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What Does It Take to Succeed in an Internet-Based Education?

Updated on January 21, 2015


The Internet has touched upon every facet of our life and, most importantly of all, both how we teach and learn. Today, “many private, public, non-profit and for-profit” educational institutions are offering online courses “from the most basic instruction through the highest levels of degree and doctoral programs,” (Wikipedia). But, though education is available online, what ensures the success of these courses on the part of students taking it? Here they are:

Motivation, time management skills and users’ tech competence level are the determinants of the success of internet-based college courses.


Online courses are a way of teaching and/or learning using the internet. They make take different forms— paid or free ones, and synchronous or asynchronous learning—but they all share some common requirements. They require a computer with internet connection, knowledge of how to navigate websites, and know-how of downloading and viewing course videos and other materials.

But in addition to the above requirements, learners of online courses have to have what it takes to succeed in online courses. They need to be motivated, to develop rigid schedule, and be tech savvy.


One major reason of why learners drop online courses is that they lack the motivation needed to adhere to. Some may initially join online courses because their friends have also joined it; but after a while, they can no longer continue, because their motivations have vanished. Online education requires self-driven motivation not the assumption of “because they joined it, I have to do it.”

To have sustained motivation, you need to register the kind of course that will solve your problems. In other words, register for a writing course ONLY if you need to improve your writing. In that way, you can ensure a continued motivation for the course. In simple term, choose a course that solves your struggles; then motivation is no longer a worrying factor.


Besides motivation, managing time is another huge factor that determines the success of online courses. To finish online courses within the allowed time frame, develop a rigid schedule. For example, you could plan 2 hours of study for every Monday and Wednesday. In this way, you have an easy mechanism to measure what you have attained or not. Time management is all about being self-committed; and that is a trait you might already have or can develop.


Being a heavy internet user is a helpful factor that can ease learners to adapt the requirements of online courses. This is, especially, a burden for the learners of developing countries. In addition to having a computer with internet access, learners need to know how to navigate course pages, use discussion forums, submit assignments online and even peer review the work of other learners.

Learning the requirements all these technology, in addition to the course itself, will make the learning curve a tough journey instead of a wonderful experience.

Knowledge of social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter can be helpful here though not much. If you are familiar with Facebook’s posting and commenting, you can take advantage of that knowledge in the Discussion Forums of online courses.


We are witnessing a period in which the Internet is also teaching us in addition to entertaining us. But success in online education requires much more than a computer and Internet connection. Online education are also a test of your true, inner personality—they show us whether you are committed enough to develop yourself. In short, online courses require your complete conscious to work on them.

In addition, online courses can also help your "brick-and-mortar education" if you are prepared to take them seriously. Realizing their potential to develop your career, sticking to your time-table, and being an educated internet user are three of the determining factors of the success of internet-based college courses. Just be disciplined and set high standards for yourself.

DISCLAIMER: This essay is, in part, fulfilling the requirement of Unit I, English Composition I course by Saylor Foundation. I know there are many other factors that may ensure the success of internet-based courses, but, due to the space allowed by the assignment, I picked the above three factors for this assignment.

I, also, realize that my writing will improve upon the duration of the course; but this is so far my understanding of Unit I.


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