First of all, how does it work? Well basically, most of your materials will be online as well as your assessments. You may also have to to work placement depending on the course.
My first tip would be to make sure what is required of you. Go through that course overview. Count up the number of units. I wish I had done that when I started. Instead of working out that a unit a month would just get me finished when my course expired (24 units in my course), I worked of the number of study periods (6), assigning a number of months to each. The problem was, that there is a different number of units per study period, and I ended up stretching the time I had set. While life does get in the way, sometimes fear and procrastination (Hands up if you suffer form this. Mine is as high as it possibly can go) does too. Knowing exactly how much of what can help combat this.
Go through all of the materials and documents/assessments that are open to you when you start. Currently, when a new study period is opened, I go though all the assessments in that study period and add up all the questions (and sometimes print them out) in that study period. I also write out the question numbers on a piece of paper (i.e. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, etc) and circle them. Once I have done a question, I cross out the corresponding number on my sheet. It’s a trick a fellow student shared on the facebook group that we have (student owned, I’ll talk about that later) – and it works. So much so that I have even done a sheet for my portfolio (physical evidence document), as well as slightly modified it for my self.
Make sure that you connect with your fellow students in some form. Whether this is face to face or online, participating in study groups, social pages, having study buddies or all of the above, having peer support is very important. Of course, there maybe more methods of getting peer support than I have mentioned, but make sure that you do get some form of support from fellow students in your course in particular. For my course, one of the students started a closed facebook group. Our Trainers and Assessors, as well as the Course Coordinator or members and admins of this group. it is highly regulated to ensure that the group remains supportive. Naturally, students are not allowed to give away answers to other students, but they are allowed to offer ideas to enable the student asking for help to think about the question in a different way, etc. This group is the way I have found works best for me.
Next week (Part 2) I shall talk about making use of the materials and services provided, as well as your relationship with your trainers.