coincide with the schedules of work and children. Managing your time and studying is a learned behavior that adult learners need to acquire to begin a successful journey as an online student. Study time was the most of my problems, this researcher also found that understanding of the rubrics and syllabus in the beginning was confusing to a point where managing time was difficult. A student needs to set a good work habit in the beginning. It will assist in setting you up for not playing catch up with assignments and other tasks later. Adult learners must realize that there is a lot to online classes and a clear goal should be set as soon as you enter you class. Students has said that they have h to give up at least one night a weekend or two nights a weeks of going out just to keep up with their studies (Blaxter and Tight, 1994).
Most of this researchers studying was done late night, early morning and even with that many other things were left undone. Taking time during work, breaks or lunch hour, just so that this researcher can see what needs to be focus on. Being mindful of where you are in the weeks’ agenda and what is due is another way this researcher tried to stay ahead. Break up your assignments into bite size pieces on a daily planner as to not get overwhelmed. This researcher tries to study toward the goal for that week, earn a good grade and to learn something new. Time management appears to be the down fall of many adult learners. With life still moving on around them, planning is the one thing that can assist a learner. Plan your time wisely, become focus. A student should know their student handbook and the rules and laws of the school. What a student might have learned in high school or even college may have changed, so explored the area that is important to your career field as well as your topics. Learn the area of your school that can help a student in achieving their goals in your assignments.
Use the library, the search engines, web pages that is authorize by your instructors and bookmark anything that looks useful (Talbot, 2007). A student have to plan everything when everyone in the home leads a busy life, time management because of the essence, in order to get quality family togetherness. It is the bond that holds the family together. Soccer and cheerleading practice, church obligations, washing ironing, and cooking all must fit into your schedule and still as a student you much log on daily to keep up with your classes. We all learn that family comes first, but to achieve success in your career, we go back to school, putting pressure on the family structure. Women seem to feel more pressure on them to preform when they have a family, personal or work commitments (Blaxter and Tight, 1994). Getting others to understand why a student goes back to school is hard, especially adult learners, no children and no educational benefits from work. The stress level it has set students, they may feel that it is not worth it, but for this researcher the success of completing something started over 20 years ago makes it worth it.
Managing time between family and school is coping with the time given after work hours. Scheduling your time to study into your daily life is the best way to achieve success in school. Seeking family support or outside sources is also a way to get more from your online career. Adult learners gave up certain aspects of their lives to studying and staying focus. This researcher can’t mention how many times she wanted to give up because of not being able to put in the time for that week. We must achieve a balance to maintain success in school and life. Taking time for the student is a must. Even though as a student you give up so much, a student should keep a hobby or something to relax, either before or after your studies. This researcher calls it her ‘away time’ from the computer just to chill or spend time with her husband or shop. Maintaining a social life while studying online is hard as well, especially if people around you are in school and have their schedules to maintain.
Where online school takes over half of your free time because it is open twenty-four hours, seven days a week where most traditional colleges are scheduled according to the time you choose and close for holidays. A student also has person to person socializing on campus compared to online where you basically socialize with other students in forums or chat. There is no face to face, so there is no judgment of you as a person, just work that is posted. This researcher feels that socializing is much less when you are a distant learner. This researcher has skipped night services to study or finish assignment, as church is a big part of her social life. Other areas have taken a back seat, even with family; this researcher takes her computer as to sneak in a few minutes of school time. When this researcher went to college after high school, this researcher schedules her school around her family, now this researcher schedules her family around school. As a student this researcher has learned to keep a calendar handy. I have to schedule family, work and church (three different schedules there) events just to keep well round and not feel left out. This researcher is also learning from my children as they are going through this with young families and are succeeding.
The more responsibilities a student have outside of school the less time you will have to devote to your educational goals. Micromanaging your time becomes a must if a student wants a quality online educational experience. Roper states seven tips that online students felt helped them to succeed in online studies: developing a time management strategy such as becoming self-discipline; making the most on online discussion by building relationship with several other students; use what you are learning on your job or life immediately; asked useful question; stay motivating or keeping your eye on your goal; communicate the instruction technique that work for you to others; and make connection with more than one students (Roper, 2007). These tips help because this researcher has use several, especially applying what are learned from classes. A student has to learn how to become an effective student online to succeed. A student needs to set realistic goals. Know your level of study and a student may have to take lower level classes and build back up to where you were if it has been a while since you attended any type of learning institution.
As a student this researcher has started setting alarm alerts on the cell phone to be reminded of when assignments are due. Whether a student is taking a few classes, new to online or returning success depends on what you put into the time a student is in class. Some ways to achieve success as an adult learner is having confidence in your ability to stay focus, study, schedule family activities, social events and personal time around educational time (Talbot, 2007). A student has to get in a zone when others around you may be having a good time. Use a little of your vacation time and use time at home when no one is there or they are asleep to achieve your goal in class. When a student’s spouse works a graveyard shift they tend to sleep most of the day, so when this researcher is at home during these time it is easy study or when they has errands to complete. Online learning for adult learners is not easy but it is attainable if a student is willing to learn how to manage your time, stay focus and realize that some things you treasure at the moment may have to be minimize a little. Adult learner receives a fulfilling sense of ownership when they finish a task.
Even through you are alone, there are a lot of students, staff and educational consults behind you. You make not have that face to face, but it gets to the point where logging and on and seeing a message of encouragement is enough to get you through to the next assignment and then the next class. As a student every person who feels that they cannot return to school, should invest in the time to research distant learner. To feel the confidence in yourself when you have completed an assignment and to get immediate feedback from your instructor is good. The fact that the feedback is personal and private, unlike traditional classes where it can be discussed with the class, can make the student feel more at ease.
This student felt that it gave an insight into what your instructor expected of you. You always knew what they expect and they gave you the tool on how to achieve it. This researcher feels confident that in order to succeed in distant learning as a student you should make a schedule and stick to it, log in daily and write reminders. Just like a tradition college learn how to take notes, stay ahead of assignments and just have fun getting to know your teachers and the students in you field of student. There is success in everyone, and learning to manage your time to get the most out of your education is the greatest way to succeed in life and any school.
Blaxter, L.; Tight, M. (1994). Juggling with time: How adults manage their time for Lifelong Studies in the Education of Adults, 26, p162, 18p
Talbot, C. J, (2007). Studying at a Distance: A Guide for Students. London: McGraw Hill Open University Press. Roper, A. L. (2013). How Students Develop Online Learning Skills. Retrieve from http://connect.educause.edu/er