How to learn online
Learning online offers you the convenience and flexibility to match your learning goals and lifestyle or location. Find out how to study online successfully and make the most of your learning journey.
Making online learning successful
Studying online makes study possible for people who can’t access one of our campuses or for people who want to balance study with work, family, or other commitments. But it has its own challenges. Work through this page to get some tips and ideas on how to make your online study successful.
Become familiar with your online learning environment
Getting to know your online environment is an important part to making your study successful. Moodle is our online learning platform and depending on your programme you could be using Moodle as well as other tools to access course material, interact with your teacher and other learners, take quizzes, and submit assignments.
Getting help and support
Knowing where to find resources and support will help you make the most out of your programme.
Find out how to access in-person support for online learning - The learning advisors and other staff at Student Success are there to support you.
Support resources to access online - The Student Support Te Ama Tauira website (this one!) has many resources to access at any time.
This page has ideas and suggestions to help you with:
Staying motivated while studying
Setting up your online study space
Planning your study
Engaging with your courses
Building your digital skills and learning about online tools
Learning skills and study strategies
Staying motivated can be a challenge when studying online. Try these tips to help you stay motivated with your online studies.
Tips to stay motivated
Know that you aren’t going to productive all the time. Recognise the negative thoughts and give yourself time to do the things you enjoy, as well as time to study.
Try turning off your notifications from social media or chat and makes sure you only have the browser windows open that you need to study. Try turning your phone to silent or off for a couple of hours.
Knowing what you have to do every day can help with motivation. Learn more about this in the section below.
What motivated you to do this programme? What motivates you to stay focused on your study? High grades and a good job at the end of it? A reward at the end of your course? Giving and receiving encouragement and feedback? Producing only the highest quality work? Figure out what goals have meaning for you.
Work on one small thing at a time. Each small section will add up to the whole.
Ask a friend or peer to keep you accountable in your study goals. Tell each other what you plan to do each day and then check in with each other to see if you both reached those goals.
It’s normal to be confused when learning new things but don’t let yourself become too frustrated or you’ll lose motivation. Ask for help from your peers, your teacher or Student Success.
Keep an eye on how you are progressing in your courses and celebrate your wins. Not all successes are landmarks, but getting better and more confident in how you are studying online is worth acknowledging!
If it’s not working, change it. This website has lots of suggestions for building your learning skills and ideas for study strategies. Remember that the learning advisors are always available to help you as well.
Set up your online study space
Most online learning happens in your own space and in your own time, although some programmes will have online tutorials and/or practical blocks. Where and when you study will be really important to your study success.
Your study space
Give yourself the best chance for comfortable, uninterrupted study. Avoid studying where you sleep or where others socialise. Find a quiet place where you are unlikely to be disturbed or distracted.
Your technology space
To study online you will need a computer, a reliable internet connection, headphones/microphone and if possible, a web camera.
As a basic guide, if you can stream a YouTube video without it stopping to buffer, you probably have equipment that will allow you to study online. You programme facilitators should be able to give you more specific information about these specifications.
Your own time
Make time for your studies. Many online learners are balancing study with other responsibilities in their lives, like work or family.
Make sure you have time carved out in your week for you. Learn more in the plan your study section below and the Work and Life Balance page.
Plan your study
Planning your study will help you fit everything into your busy schedule, keep you on track, avoid procrastination and it will even help with motivation!
Set goals and rewards
Set yourself some short and long term goals to help you accomplish what you want to, see the example below:
Short term goal: Study for an hour = Reward: 10 mins break
Mid term goal: Finish this assignment by Friday = Reward: Going to the movies
Long term goal: Finish this course = Reward: Go away for the weekend
Create a personal schedule
Breaks, meals and exercise times
Class times and class discussions
Time to research and read
Time to complete activities and assessments
Engage with your courses
To get the most out of your courses you will need to actively engage in the course materials and in any online lessons, activities, and discussions.
Tips for being engaged with your courses
If there is an orientation and induction provided, make the most of it. This orientation will describe your course requirements and outline and explain the specific online tools and strategies you will need for the course. If your course is blended, you will learn which parts of the course will be face to face.
Actively engage with readings, videos and activities. Think about the expected learning objectives, what are you learning as you watch or read each resource?
Makes notes while watching, reading or participating in an online lesson. You can build up a reference for later and retrieve the key points at a glance.
If your course includes online lessons make sure that you are there and that you participate in the lesson. Ask questions, engage in any group activities. If you don’t feel confident speaking out loud, use the chat function to type something.
Find out more about online communication in the section below.
If you need support, talk to your teacher. They are there to help you.
Your teacher may use several ways to communicate with you, like forums, chat posts, emails etc. Let them know which communication techniques work best for you so they can provide you with the best possible online learning experience.
Asking regular questions is important to successful online learning. Make use of the forums or chats to ask questions and engage with any questions from your teachers and/or other learners.
Communication online can be harder than we anticipate. The Communicating online page has lots of suggestions for how to communicate effectively online. Below are a couple of ideas to get you started.
Make the most of online discussions
Make the most of collaboration and you can expect to engage more meaningfully with course material and other learners. You may find yourself learning more from your online classmates than you expected.
Think about other students' ideas
Respond to suggestions from your teacher.
Learn together online
Set up or join an online group for your course or programme so you can ask questions or study together online. Many programmes will use a platform that allows you to do this easily. Having regular contact with your classmates can be a big help.
Digital skills and online tools
Build up your digital skills to support your online learning. To study online you will need to be familiar with computer skills such as using a browser, creating documents, managing your files, and using a calendar and email. It is highly recommended that you feel comfortable doing these things, otherwise you may find it challenging to keep up with your online study.
The links below are a good place to start to brush up on your digital skills:
Build your digital skills
Save and back up your work
It is very important that you have a system for saving and backing up your work. Saving your work on your home computer could cause an issue if that computer breaks down, likewise an external hard drive can be lost or corrupted.
As a Te Pūkenga learner you have access to an online storage option, OneDrive, which offers you 1TB of cloud storage, accessible anywhere. You can even work in offline mode.
Moodle is our online learning site or learning management system (LMS) . It is where your programme and course resources may be stored, and where you may submit your assessments to.
MS Teams is an online app communication tool. Your teacher may use Teams to post messages and run online sessions. You can also post chat messages and access files through Teams
The Robertson Library is available to all students, whether you are located outside of Dunedin or studying online.
Find out how to access their services as a distance or online learners.
All our learners have free access to the LinkedIn Learning video library. You can search from hundreds of video tutorials on many different topics such as technology, photography, public speaking and writing an essay.
eTV is an online video library for New Zealand educators. It has a wide range of national and international video library services, as well as providing a live streaming service for all Free to Air NZ channels and selected international channels
Studiosity offers free online after-hours learning support to our learners. Studiosity is not currently available to learners at the Auckland campus.
For more information about how to use digital tools for study, visit the IT Support page.
Learning skills and study strategies
There is a range of learning skills and study strategies you can use to support yourself when you are studying and make your study time more effective.
Have a look at these resources if you would like support with these learning skills. Remember you can always ask for support from the Learning Advisors at Student Success
Attributions and References
This work includes material from the following sources.
Hero image: Puzzle. Annca. https://pixabay.com/en/puzzle-share-fit-piecing-together-1261138/ Licensed under Creative Commons CC0 Universal
Study for Success. Required Academic Competency to Succeed in Online Courses. http://tutorials.istudy.psu.edu/learningonline/learningonline3.html Licensed under Creative Commons NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported