No matter who you are, it’s very likely that you have a particular learning style that works for you. You could work best by creating visual representations of concepts or ideas, such as a mind-map; you may prefer to listen to lectures or podcasts several times to take in all the details. You might work best as the proverbial early bird or night-owl, choosing bite-sized chunks or mammoth study sessions.
Understanding your learning style is key when undertaking an online course, such as the University of York’s 100% online MSc program in Leadership and Management, as it allows you to tailor your learning approaches accordingly.
How online learning works
York’s online MSc programmes deliver all course materials via the internet, meaning you’re free to study any time, anywhere. As you are not on campus, it can take a lot of discipline to make sure that you keep up to date with study materials and devote time to planning.
Undertaking a Masters degree is an investment in your future and studying online is by no means the ‘easy option’. That said, earning an advanced qualification without having to take time away from work, meaning you can earn while you learn is a very tempting proposition.
Firstly, think about how you prefer to learn. Some people are very methodical and will happily spend a few hours reading, absorbing and really getting to grips with an idea or concept. If this sounds like you, it could be that making a block of time once or twice a week to devote to studying yields the best results.
Other people, however, find long sessions daunting as attention wanders or they get bored spending too long on a single activity. If this sounds like you, then daily studying time, possibly during your lunch break or on the commute to and from work could work best.
Most people with undergraduate degrees remember when it was a struggle to attend an early lecture or when they kept putting off a deadline. When attendance is compulsory, simply having that requirement is enough to motivate you but with self-reliant study, it can feel a little tougher. It’s best to think of it as an extension of your work role; you may have a number of projects competing for your time and attention, but managing them and not allowing work to pile up for too long is by far the best option.
Saving up too much work towards the end of modules is also not advisable. Although a little pressure can be very motivating, leaving too much work for a short time span when looking at a deadline can soon become an overwhelming prospect, particularly if work or family life suddenly becomes a little busier, leaving your studies to suffer.
The good news is that the freedom offered by online learning can pay dividends not only for your success in your current role but also in your future career. Earning an advanced degree from a prestigious Russell Group university could provide you with valuable skills that make you extremely desirable in the employment market. By devoting a little time, attention and discipline to it, you could improve your career prospects by using your evenings as you would for any other hobby. Like learning another language or playing an instrument, you’d be improving yourself, but with a much greater chance of getting a great return on that time investment.