Online courses require a lot of reading and shifting from reading physical books to digital materials can be an adjustment. But no matter the medium, the trick to being a good reader is to be engaged. And the trick to being an engaged online reader means bringing in a few tools to help with focus and comprehension. Here are a few tips for becoming a better reader online.
When it comes to studying, the No. 1 thing you can do to make the most out of your time is engage with the text. Engaging in active reading will increase how much you retain.
Recite, Relate & Review: Start with periodically reciting what you've read, reflecting on the material and its key points. Relate the reading to what you've already learned, then review parts of the reading you may need more clarification on.
Don't Study in Bed: It's tempting to want to work in bed while studying at home. However, studying in bed decreases productivity and has a way of tempting you to stop working, lose focus, or fall asleep. The best space to work is at a table or desk in a quiet space.
Print Out the Readings: Shifting exclusively to digital reading can sometimes be hard. If reading online is too difficult, print out the readings. This gives you the option to highlight passages andtake notes in the margins. Everyone learns differently—find the format that works best for you.
If you don't want to print out online reading materials, but miss the ability to write in the margins, you're in luck. There's an app for that—quite a few, in fact. Here are a few study apps that can help you take notes while reading:
Penzu: Penzu is a private, 100 percent customizable online journal. Keep it open on your desktop to easily type your notes while studying. The benefit of online notes is they can never be lost or misplaced and they're accessible anywhere.
StudyBlue: StudyBlue provides intelligent digital learning tools, including flashcards, notes, study guides and more. With its free mobile apps, you can instantly access all of your notes and flashcards on the go.
A key factor to being an engaged reader is focus. This can be tough with a million things happening around you. However, there are a few tried-and-true ways to maintain your focus while studying.
Listen to Music: Listening to music is known to calm your senses, "leading to more conscientious studying, elevating your mood, motivating you to stay focused and studying for longer periods of time," according to Fastweb. Specifically, classical music has been known to create a calm and serene atmosphere—many consider it one of the best genres to listen to while studying, as listeners have reported it puts them in a better mood and increasesproductivity.
Avoid Multi-Tasking: With the internet at your fingertips and the societally-ingrained tendency to multi-task, it's difficult to stay focused when studying on a computer. A 2014 study from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found the average American spends only 19 minutes a day reading, mostly because the presence of screens takes away from the time spent reading other things. Luckily there are many online tools that combat this issue. For example, StayFocused is a web extension that increases your productivity by restricting the amount of time spent on time-wasting websites.
When trying to stay focused and retain information, it is important to know when to take a break, especially as staring at digital screens can cause eye fatigue.
20-20-20 Rule: Keep the 20-20-20 rule in your back pocket while studying. Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and focus your eyes on something at least 20 feet away. This will exercise your eye muscles and help prevent straining.
Bluelight-Blocking Web Extensions: Additionally, there are many web extensions that help youstay energized and maintain healthy eye care, particularly if you're studying at night. When youuse artificial lighting to extend the day, various sleep signals are disrupted. The blue light emitted by screens causes you to be more alert and produce less melatonin. Apps like CareUEyes and browser extensions like f.lux work to reduce the blue light emitted from screens by adjusting to the time of day and shifting the color of your display after dark. CareUEyes even locks your computer, forcing you to take a three minute break every 45 minutes.
Online reading takes some adapting, especially if you're not used to doing a majority of your studying online. But with a few simple tricks, you can win at your next study session by optimizing your ability to focus.
An online Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education is designed for aspiring educators who want to develop a career focused on teaching children age 4 and younger. Though you may have stayed at home with a sitter or guardian, or attended a loosely-programmed preschool or play group at that age, it’s now the 2010s and expectations for life pre-K now include structured education by teachers who have earned degrees specifically for this field.
If you have a heart for little kids and patience to boot, consider earning your online Associate Degree and preparing for a job as a preschool teacher! The main goal of preschool is for toddlers to gain language, motor, and social skills while having lots and lots of fun.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for preschool teachers is projected to increase 10% between 2016 and 2026.* That’s a faster-than-average growth projection for all occupations during the same time period. Since the typical requirement for launching a career as a preschool teacher is the completion of an Associate Degree, that leaves plenty of time to get started, graduate, and secure a position in this growing field.
