Research has shown that students who experienced the highest level of success in online environments exhibit the following attributes.

  • If some of these descriptions don’t sound like you, be thinking about how you will adjust or get support in that area.
  • If none of these characteristics describe you, the online learning environment may not be the best place for you to learn.

Characteristics of Successful Online Learners

  • Self-Motivated
    Students are able to direct their own learning environment, fulfill course requirements and achieve individual academic success.
  • Independent Learner
    The online environment enables students to learn at their own pace, whether it’s traditional, extended or accelerated, relieving the stress of feeling rushed or pressured and providing enjoyment in the learning process.
  • Computer Literate
    Although it’s not necessary to have advanced computer skills, students should possess a working knowledge of electronic email, the Internet and basic keyboarding skills.
  • Time Management
    Students must be able to organize and plan their own best “time to learn.” There is no one best time for everyone, but the key to learning is to commit the time to learn.
  • Effective Writing Skills
    Students must use electronic email to communicate with their peers as well as their instructors. The ability to write clearly in order to communicate ideas and assignments is very important to student success as well as a means to inform instructors of any concerns or problems.
  • Personal Commitment
    Since there are no bells that begin and end classes, students must have a strong desire to learn and achieve knowledge and skills via online courses. Making a commitment to learn in this manner is a very personal decision and requires a strong commitment to participate in order to achieve academic success.

Source: Recommendations for Full-time Online Learners, Michigan Virtual University, January 2010.