Just How Ready Are You for Distance Learning?

Source: http://www.petersons.com/distancelearning/articles.asp

The following quiz appears in the booklet, How to Study Independently, A Study Guide for Adult College Students, which is produced by Regents College, a distance education provider at the forefront of developing distance learning.

Educational research has linked ten indicators of readiness with successful independent study. By evaluating yourself on each indicator, you will gain a sense of your level of readiness for independent study. More importantly, you will discover specific areas of weakness and strength. Then by addressing weaknesses and building on strengths, you will be able to position yourself for success.

Use the following exercise to help determine your readiness for independent study.

MOTIVATION LEVEL
How high is your motivation to meet your independent learning goals?

How important is it for you to complete an independent study course or program?
Do you see any circumstances under which you would not complete your independent study? If so, are they likely to happen?
What are the consequences of completion and noncompletion?
SUBJECT KNOWLEDGE
How much knowledge do you have of the subject?

Is your knowledge current? (You may need to expand or update material you learned a few years ago.)
Is your knowledge mainly practical? Theoretical? Both? (What type of knowledge will you be required to learn?)
READING SKILLS
How well do you read college-level textbooks and journal articles?

Do you read college-level materials with satisfactory comprehension of the author's ideas?
Can you evaluate the author's ideas critically as you read?
Are you able to establish a clear purpose for reading and select a reading strategy to meet that purpose (e.g., skimming for main ideas)?
WRITING SKILLS
How well do you write on a college level?

Have you successfully passed a college-level expositor writing course? Other types of writing courses?
Are you able to write well-organized reports, memoranda, project proposals, or other work-related writing?
Can you write a research paper with citations and references?
STUDY SKILLS
How strong are your study skills?

Can you draw up a plan of learning activities for a three- or four-month period and successfully implement this plan?
Are you able to reserve time for studying while managing multiple priorities such as work and family or social responsibilities?
Are you able to prepare yourself for and successfully take examinations without undue stress?
PERSONAL ATTRIBUTES
Do your personal attributes or characteristics favor success?
Are you a task completer? Do you often feel compelled to finish things you start?
How highly do you value education and learning?
Are you able to persist in the face of obstacles?
Are you flexible and open to new ideas?
SUPPORT NETWORK
Do you have a network of people available who will support your independent study efforts?

Are your family and friends aware that you are studying independently and why? Do they encourage you to be successful?
Have family members and friends agreed to take on specific responsibilities that will provide you with more study time?
Are family and friends willing to provide you with undisturbed study time?
TIME MANAGEMENT
How well are you likely to manage independent study along with employment, family, and social responsibilities throughout the independent study period?

Are your employment and family responsibilities fairly predictable so that you can schedule independent study periods with confidence?
How well can you integrate independent study activities while at work: Is there a place or time to study at work?
How much control do you have over your work, home, or social schedule? Can you alter your schedule to accommodate study?
PERSONAL HEALTH
What is the overall level of your physical and emotional health?

Do you have a physical or emotional condition that is likely to prevent you from making progress toward your learning goals?
Are you currently experiencing or anticipating one or more stressful life events (e.g., divorce, birth of first child, moving, etc.)?
LEARNING RESOURCES
What learning resources are available for you to use as you study?

Do you have learning materials available to you that address your learning objectives (e.g., study guides, textbooks, computer software, videotapes, and audio tapes)?
Do you have access to people who are willing to assist you in learning, such as a teacher, tutor, consultant, friend, or coworker?
Do you have convenient access to libraries, electronic resources (e.g., the Internet), or organizations relevant to your subject area?

Reprinted with permission. Copyright, Regents College, all rights reserved.

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