50 Habits of Highly Successful Online Learners

Online students have unique challenges, and the truly successful ones have some habits in common. Here are 50 characteristics and practices held by many successful online learners:

1. Self-Motivate: Online learners routinely motivate themselves to do coursework, complete research, or take another class toward a degree.

2. Organize: Being organized is essential to directing your own education. Successful online learners have a place for everything and everything in its place.

3. Read: Successful online learners learn to read quickly for content and retain information.

4. Research: Internet-based classes are often research-oriented. Successful students in these classes learn where to go for reliable resource material.

5. Write: Highly successful online learners communicate well through writing, since this is the primary mode of assignments and communication with professors.

6. Create Routines: Students who successfully complete degree programs online are people who build positive routines into their lives, such as scheduling consistent time to do school work.

7. Manage Time: Keeping track of time and responsibilities is absolutely necessary for finishing an online degree program, so successful students manage their time well.

8. Solve Problems: When online students have problems with course work, school communications, etc, they must act to solve problems and find resolution.

9. Ask for Help: Successful online learners are often balancing several areas of life, like work, family, and school. Great students learn when they need to ask for help.

10. Listen: Learning to listen attentively to video presentations, audio files, and even advice from experts in the field is a skill that successful online learners have.

11. Say No to Time-Consumers: Successful online learners are constantly in an environment of distractions that can suck up time. They learn to avoid email, Facebook, online games, and other time gobblers during school time.

12. Avoid Distractions: They also avoid distractions from outside, even if they have to turn and face a blank wall or get alone to work.

13. Tune Out White Noise: Online learners who succeed strive to tune out the distracting noises they cannot avoid

14. Leverage Small Amounts of Time: The minutes that some people lose while waiting at the doctor’s office or commuting to work are leveraged to their fullest using internet access on mobile devices or a simple planning notebook by successful online learners.

15. Work Efficiently: Even when they have larger chunks of time, successful online learners work steadily and efficiently.

16. Create Goals: Online learners who make it the long haul set goals for themselves and accomplish them.

17. Visualize the Future: They also imagine what life will be like when they accomplish a goal or graduate. Visualizing why they are doing the work helps maintain motivation.

18. Make To-Do Lists: Successful learners online keep track of the tasks they need to accomplish for each project, assignment, or course.

19. Accomplish Tasks: After making these to-do lists, they complete the tasks one by one until the list is finished.

20. Set Deadlines: The really successful learners online learn to break down assignments and duties into manageable amounts with reasonable deadlines to avoid procrastination.

21. Keep Deadlines: These smart scholars realize that holding yourself to a self-imposed deadline is a skill that will pay off now and in the future.

22. Prioritize: Assigning rank and importance to tasks helps online learners avoid wasting time trying to decide what to do next.

23. Make Informed Decisions: Before saying yes to something, successful online learners look at whether or not it is necessary or beneficial so they don’t overcrowd their lives.

24. Master Skills: Successful online students recognize what skills they repeat over and over and master them, so they are more efficient over the course of time.

25. Keep Themselves Healthy: Focused online students know that they don’t have time to be sick, so they take vitamins, get exercise, and avoid germs to stay healthy.

26. Get Enough Rest: It takes endurance to finish a degree program online. Not getting consistent, quality rest will cause students to burn out.

27. Set Aside Relaxation Time: A hard-working student’s brain needs down time. Successful students schedule some time to relax and have fun so they stay fresh and able to learn.

28. Embrace Technology: Because online education is conducted primarily on computers and mobile internet devices, successful students learn to use technology to make their school, work, and home lives run smoother.

29. Use Multi-Media: Successful online students use different types of media for presentations and projects, garnering higher grades and a variety of skills for communication.

30. Type: Hen-pecking at the keys with two index fingers will make an online degree feel interminable. Highly successful students in internet-based course perfect their typing skills.

31. Draw Connections: The more connections the brain can draw between school work and life, the higher the retention rate will be. Successful online learners draw connections to facilitate memory of information.

32. Draw Conclusions: High level online students also analyze and assimilate information to draw conclusions about the information.

33. Learn Quickly: Successful learners, especially in an online setting, can process information quickly and efficiently, finding the points that are of the most importance.

34. Exercise Responsibility: The students who achieve success in an online education setting are those who choose the responsible route even when a more fun one is presented to them.

35. Act Independently: These students also work on their tasks even when others are not completing work.

36. Work Together Dependably: When assigned team projects online, successful students are reliable and complete their part of the assignment dependably.

37. Ask Curious Questions: Successful online learners, the ones who turn out better prepared than their traditional classroom counterparts, are curious about material presented and do follow-up research to find out more.

38. Lead Others: Many online schools are making team projects a part of an online curriculum because so much of real-world experience is working within the context of a team. Successful students manage others effectively.

39. Do Quality Work: When you do something right the first time, there is no need to go back and do it over again. Successful online learners save time by doing quality work the first time.

40. Take Pride in Their Work: Successful online students apply value to their hard work and time expended, taking pride in a job well done.

41. Pay Attention to Details: Successful online learners pay attention to the details in assignments because they know that misreading the directions can result in doing inadequate work or too much work.

42. Keep a Calendar: Successful online students are busy people. They keep a calendar to avoid missing an important obligation or deadline, often color-coded according to what part of their life it applies to.

43. Schedule School Time Consistently: When they are filling out that calendar, successful online learners block out time routinely to complete course assignments.

44. Make Connections between Work and School: Realizing a link between something at work and something at school can help online learners to consolidate two projects, reducing research and development time.

45. Multi-Task: When possible, online learners find ways to be working on several things at once.

46. View Problems as Challenges: Keeping a positive outlook in the face of setbacks is essential for the successful completion of an online degree.

47. Double Check Work: High scoring online students double check their work. It is very easy when you can turn in an assignment to hit send right away. Higher quality students check over the work before clicking the send button.

48. Create Positive Peer Pressure: Successful online learners tell their family and friends what they are trying to accomplish and why. When others know the deadline for finishing a course or degree, they create positive peer pressure naturally.

49. Get Back on the Horse: When setbacks happen, successful students dust themselves off and start right back up again.

50. DON’T GIVE UP: The habit that has the most impact on whether or not an online student will be successful or not is perseverance. Successful online students simply will not give up!


  • http://distancelearn.about.com/od/distancelearning101/a/studentsuccess.htm
  • http://home.snu.edu/~hculbert/habits.htm
  • http://www.fairmontstate.edu/academics/distancelearning/successful_student.asp
  • http://news.everestonline.edu/post/2012/01/5-simple-habits-of-successful-online-students