Online learning has been experiencing a growth in popularity and patronage over the past few years. This is partly because of the flexibility it provides its students, who no longer have to sacrifice work or family obligations to attend their classes. But while it seems to be more convenient compared to traditional brick and mortar schools, online education do require the same amount of work as classroom courses, if not more.

If you are considering taking an online course soon, here are seven qualities and skills worth having or developing to ensure that you successfully complete your course.

Internal Motivation

As with anything that you want to accomplish in life, online learning requires motivation. To be successful, an online student has to want to succeed. Given the flexibility and convenience of online courses, it is so easy for a student to get distracted or tempted to focus on other things, leaving their online studying as the least of their priorities. Being motivated keeps you on track and committed to doing your daily requirements and meeting your project deadlines.

Discipline and Focus

Without the usual distractions present in a classroom setting, online learning allows students to concentrate better on the lectures and understand the course better. But this will not be possible without proper discipline and focus. Studying in a quiet place away from video games, TV, or your kids helps ensure that you maintain your focus on studying. It is also best to turn off your phone or put it on silent mode. Avoid surfing the internet, as this could easily eat up your study time and keep you from finishing the lesson or task you have for the day.

Time Management

The flexibility offered by online course can also be a drawback for someone who does not know how to manage their time well. Before you start with your course, review the syllabus and create a schedule for completing your projects or assignments. Plot a daily to-do list and commit to completing this every day. Accomplishing tasks on a daily basis will help ensure that you finish the course within a reasonable time frame.

Computer Reading and Writing

The physical absence of a professor means that your online course will involve a lot of reading and writing on the computer. You must be comfortable reading a lot of online materials and typing your assignments and communications among your teachers and fellow students. There are free typing software available for those who type less than 25-30 words per minute. This can help improve your computer typing skills and prepare you for your online course.

Basic Computer Skills

Since you are going to study online, it is imperative that you possess basic computer skills, such as creating new documents, navigating the internet, and downloading software. Most online courses make it convenient for students to learn these skills with their orientation programs where they discuss their learning management system and other online tools. However, these orientation programs do not cover the basics, so best to do your research and polish up on these skills before you start with the course.

Effective and Appropriate Communication

When communicating online with teachers and fellow students via chat, email, or forums, there are no non-verbal cues that can make it easier for them to understand the message you are sending them, so being able to communicate your questions or statements effectively is vital to get the proper response in return. Always remember to use appropriate language, writing full, grammatically correct sentences that are straightforward yet with a respectful tone.


There are a few challenges that online students will experience, and being persistent will help them overcome these challenges and succeed in their online course. One needs to be committed to working on their course on a regular basis, tolerate technical issues that may happen from time to time, seek help from their educators and co-students whenever necessary, and never stop trying.

Schools and educators who create online courses for undergraduates and working professionals offer so many advantages with their online courses, and it is up to the students to put in the effort to successfully complete their course. Having these skills will help you optimize your online learning potential and finish your course with flying colors!

Michelle Rubio is an experienced SEO copywriter and blogger since 2010. She has been working with various businesses, big and small, in the United States, UK, Canada, and Australia. You can see more of her works and experiences in her LinkedIn profile.