Creating Adequate Study Space for Online Learning

 

Creating adequate study space is one of the challenges facing many online learning and distance education students.

 

Adequate Study Space Enhances Your Online Learning Productivity

 

It is necessary to have a dedicated personal study area because this provides important benefits to the study process. It is both a physical as well as psychological necessity for your online learning success.

 

Adequate study space creates a visible, physical, and personal location where your studies are carried out, and provides support facilities for your study activities.

 

Think of it as being similar to going to your workplace, where on arrival you switch into work mode. When you go to your study area, you switch into study mode.

 

Adequate study space enhances your online learning productivity. Where should your study space be situated? This will depend on the layout and size of your home, but there are some ideal places and some very unsuitable places. Your ultimate goal is to create a dedicated space with little or no distractions.

 

Avoid areas in your house that are used frequently for other domestic activities. These are highly unsuitable, as they have no professional or academic or personal development features, and are full of distractions and barriers to effective studying.

 

An ideal location would be in a small room that is specifically for study, in the style of a home office. Some students might have lofts, garages, or basements that could be converted. Less ideal, but still suitable, would be an area in a bedroom, equipped for study, and not used for any other purpose. This would remove you from most day and evening time domestic activities (and even if you are single, living alone, it will keep you away from the television and refrigerator).

 

If you do have to use a kitchen or living room, then you will need to alter your studying schedule so that you are studying when others are not present in these areas. Don’t try to study in the same room as others, or where there is domestic activity visible or audible. It won’t work.

 

Invest in a traditional desk. It doesn’t have to be large, or expensive (a low cost, used desk will be perfectly suitable). This will immediately give a professional, workplace feel to your study area, and give you drawers and surface space to place your computer, papers, printer, pens, study books, on. Next, make sure you obtain a suitable chair

 

An office-style, swivel chair would be best, but a fixed chair will suffice. No matter what style, make sure that it is comfortable to use for long periods. Again, a used chair will be just as good as a new one, if selected carefully.

Lighting is important. A well-lit room is vital, and a desk-top lamp can add focus to the working area.

 

Having supplies and peripherals nearby is helpful. A set of drawers in the desk, or a cupboard, or wall shelves, specifically for books, paper, pens, pencils, cartridges, etc, will help you to be organized, keep your study area tidy, and to have essential supplies available when you need them.

 

Choose a layout that suits you, but organize your equipment and furniture so that when you sit down to study you are not distracted by activity in a doorway, window, or other parts of the room.

 

For most people, keep it tidy is a good advice. Remember that old saying: a scattered desk is a scattered mind! Being organized is important to staying focused … you don’t want to be wasting your study time looking for your notes and books all the time. You probably don’t have that much time to waste to begin with!

 

Your personal study area should be used whenever you have planned, scheduled, study activity that requires you to read and reflect on what you are reading, carry out research on the internet, correspond by email, telephone, or letter with your instructor, or write responses to exercises, tests, or assignments. Don’t use it for anything else. It’s not the place to snack, watch television, plan the next vacation, chat on the phone, or surf the internet. If you want to do any of these, leave your study area and do them somewhere else!

 

If you have family or friends who live with you or work close to your study area, talk with them and agree that when you enter your personal study area they will not disturb you. Make this a permanent, non-negotiable, rule, broken only in cases of emergency.

 

You can help by scheduling your study times when other people are less likely to disturb you, and by building in time to spend with family and friends when you are not studying. If you like to listen to music, or the radio, when studying, that’s ok, but make sure that it is not in reality distracting you. Television is not a good idea, because of the distraction caused by the moving images.

 

If your study area is, by necessity, near a busy area where people are active, try to schedule your study time when that local activity is at its quietest, less busy times.

 

For some students it is not possible to have a dedicated personal study area in the home, or at least not a permanent one. External locations are available which, although not capable of being personalized, could be regular locations in which, with regular use, you can feel familiar and comfortable.

 

Libraries are always excellent alternatives. You may also find many internet cafes to be good study spaces. Some students may be able to make arrangements to study at their workplaces during after hours, or even on weekends.

Creating an adequate study area is one of the most beneficial actions that you can take when starting to study for a professional development qualification.

 

A properly equipped, well organized, study area becomes a recognized space that you enter into when you are scheduled to carry out some study time. It becomes a place where you are comfortable and familiar with the layout and facilities, and where you feel confident that you can work without interruption, without distractions, and most importantly, study effectively.

 

Even if you are not able to establish such a space in your own home, you should make every effort to recreate as many of the features described above, in another location. Once established it is easy to maintain, and grows in usefulness as you grow more comfortable in it.

 

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