Sometimes, when you are studying you can find yourself beginning to lose motivation in your subject of choice. If this happens, it is helpful to remind yourself why you started your course at the beginning. Spending time at the outset identifying your reasons for learning will be useful later if you hit a lull in your motivation.
Why are you studying a subject?
Clearly, you are – or were - interested in the topic of study. So think in depth about the motivation behind your decision to enrol in this course. Perhaps competence in this subject is a stepping stone to what you wish to do next – either in your career or in your personal life. Or perhaps you have a great passion for a subject and wish to absorb good quality information about it. But, for all sorts of reasons, they need to be important to you rather than someone else. Even if you are required to learn by someone else, such as your work manager, there is probably some underlying reason why you are agreeing to do so. For example, you want to have a qualification and more choice in your future career. You may also have other more personal and positive aims, such as improving self confidence and engaging your brain in a useful way.
What are your targets?
Now you have considered your original reasons for studying, it is useful to set yourself targets. These targets need to answer specific questions like ‘By [what date]…?’ and ‘At what level…?’ Remember to set reasonable goals – ones which are not too far ahead to see the progress you will be making. For example, consider the following two targets:
By this time next year, I’ll have completed all twelve modules on Horticulture.’
By this time next month I’ll have completed the first module on Horticulture.
It is clear that the second target is a more realistic one. This is because it focuses on early gratification. In contrast, ‘This time next year’ seems a long way ahead, and makes it all too easy not to get started right now. The checklist below will help you create targets that you are most likely to meet:
Make sure your targets are:
achievable (- it is unwise to aim too high at first)
reasonable ( - do not take on more than you have time for)
flexible (- allow some room for adjustment if your circumstances change)
sufficient (ensure your aims are adequate to meet your needs).
During your learning journey, it is important to keep aware of your targets and adjust them if necessary. For example, if you are three weeks behind schedule, would you feel dejected and give up your plans altogether? Hopefully not. You can re-plan your targets, allowing them to take into account the various things in your life that are also important. If you find yourself having to change your targets often, this is still far better than not having any targets at all and allowing yourself to drift along.
Remember that as a student of the Academy for Distance Learning, you can ask for help from your tutor about any aspects of the course content that you feel unsure about.