Itís that time of year when many people set their goals for the coming year. Unfortunately these New Yearís Resolutions are often too idealistic and unattainable. As distance learning students however, you can and should set realistic goals that have meaning for you. Those goals can be personal ones but you can also set learning goals. If you have set learning goals at the beginning of the school year, then now is a good time to review them to see how you have done and whether any of them need to be revised at this point.
Why should you set learning goals?
Research shows that setting realistic goals for your learning, leads to higher achievement. Part of the reason for that is that, if you set goals, you are creating more interest in the outcomes of your studies. Not only are you more interested but you are more committed to achieving them once you have set the goals. Goals are like a roadmap. If you donít know where you are going when you get in your car, you could end up anywhere. But when you know where you are going, you will probably take the most efficient route to get there. Why are you going to school? What do you hope to accomplish while you are there? If you donít know then you may not accomplish anything.
How will you use goals?
1. To track your progress toward your larger goals. You will know if a small goal has been completed or at least partially completed.
2. As a plan of action. If you are not reaching the small goals then you know you are not headed toward the large ones. You can determine whether the goals are the right ones for you. Perhaps you have set the goals too low so that you donít feel you are really accomplishing anything. Or, you may have set them too high making it nearly impossible to achieve them. They need to be challenging but not impossible to achieve. You can reset your goals any time you want.
3. As a record of what you have learned to date. It sure feels good to look at a list of accomplishments over a period of time. This can motivate you to keep going and sometimes to work even harder. Regardless, it does boost your self-confidence to see that you are making progress Ė especially if the work is difficult for you. This record is really helpful when planning new goals in the future.
4. If you have not made the progress you were hoping for, now would be the time to review your goals and reset them. This review can be a good end of course activity so that you have a chance to think about and possibly discuss with your instructor the reasons for achievement or non-achievement of goals.
The beginning of a new year or a new school year is a good time to consider where you are headed in your life and how you are going to get there. As a distance learning student you can set academic goals for what you want to learn and for the marks you want to achieve. You can also set financial goals to ensure that you are able to finish your education. Setting goals will help you to get there. Reviewing them frequently will provide self-confidence in your abilities when you see your accomplishments and give you the opportunity to update the goals. In this way you will have a far greater chance of reaching your potential through your distance learning courses.