Positions for preschool teachers are available through Head Start programs, private early childhood education centers, churches and faith-based schools, as well as through tutoring, nannying, and at-home childcare services.
As more school systems throughout the U.S. enroll first-generation citizens from non-English-speaking homes, there’s a growing need for trained teachers who can help the youngest of students learn English. Becoming a preschool teacher who works with English Language Learners (ELLs) is a unique way to apply your passion for ECE to a demographic of children who can greatly benefit from your language skills.
If private childcare and teaching is more your style—and you have a sense of adventure—use your ECE degree to become an au pair for a family outside the U.S., or nanny for a foreign family that’s recently moved to the U.S. In both situations, your training will bolster the children’s English-speaking skills and you’ll gain a world of knowledge about another culture.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Preschool Teachers, on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/preschool-teachers.htm (visited October 31, 2018).
Look at you! You got swole and you loved it so much you’ve decided to help others get swole. What’s your next step? Professional certification! You already look the part of a legit personal trainer and that’s excellent for marketing your skills. But it’s a professional certification that really shows your potential clients that you’re qualified to train them. In other words, it gives them permission to trust you right from the start.
Don’t worry, training your brain for certification won’t take as long as training your body into the best physical shape of your life. You also don’t have to go anywhere to get it done; you can learn everything you need to know with online personal training courses at Ashworth College. Our Personal Trainer Career Diploma program can be completed in as few as four months and you can study at your own pace.
The program curriculum aligns with the standards set by the National Council on Strength and Fitness and helps prep you specifically for their Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) certification exam. Because of the NCSF mission to promote high levels of professional competency, ethics, and safety, their CPTs are considered highly-reputable industry wide.
There are nearly a dozen well-known certification programs available for aspiring personal trainers. They feature a range of costs, time commitments, and reputation levels. Here are some reasons why Ashworth College chose to base our program on the NCSF-CPT exam:
By the way, when you enroll in the Personal Trainer Career Diploma program at Ashworth College, you’ll also have the cost of the NCSF-CPT exam, practice test, study guides, and a 1-year membership covered by tuition! Once you graduate, you’ll be ready to sit for your exam without jumping through hoops. We’ll help you get prepped and get done so you can start pursuing your passion for personal training with confidence.
If your job no longer excites you as much as it once did, you may need to consider changing careers. It seems like an intimidating idea at first, but no matter where you are in your work life, making a career change could be the solution that leads to a happier, more successful you.
Before you can find success tackling something new, you have to understand what you’re leaving behind. Acknowledging that you are not happy with your current job–and figuring out why–is the first step to making a career change. Many people who are unhappy at work fall into one of these categories:
Feelings of discontent are extremely common when it comes to the working life and nearly everyone feels them to some degree at one time or another. But if you’re feeling unhappy at work more often than not, for your own health and well-being, you need to be proactive about making a change on your own terms.
Step one of finding a new path is homing in on what exactly you want to change and why. Write down your "wants" and your "don’t wants” about work. You’re not signing any dotted lines here, you’re just making notes for your own personal reference. Put everything on the table no matter how selfish or outrageous it seems because drawing hard lines between what you want and don’t want makes every step towards a new career much more likely to result in success.
If you need some guidance thinking through your feelings about your work, take this quick quiz to find out what kind of a career change might best suit your needs. You may benefit from a little tweak or you may be inspired to tackle something totally new.
One you figure out what kind of career change will inspire you, you can start taking steps toward it. In some cases, you may just need to ask the boss for a new opportunity or project that will challenge you without taking you too far from your current role. That could require a refresh of your skills, or a few steps into a new subject area. Earning a career-specific certification can be a smart investment here. You can expand your opportunities at work by digging deeper into a creative skill, business skill, trade, or something totally new.
If you’ve determined you need to make a drastic career change, you may need to start a new degree, or finish one you didn’t complete. Don’t worry! Returning to college is not as scary as it seems. The right school can be affordable and flexible to fit into your already busy schedule.
Check out the opportunities here at Ashworth College. We provide online diploma, degree, certificate and career training programs that give you freedom and flexibility to pursue additional education on your time, from your own home, and without the need for Federal student loans. You may find yourself in that dream career a lot faster than you thought possible.