Mistakes to Avoid as an Online Learner

Mistakes to Avoid as an Online Learner

I have been in the distance and online education for twenty-five years – as a student, faculty member, and administrator.  I have seen over the years, first-hand, numerous advances in technology, curriculum design, and student services.  Many of these advances enhance student engagement, productivity, and success.  We have put many of these same things in place at Light University Online (www.lightuonline.com).  Why?  Because at Light University Online, part of our mission is for our students to get the most out of their experience, be fully engaged in what they are learning,  and have all of this positively impact their personal ministries.

However, the more things change on one end, the more some things stay the same on the other.  And, this is true with the online learner’s approach to online learning as a whole.  Although there are all these additional resources and technologies, I have found that there is a thread of “common mistakes” that a percentage of online learners make on a consistent basis.  Here are some of the most common mistakes that I have seen:

1.  Not developing proper study routines for online coursework as if one was sitting in the classroom — online students must maintain disciplined schedules.  Most online programs offer compressed terms of between 5 – 8 weeks so it is critical to set aside the necessary time to successfully complete the coursework and enjoy a positive learning experience.

2.  Not communicating — online students must communicate with their instructors and fellow students.  One of the advantages of online learning is the use of discussion boards, group activities and projects, and email correspondence.  Online students should take full advantage of every possible interaction point.

3.  Not having a goal in mind — one of the great interruptions to online learning that I see every day in the online classroom is life itself.  Most online students are busy adults, working a full-time job, and raising a family.  And you know what, there are times when life gets in the way — family sickness, added work responsibilities, and the infamous “computer problems.”  That is why one of the common mistakes online students make is that they don’t see the big picture, the ultimate prize to their toil and hard work.


About The Author

Shaun Redgate is Vice President of Enrollment Management at Light University Online.  He has been in distance and online learning for 25 years and has seen this industry evolve from its humble beginnings to where it is today.  He is widely recognized as a leading expert in his field.  He has witnessed firsthand, as a student, faculty and in various administrative roles, how online learning changes lives.  Shaun holds his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Liberty University.


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