5 Tips for Online Learning Success in Nursing School

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Online learning success is attainable when you practice good time management skills, create an organizational system, practice active listening and use the resources available to you. A successful online learner engages in discussion boards and chats, uses strategic study strategies and asks questions.

student sitting outside using computer

What makes a successful online learner? There’s no one answer. Online learning success in nursing school comes from a combination of knowing where to turn for assistance when you need it, practicing excellent time management skills, staying organized and motivated, and using an array of tools and methods to help you stay engaged.

The University of St. Thomas Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program combines online coursework with in-person labs and clinical placements at top healthcare facilities around Houston. While you will complete coursework and learn key nursing theories through our intuitive online e-learning platform, our program is not 100% online.

However, our online portion will prepare you to hone your nursing skills in lab and clinicals. As such, the coursework is rigorous and compresses a lot of information into a small amount of time. That’s why the ABSN@UST staff is knowledgeable about the intricacies of online learning and are ready to help you every step of the way.

This blog post will help you understand how to succeed in your online-based nursing program. Keep in mind that every student learns differently. Finding which of these practical suggestions for online learning works best for you is essential.

Let’s take a look at our top five online learning tips below:

1. Sharpen Your Time Management Skills

When you receive your course syllabus, the first thing you should do is mark down all due dates in a planner, spreadsheet or other organizational tool. Adding reminders for the due dates one week out is also a great idea.

Nurse putting her hand on patient's shoulder

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Be sure to block off time dedicated to studying for each class, as well as studying for any quizzes or tests. You should also write down the times that you’re actively in labs or nursing clinicals and any time you’ll need to spend on homework assignments.

When managing your time, understanding how to prioritize your work becomes important. Separate out your assignments by due date, number of points, and time required. Prioritizing in this way can help you keep organized and optimize your time by completing everything in order of urgency.

2. Create an Organization System

Being successful in your online classes starts before you even log in. As you prepare to begin your classes, you should attain a planner, app or spreadsheet to help you schedule your time in nursing school. Also consider establishing a designated study/work area separate from where you relax to help you stay organized, productive and distraction-free.

Getting organized can look different for everyone, but as long as you have a trustworthy system in place that you can stick to, your online classes should be manageable.

student sitting outside at table using laptop

There are plenty of methods you can use to organize the information you’re learning, including:

  • making charts or diagrams,
  • creating outlines,
  • building study guides,
  • using flashcards,
  • creating concept maps or mind maps, and
  • taking practice exams.

Stay organized during test time by using test-taking techniques. Make a list of any formulae or other material you might need before a test or exam. Before beginning, look over the exam and plan your time. Start with the simpler exam questions, and progress to the more challenging ones.

3. Practice Active Listening

During class, make sure you’re really listening and digesting the course content, not just hearing it. If you have questions, drop them in the chat, or explore them in a discussion board. Take advantage of the ability to play videos back and listen to the content multiple times. Incorporate online learning tools such as digital flashcards, quizzes, slideshows, YouTube videos, and podcasts.

4. Engage in Self-Care

Although you’ll be prioritizing your schoolwork, don’t put your mental or physical health on the back burner. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep, eating well and moving your body. Even a ten-minute walk as a break from studying can be an effective form of self-care.

5. Use the Available Resources

Remember, you’re not alone on your journey to become a nurse. The ABSN@UST staff is here to help along the way. You can check in with your academic counselor to make sure you’re on track. Nursing faculty will meet with you to help you understand concepts and offer additional resources. You can even just use us as a sounding board. No matter what you need, we are happy to help.

Additionally, your cohort is a great source of support, as it’s comprised of people who are learning the same material and balancing their nursing schoolwork just like you.

UST ABSN student in lab working with sim manikin

Make a Bold Move for Your Future

ABSN@UST has three start dates per year: January, May and August. If you’d like to find out if you meet the requirements for admission, fill out our online form to get in touch with an admissions advisor today. Our admissions team can answer any questions you have to help you decide if ABSN@UST is the right fit to help you start your journey toward a rewarding nursing career.