If you have chosen to learn from home and enrol onto a distance learning course, then maximising your learning environment is essential to ensuring that you receive ample opportunities to absorb your course materials.
The key to achieving it is making sure you create a space that is not only filled with positivity, but that will allow you to confidently learn without ever becoming bored or filled with trepidation.
So how can it be done? How can you create the ideal home learning environment?
Take control of your studies
Unlike classrooms – where learning is formal and controlled within a rigid educational setting – distance learning allows you to take charge of your learning space and create a schedule that works around you.
This means that no matter whether you are a morning person or a night owl, you can confidently manage your time, and structure your studies to suit your existing needs, pace and study preferences.
For instance, should you ever struggle to wrap your head around a particular topic – with a distance learning course you can easily spend a little longer getting to grips with the material before moving onto the next topic. In fact, you can spend as long as you need wrapping your head around it, as there is none of pressure that comes with learning in a classroom i.e. where in every class you are expected to move onto the next topic, even if you didn’t understand the previous one.
Choose your surroundings wisely
Studies have shown that your environment can affect your learning progress by up to 25%, so if you wish to succeed you need to find the right environment for you. Obviously everyone is different and what works for one person may not necessarily work for you; however, the following physical aspects can each influence how receptive you are to your learning environment:
– Colour: these should stimulate your brain and not leave you feeling over-excited or depressed.
– Organisation: your resources/equipment should be stored in such a way that they are easily accessible, but don’t overrun your space. Similarly, before you start you should always make sure that you have got everything you need. This can range from having your textbooks at the ready, or having easy access to highlighters, pens and paper.
– Cleanliness: aim to keep your space clean and tidy. You’d be surprised by how easily a stain or piles of paper can distract you.
– Space: studies have shown that students need approximately 4 feet of personal space in order to feel comfortable.
Alongside organising your time, you need an environment that is free of disorder and chaos. Yet to achieve this you need to do more than be tidy. You also need to consider:
– Using the right furniture: the right furniture (in good condition) paired with the right equipment is believed to be conducive to learning as they can help to create a structured, high performing learning environment.
– Comfort – discomfort can lead to distraction. That is why, it is essential that you find a space where you can sit comfortably for hours – without experiencing any physical aches or pains – so you can study without interruption. PLEASE NOTE: whilst you might think of your bed as a place where you can relax, you need to bear in mind that your bed is primarily designed to support your back whilst you’re lying down, and may not be able to offer you the same physical support when you’re sitting up.
– Freedom to move – being able to move unhindered can improve your concentration.
-Visibility – avoid dull settings and poor lighting as this can hinder your ability to read and concentrate.
The ‘psychology of effective learning’ is primarily concerned with behaviour, positivity, motivation and clear structure. So whilst it is important to create the perfect learning environment, you also need to take into consideration these four psychological aspects.
-Behaviour: if friends, family or your partner isn’t fully supportive of your study choices, then this negativity can lead to anxiety or poor performance. For this reason, you should strive to maintain a positive mood and behaviour. This can be achieved by creating a designated space to study that is free of any negative intrusions.
– Positivity: signing up to a distance learning course can be an exciting yet daunting experience – especially when you are struggling to understand a new concept. To help maintain your positivity, try splitting your studies into bite-size chunks so you are able to maintain a clear path to your goals. By doing so, your studies won’t feel unsurmountable, but easy, accessible and achievable.
– Motivation: integral to remaining positive is motivation. Understanding what is motivating or inspiring you to enrol onto a course – promotion, new career, making a positive change to your life, hobby etc. – can help you to stay on track and focused on your goals.
– Structure: this covers more than creating the right learning space, but also the structure of your course and your understanding of yourself as a learner. For instance, organised learning e.g. set modules, units etc. can help you to recognise the expectations of the course, so you can positively respond to the learning that is being provided. Take the following scenario: if the course is clear about you needing to complete an assignment at the end of every unit (and there are 8 units in total); then from the start you will know the exact amount of work that is expected of you.
Learning is truly a fantastic way to pick up new skills, expand your credentials and get one step closer to your dream career. Yet it can also be fun and exciting! The trick is knowing how to optimise your learning environment so you can maximise your level of absorption and your overall learning experience.
So if you are interested in studying from home, why not bear the above tips in mind and ensure your study space is perfect for you? All it takes is a few simple changes.
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