Distance learning has become increasingly popular, but it is not a new idea. People have been learning and studying online and remotely for a long time, and there are plenty of courses and accessories to help make your experience as comfortable and fruitful as possible. You may be switching from in-person to online learning or be considering starting a brand-new course. Here are a couple of areas to think about to get you started on your journey!

Courses

There are a huge range of courses and subjects available to study, which means you may be able to deepen your knowledge and follow your passions from the comfort of your own home. Courses like an MSW are designed for working professionals who wish to study alongside their jobs. The MSW offers a part-time study, with a combination of in-person and online teaching and placements. This gives you the best of both worlds, as you can complete your MSW whilst working and earning money, from home and practically in person where necessary.

The MSW is also aimed at those who already have a bachelor’s degree, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be in social work. The great thing about online courses is that many rely on previous skills and credits you may already have, allowing you to study comfortably and sometimes at an accelerated pace. This is perfect if you want to learn something new, or maybe change your career path. An online course such as the MSW allows you to enter a new field of study without starting right from the beginning.

The course is also available in most states, so that you can study it regardless of your location, or what your local colleges or universities offer. This means that you can study an MSW wherever you live, allowing you to pursue this degree without geographical confinements. It also means you may be able to meet and work with people from different places, broadening your knowledge and understanding of the world, and teaching important life skills like communication.

Breaks

Taking breaks is incredibly important when studying from home. As you would if you were learning in-person, regular breaks don’t need to disappear just because you’re already home. There are many benefits to scheduling breaks into your day, including boosting your mental health, refocusing yourself and just allowing your body and mind to relax. If you are sitting at a desk or screen, it is important to move your body and get your blood flowing frequently. Not only will this help prevent aches and pains, but it will get the blood pumping to your brain, making you work more productively.

There are many ways to use your breaks efficiently. This may involve watching an episode of your favorite show, reading a few chapters of a book, going for a walk or doing some light yoga. Fresh air is super important, and a change of scenery can really do wonders for your mind, so getting active outside is a great break-time activity. There are also many types of yoga and stretches you can do at home, or even right at your desk, to relax your body and focus on your breathing. Set reminders on your phone or device to make sure you take these breaks, as it can be all too easy to get carried away and forget. Breaks are just as important as the work itself, as they help reset your mind and make you feel ready for the next lesson or chapter,

Fuel

Make sure you eat and drink enough to fuel your mind and body. It may be tempting to snack when you are at home, as food is readily available, and you might not want to take a break to cook. However, replacing your usual snacks with some brain-boosting alternatives can make a big difference, as can eating three square meals a day. Foods that help to improve brain function include:

  • Green leafy vegetables such as kale and spinach
  • Nuts and seeds like almonds
  • Oily fish
  • Oatmeal

It is vital to stay hydrated, so drinking plenty of water throughout the day will help your brain and the rest of your body to stay in good condition. Using a reusable water bottle, and keeping it topped up and near you, will remind you to drink water frequently. You can set reminders on your phone, prompting you to drink water, take breaks and eat food, so that you don’t forget and feel worse for it later on. You can also prepare meals in advance, just as you would if you were studying on a campus. This can help you get into some kind of a routine and ensure that you have a good wholesome meal available when you need it. Meal prep can seem intimidating, but there are plenty of great and easy recipes for you to try, so you don’t have to be a brilliant cook to give your body all the nutrients it needs.

Accessories

It may be worth investing in some accessories to make your MSW or other subjects as comfortable as possible. Sitting at a desk all day and staring at a screen, can be uncomfortable and result in aches, pains, and posture issues further down the line. Using an ergonomic chair can support you and maintain good posture whilst you work and are a very useful investment. Some jobs or institutions may even provide them, so it is worth asking. Looking after your posture and body is very important, as it can help improve your balance, energy levels and reduce headaches. Regular breaks and stretching will also help keep your bones in alignment and get the blood flowing around your body. When working from home, it can be tempted to stay in bed or on the couch, but just sitting upright in an appropriate chair can make a huge difference to your body and the work you produce.

