4 ways to make online study work for you

10 March 2020 Ewan Birnie
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As little as 15 years ago, the idea of studying a fitness course online would have seemed absurd. But the development in learning technology has led to the online learning environment getting closer and closer to the classroom experience.

This coupled with the busy lifestyle that more and more people are leading has seen the popularity of online study grow exponentially. The opportunity to study something you’re passionate about with minimal disruption to your current lifestyle or to start working towards a new career without giving up your current one is realistic due to the flexibility that online study provides.

However, the online learning environment can be intimidating for those that have not previously studied in this way and is one of the main barriers that new students face in taking the next step. Below are FIA Fitnation’s four top tips to make online study work for you.

1. Know how you like to learn

Be aware that everyone learns differently. We all have individual preferences on how we like to receive information, and techniques we adopt to ensure we retain that information. If the online learning environment is new to you, the variety and volume of information available at your fingertips can often overcomplicate the learning process. It is worth taking the time to establish which types of resources will lead to you having the most successful and enjoyable learning experience. Here are a couple of questions to ask yourself.

What apps do you spend most time on?

Take a look at the screen time analytics available on most Smart Phones. This will give you a breakdown of how much time you spend on each app each day/week/month. How is the content presented on each of the apps? What is the split between images, videos, audio and text? For example, if your analytics show you’re never off Instagram and YouTube, it may suggest that you enjoy absorbing visual information. Or if most of your time is spend on podcasts, it may indicate you prefer to listen to learn? Or if you’ve always got your head an eBook, it might suggest you like to read to learn.

Do you buy physical books?

Sales of physical books have plummeted as eBooks, audiobooks and podcasts have flourished. If you still buy physical books despite the availability of technology, this would suggest that reading could be an important component of learning for you.

How much do you use pen and paper?

Note taking was previously a staple of every classroom. The teacher would talk, and students would furiously try to write down every word they were sharing. With increased accessibility to information at the touch of a button, the need to have everything recorded physically is no longer there. However, the act of note taking is something that can help learners to consolidate their learning. If you currently use a physical diary to plan your life or go shopping with a list on a piece of paper with a pen, you might find that writing/note taking could be a beneficial task for you to complete during your study.

Consider past learning experiences

What learning have you enjoyed or not enjoyed in the past? Establish if there are any key features of these experiences that led to you having this opinion, and try to replicate the good parts, and remove the bad parts where you can.

Be mindful when studying

Once you get started in your course of study, constantly reflect on how valuable the time you’ve dedicated to learning in a day/week/month has been. If you don’t feel like you’re progressing, change up the way that you study and the types of resources you engage with. 1 hour of quality study engaging with resources you enjoy and absorb is better than 6 hours of study where this is not the case.

At FIAFitnation, we provide a diverse set of flexible learning resources that allow you to use them in the way that best suits you. We have recorded lecturers, eBooks, videos and audio resources, meaning that you can study the way you want to.

2. Plan

It is an obvious step, but one that is so often missed. Chances are, one of the reasons you’re thinking of studying online is that you need a flexible study option to fit in around your busy lifestyle. Flexibility provides freedom often at the expense of structure. Make sure you put your study time in your calendar as you would for any other activity or event. Start with your goal end date in mind, working back from there to establish how much time you will spend studying each week.

At FIAFitnation, we provide all students with a clear study guide that outlines recommended activities to be completed each week. However, we don’t lock in submission due dates. We recognise that each student will work at varying paces at different points in the course due to competing demands. Provided all activities are completed by your completion date, you can work at the pace that suits you.

3. Use the support available to you

Studying online can feel isolating in comparison to being in a classroom with your peers. This makes it all the more important to use the study support services available to you. Remember, you are part of the college in the same way as an on-campus student. You are unlikely to hesitate to ask for help if you were there in person, so apply this approach when studying online.

At FIAFitnation, we provide a wide range of support options to our online students. Each of our courses has a dedicated online tutor and student advisor who can be contacted 9am-5pm Monday to Friday via email or phone. Our policy is to return all queries by the end of the day, meaning you will get a response within 24 hours of your question. You can also arrange a time to sit down with a tutor to run over your queries if you feel that some face to face time would be beneficial. If you would like a little more than this, you can arrange to drop into one of our on-campus classes.

We have also created the ‘FIAFitnation Knowledge Base’, which collates all of the FAQs we receive. This can be particularly useful for those of you looking for guidance outside of office hours.

Finally, we have an FIA FItnation Student Facebook page. This page allows you to connect with other online students all over Australia.

4. Get practical experience

Whilst learning the theory is important, don’t lose sight of the fact that you are studying to work in a very practical environment. It can be easy to get her head stuck in the books when studying online. Get yourself into the gym to practice what you’ve been learning, train your family and friends to get some coaching experience or try new workouts that you’ve never done before. These experiences will lead to enhanced learning and ultimately, you being a better trainer.

At FIAFitnation, we make a big effort to bring the practical aspects of the course to life. We have a full exercise library containing instructional videos of over 50 key exercises and their progressions and regressions. We also have all of our online student complete workplace internships to give them an opportunity to apply their learning as part of the course.

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FIA Fitnation - Ewan Birnie

Ewan Birnie

National Academic Manager

Ewan is an experienced fitness educator having taught in the field for 12 years in the UK and Australia, as well as working within the industry for over 16 years.  He is passionate about creating and delivering high quality and current learning experiences to fitness students.  His fitness interests lie in working with young athletes, with a history of employment in sports coaching and strength and conditioning in a variety of sports.  He is also a big believer in creating simple and sustainable exercise solutions for the general population that can have a meaningful impact on health and wellbeing.

Career in Fitness

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