Successful Learning Strategies

The Online Learning Experience

Successfully navigating the world of online education takes a particular set of skills that also apply to in-class instruction, but often are unique to computer-based learning. From ensuring technological compatibility to managing distractions, online students are faced with a variety of situations that may seem daunting.

But the challenge of online courses can be met with ease if students implement several proven strategies to manage their participation and produce a rewarding educational journey.

“I think that overall, this course was an excellent and completely worthwhile experience. While I often stretched myself very thin between 4th year clinical rotations, completing a VIRMP application, studying for boards, and studying for this course, I am very glad that I have had the opportunity to participate this semester.  I have gained a wealth of knowledge and now have great notes from experts in the field on the topics I care most about!”


— Ken Sieranski, Texas A & M University Class of 2013

Balance and Online Learning

While online courses offered through the Maddie’s® Shelter Medicine Program at the University of Florida are also open to private practice and shelter veterinarians, many challenges are exclusive to current  veterinary students enrolled in both class-based and virtual learning opportunities.

Achieving a balance between your school schedule and online course schedule takes effort, but it can be accomplished with concentration and the right strategy.

Ken Sieranski, Texas A&M University Class of 2013 and current Maddie’s® Shelter Medicine Intern, offers suggestions to student son how to coordinate your online education with the many responsibilities of full-time veterinary students.

Ken’s advice for online students can be found at the following link: Suggestions for Interested 3rd and 4th Year Veterinary Students

What it Takes to Succeed

Online Learning and Multitasking graphic from

Online Learning and Multitasking graphic from

Online learning provides the flexibility and convenience of being able to participate in courses from any location with a computer and internet connection. However, online education can also be just as challenging as traditional classes. It’s important to identify and recognize the skills you will need before starting any online course.

iSeek Education has compiled a brief guide to the skills, techniques and learning environments that will help online students at every level to thrive.

This overview explores the reality that online classes “require just as much, if not more, time and energy as traditional classroom courses.” These conditions mean that current or prospective students need to pay close attention to several distinct characteristics of the online learning experience in order to achieve their goals.


One of the most important attributes of any successful online student is to handle the distractions of an increasingly digital world. Modern conveniences like social media and text messages must be properly managed by online and in-class students alike.

Created by, the graphic posted here (right side of page) demonstrates the consequences of multitasking and its impact on educational performance. Grades suffer when concentration is divided between coursework and other activities.

Lacking the traditional class setting and schedule of on-campus students, online learners must be even more aware of time management and the potential effects of multitasking during virtual coursework.

Click here to view the full-size image of this chart and additional material from

Tips for Online Students

Current or prospective online students can apply a few helpful strategies that will allow them to successfully manage their virtual course load and get the most out of their web-based educational experience. From beginners to online learning veterans, a few simple steps can help anyone prepare for a positive and successful online course.

Here are five important tips for online learners: (From US News & World Report, 1/14/2013)

1. Confirm Technical Requirements

2. Connect with instructors early 

3. Create a schedule

4. Stay organized

5. Have a consistent workspace

For more on these five keys to successful online learning, visit the original article posted on US News & World Report

The Medical College of Wisconsin also offers a concise and useful examination of strategies and hints designed to make your online learning experience both productive and enjoyable. This short guide includes tips on technical access and the best ways to communicate with instructors and your fellow students.