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.
You’ve been studying hard and working towards that 4.0 GPA. But, is that what employers will care about most? While good grades will get you far on your career journey, soft skills can get you even further. Excellent grades don't guarantee spot on performance, but developing soft skills can show potential employers that you have what it takes to adapt, learn, and confidently take on new tasks as they’re given to you. In fact, 31% of teachers think it’s more important to develop soft skills. Here are the skills you need to impress employers.
Companies across the United States are finding it difficult to find applicants with soft skills, according to the Wall Street Journal. Some skills are difficult to teach and work ethic is one of them. Employers will be impressed if you possess this skill right from the start. Having a strong work ethic means you’re organized, timely, and dedicated. But, that’s not all. Work ethic also means you budget your time wisely while being able to work independently or with a team. Either way, you can be trusted to get the job done every time and without excuses.
Employers want candidates with critical thinking and problem-solving skills. That means you need to be creative and curious. Stand out from other applicants by showing you can make informed decisions and analyze situations. No matter the field, you’ll need to think critically and understand problems while providing solutions. You’ll also need to adapt to new challenges and take ownership of problems as they arise. Thinking outside of the box can go a long way. Set yourself apart by approaching challenges in a critical way through analysis, open-mindedness, and creativity.
Communication skills go beyond talking. To be a good communicator you need to be able to effectively articulate your needs and also listen to the needs of others. Employers look for candidates who can communicate their ideas and receive the ideas of their coworkers with an open mind. No matter the career, you’ll need to communicate with coworkers, clients, customers, or vendors. As an employee, you may find yourself discussing problems, giving instructions, and working in teams. Being able to do so effectively can help you advance your career. By bringing forth clear ideas, plans, and processes for how to improve goods or services in your company in an easy to understand manner, you'll show your employer how invested you are in what you do.
Teamwork really does make the dream work, and employers recognize that. That’s why employers look for candidates who work well with others. As an employee you’ll often work with your colleagues on projects and you may not always see eye to eye. Being part of a team doesn’t just mean working together. It also means you give and receive feedback and constructive criticism. Collaboration skills are essential and employers look for candidates who can work independently while also contributing to overall team goals.
A smile goes a long way. While you may not think a positive attitude is the key to succeeding in the workforce, employers are genuinely interested in candidates who are optimistic and are refreshing to be around. As an employee, you should be friendly and eager to work. It’s especially important to remain positive in a less than ideal work environments. Your enthusiasm, patience, and overall energy won’t go unnoticed.
While a high GPA is certainly something to celebrate, remember that employers are looking beyond your grade when considering you for a position at their company. Job candidates who can think outside of the box, understand teamwork, can come up with creative solutions, and possess leadership skills are in demand. Work to strengthen these skills like you would any other lesson you learn at school. With hard work and a dynamite set of soft skills you can succeed in work you’re passionate about!
If you’re ready for your next career adventure or if you’re looking for something new and exciting on your current career path, you don’t have to take the long road. Ashworth is here to help you embark on your journey towards a rewarding career. Here are 10 programs you can start and finish this year.
The need for child care providers is increasing. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 1,298,700 people will be employed as child care providers by 2026. Parents rely on child care providers to help keep their kids safe while also aiding in their intellectual growth. As a child care provider you may work in a daycare center, before- or after-school program, preschool, or home visit. Through our Child Care Provider Career Diploma program, you’ll develop skills to care for children from birth to school age in as little as four months.
Upon completion of the program, you’ll become a member of the National Association of Family Child Care (NAFCC).
Learn in-demand skills with our online Medical Billing and Coding Career Certificate. This program will help prepare you for work in doctor’s offices, medical practices, hospitals, and clinics. With a growing aging population that requires medical treatment, medical billing career opportunities are expected to grow by 13% by 2026 according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
You’ll learn the responsibilities of a medical biller/coder, the purpose of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), billing guidelines for medical needs, the life cycle of insurance claims, and the need for accurately coding diagnoses and procedures using industry-standard coding systems.
Commercial and residential buildings require HVAC systems, leaving a need for qualified professionals to install, maintain, and replace those systems. In our online Heating and Air Conditioning Career Diploma program, you’ll learn skills such as how to identify systems and components used for heating and air conditioning, understand standard installation procedures, and troubleshoot and maintain HVAC installations and commercial refrigeration in as little as four months.
This program also offers students the opportunity to complete the EPA 608 Certification Exam.
If you’re interested in financial data, spreadsheets, and statistical reporting then a career in bookkeeping may be for you. Our online Bookkeeping Career Diploma program will help prepare you to meet entry-level bookkeeping needs for businesses of all sizes. You’ll learn the basics of bookkeeping and accounting practices, to explain the concepts of cash and accrual accounting, to prepare payroll transactions, and assist in basic internal controls to prevent theft, embezzlement, and check and credit card fraud.
If you have a furry friend who you trained or if you enjoy helping friends train their new pet then you might want to consider starting our online Dog Obedience Trainer Career Diploma program. As dog owners seek help training their pets, animal trainer careers are expected to grow 20% by 2026, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. In this program, you’ll learn the roles and responsibilities of dog trainers, different breed characteristics, problem behaviors, and critical periods of dog behavior in as little as four months.
If you’re detail oriented, organized, and enjoy working with people then you may want to consider a career as an event planner. In our Event Planning Career Diploma program, you’ll learn the role of an event planner, the importance of the interview process and how to determine the budget, size, and style of events, how to plan various events, such as birthdays, religious celebrations, showers, and more, and business considerations involved in running an event planning business.
Enrollment in this program also comes with a one-year student membership to Meeting Professionals International.
If you have a love for art and design and want to turn your passion into a rewarding career then our online Graphic Design Career Diploma program may be right for you. In this program, you’ll learn the elements and principles of design and how to apply them to print and web projects. You’ll also learn to use graphics software from Adobe Creative Cloud®, including Photoshop®, Illustrator®, InDesign®, Muse®, and Edge Animate®.
If you’re looking to enhance your resume and are interested in being in a role that combines leadership and interpersonal skills with sales knowledge, then consider enrolling in our online Retail Management Career Diploma program. Growth in managerial roles in expected to increase with 77,300 new jobs expected for first-line supervisors of retail sales workers by 2026, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. In this program, you’ll learn the basics of retail management and merchandising, including organizational structure and key positions, growth and expansion, consumer communication, and merchandise layout and presentation.
You love love and you’re a people person, but most importantly, you enjoy planning parties. Newly engaged couples often seek the help of professionals to plan their big day. By enrolling in our Wedding Planner Career Diploma program you can turn your love for love into a career. You’ll learn the role of a professional wedding planner, wedding customs, rituals, and traditions, planning wedding events, including parties, showers, and ceremonies, and how to run a wedding planning business.
In this program, you’ll also receive a one-year membership for the Association of Bridal Consultants® (ABC).
Whether you’re interested in launching a home-based business or opening your own store, the Small Business Management Career Diploma may be right for you. In as little as four months, you’ll learn how to plan, structure, and run a small business. You’ll cover topics such as business plan development, sales and marketing basics, and the fundamentals of small business accounting and finance.
Ashworth programs are self-paced and available online, allowing you to study when and where you want.
When you enroll you’ll have access to your Student Portal dashboard, which provides instant access to your lessons and support. You’ll also join an active online community of students, staff, and alumni.
Contact Ashworth to start your journey towards finishing your program this year.
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).