Further considerations include a laptop stand. This will push your screen further up into your eye line, preventing you from looking down all the time and straining your neck. Some accessories can help improve your focus, such as noise-canceling headphones. These are great if you want to listen to a playlist or lecture or block out any unwanted noises. Screen protectors or glasses that filter out blue light from your devices may also be helpful, as this type of light can impact your sleep.

Location

Choosing a location to study from is also important, as there are a few basic tips that can assist you make the most of whatever space you have. Whether you are completing an MSW or learning a new language, having a clear workspace is important to keep your mind focused. Removing clutter removes distractions and means that you have plenty of room for your learning resources and equipment. If you can, sitting near a window will give you fresh air and natural light, which will help your mind and body whilst you work.

It is important to create a relaxing yet stimulating working environment where you can work efficiently and comfortably. Small things you can do to improve your workspace include plants or scented candles, making sure you are a good temperature and even investing in some nice stationery to keep everything organized. Organization is a vital part of learning online, as you may have to keep on top of your course and other life commitments. This is an incredibly valuable skill to develop and will stay with you long after your course has been completed. There are many ways to stay organized and keep notes, so it may take some time to learn what works for you. There are different ways of learning, such as visual or aural learning, and you may need to work out what kind of learning works best for you. Do you take in information from presentations, videos and images, or do you learn better from reading and writing information? Finding out what works for you will make your studying experience more enjoyable and efficient, as you will learn how your brain works best.

If you choose not to study from home, you may find libraries or coffee shops a good alternative. It is important to choose a location that suits your needs. There is no use to listen to a lecture in a busy café or speak out loud in a quiet library. Choose a place that works for you and is appropriate and ask around to see if people you know have any recommendations. Your location will also depend on the kind of equipment you need to use, so make sure you have plenty of room and a clear space to lay out all of your work, without getting in the way of others or losing anything!

Benefits

There are so many benefits to studying online, from reduced costs to wider study options so that it may be the perfect option for you. The tuition fees for many online courses are cheaper, which is one huge plus. Furthermore, with courses like the MSW, there is plenty of financial support available and the option to waive the GRE test if you are eligible. Other areas where costs can be reduced include travel and accommodation, as you do not need to commute to campuses each day. This is good for the planet, as it reduces the fuel used and emissions from vehicles.

Another benefit of online study is the sheer volume of topics and course types available, and the lack of geographical limits. Often, you may only be able to study what your local college or institution offers, which means you might miss out on your dream course. On the internet, courses can be studied anywhere, so you have much more access to courses and subjects. You can study an MSW from a huge range of locations, and still receive top quality training and education. Courses that are designed to be taught and studied online and at a distance will help you make the most of the lessons regardless of where you are working.

Having access to the internet and all of its resources can also enhance your learning experience. You may find more discounted or free books or materials, saving you money and time, and allowing you to study as efficiently as possible. Previous students may have books for sale, or your institute may offer discounts to certain sites or subscriptions. It is worth looking into this and making the most of the deals offered to you as a student. If your lessons are recorded and uploaded, this can also be a great way to revise and go over topics you may struggle with. Everything you may need is right there for you to access, so you don’t have the pressure of getting everything right the first time around. The pace at which you can work may also be up to you, so that you can complete lessons in your own time, working them around any existing commitments you may have.

Online study can also help build upon soft skills that are desirable to employers. These include time management and self-motivation, both of which are vital in online study. When you are working from home and don’t have a tutor or peers surrounding you, it may feel easier to be distracted. Teaching yourself discipline is a big part of completing an online course, and these skills are incredibly useful in the workplace. Not only will you benefit from the course’s actual specific content, but the skills you learn as a student will also be incredibly helpful in future endeavors.

Overall, online study is a great way to broaden your knowledge, learn new skills or make a new career move, while continuing with your everyday life. Courses like the MSW are designed for people who already have degrees and jobs and may want to take their education to the next level. Online courses offer plenty of support and study options so that they could be the next step for you!