Tips for successful distance learning experience

Make sure you have the minimum technological requirements to participate in the event (i.e., computer with CD-ROM drive, modem, printer, VCR, etc.) and know how to use it properly.

Prepare before the event begins by thinking of questions that you might have for the instructor or facilitator. If possible, you should take a “practice run” of the course (or practice web site) to prepare yourself for the actual event.

Schedule the appropriate number of hours per week and, if applicable, participate in the event every day. You will find that participating every day keeps you informed of what other participants are talking about online.

Be self-motivated and self-disciplined. It is easy to become side-tracked because of the freedom that distance learning affords. The truth is, you will need the same level of commitment that you would normally have for a face-to-face event.

Avoid distractions and interruptions during the time you have reserved for participation. If possible, find a quiet spot at work or at home to concentrate on the event.

Think ideas and thoughts through before responding. It is important to remember that once you have posted a comment to a message board or chat room that your response is there to stay.

Let the instructor or facilitator know if problems arise. A well-managed course or training should have a person assigned to assist you with technological or content issues.

Know that distance learning is not for everybody. Some people feel that they will simply benefit more from a traditional face-to-face event.

Relax and enjoy your new experience!