How to Stay Motivated in Online Classes


Online learning offers many advantages but requires a lot of self-discipline and motivation to succeed. In this workshop, we explore several powerful strategies to stay motivated in your online classes.

Huddled in front of your computer for hours studying can take a toll on both your mind and body. It’s important to make sure to incorporate time for breaks, exercise, meals and socializing when planning your study schedule.

Set Goals

Setting goals is a powerful self motivation technique. However, it is important to be reasonable with your goals. If you are someone who only puts in an hour of study time a day, it is not realistic to try and force yourself to study for five hours every night. This will only result in you becoming burnt out and discouraged.

Set short-term goals for yourself, such as completing one chapter of your textbook each week or writing an outline for an assignment. Once you reach these small goals, it will be much easier to stay motivated to continue working towards your long-term goal of finishing your degree and entering the career you desire. It also helps to have support systems in place, such as a study buddy or friends who check in on you about how your classes are going.

Schedule Study Time

Many online students find the freedom to choose their own schedules liberating, but it can be easy to get off track without a strict routine. Schedule study blocks for yourself each day, and stick to them as much as possible. Be prepared to make adjustments if something comes up, but try to stay within the same general window of time.

Think about what your routine was when you took classes in person, and try to replicate it. Set up a study space away from distractions, and use apps and website blockers to keep you on task during your work sessions. Also, be sure to build in breaks, exercise, meals and socializing into your study schedule. These activities will help keep you energized and motivated for the long haul of your online education.

Give Yourself a Reward

Online learning provides many perks for students, from the ability to attend classes from home without fighting traffic and finding a parking spot to being able to access course materials around their schedule. But it also requires a high level of self-discipline and motivation.

When you have a long-term goal in mind, it’s easier to stay motivated during your online classes. Whether that’s earning a degree or getting a promotion at work, staying focused on the end result can help you get through the hard times of online coursework and persevere toward graduation.

You can also give yourself small rewards when you finish studying or achieve a goal in your class. This will boost your serotonin levels and make you feel good about yourself.

Get Help When You Need It

Taking online classes can feel lonely at times, especially without the support of a teacher and classmates to socialize with. However, there are ways to overcome this challenge and stay motivated.

One of the best things you can do is to reach out for help when you need it. There are many online students who can relate to your struggles, and they may be able to offer you encouragement or advice.

It is also important to make sure that you are getting enough downtime between studying sessions. Avoid burnout by scheduling regular breaks with friends or family. This will keep you refreshed and will make it easier to focus when it is time to study. Lastly, remember to set goals for yourself and reward yourself when you achieve them. This will keep you motivated throughout your online learning journey!

Don’t Compare Yourself to Others

Online classes offer students a unique opportunity to pursue an education while still juggling the demands of their work or family life. However, many online learners struggle to stay motivated without the structure and social interaction of a classroom setting.

Comparing ourselves to others can have negative effects on our self-esteem. It can cause us to feel jealous of those who have more things (like money, houses, or cars) or better grades in their courses. It can also be an unhelpful way to learn because most comparisons are unrealistic and often based on a small sample size of information.

Instead of trying to “keep up with the Joneses,” encourage your students to set goals for themselves and work on improving themselves as individuals rather than competing with classmates or friends. They may find that doing so is more motivating in the long run.



Network of Independent Charter Schools, A Project of the Center for Educational Innovation.