Knowing the laws of learning online can save you more than one headache.

Because while e-learning’s fantastically flexible, it still comes with rules. And some of these rules are unwritten. That means you might not find out what’s really expected until it’s too late.

Here’s a quick run-down of the unwritten rules of learning online. You can get an overview of how it all works in a matter of minutes – and without the need for aspirin.

Ready? Let’s go.

1. Time management will save your sanity

This is easily one of the most important rules of learning online.

Finding time to study may be your biggest challenge. While you don’t have to physically attend a campus, you’ll still have to set aside time to study.

Work out a study schedule as soon as possible.

2. The motivation to learn has to come from you

E-learning’s so much easier if you can stay motivated to study.

There are ways of jump-starting your motivation levels. Tap into them early.

3. Technology’s not the big hairy monster it seems to be

Like any form of technology, e-learning technology will occasionally do something weird. That's OK. There are plenty of sources of help, and absolutely no reason to panic.

Once you get the hang of e-learning technology, you’ll see that it actually makes the process a lot easier.

(By the way, when you sign up for Blog Updates, you get a free chapter about how to tame e-learning technology from E-learning 101.)

4. Choose your study space wisely

Of all the laws of learning online, this one's the easiest to forget.

Many students don’t bother with it until it’s too late. But the fact is your study space can do one of two things. It can make learning easier, or create extra barriers you don’t need.

Alone time with your computer in a quiet place where you can spread out papers and books (and a door that shuts out distractions) will all make the learning process simpler.

5. Deadlines are your friends

Believe it or not, deadlines can be a good thing. They push you gently along by applying a form of positive pressure. They help you get work finished, and stay on track to complete your course.

6. Don’t procrastinate

This is one of the toughest rules of learning online. Because it’s very, very easy to procrastinate with e-learning. You’re already on the internet!

But, sadly, distractions and excuses don’t get the work done.

Always take the opportunity to study now, rather than “later.” Somehow “later” always becomes a mysterious future date that never seems to arrive…

7. E-learning is not always 100% fun

There’s work involved. Some tasks will be tedious. Keep going.

8. Keep your mind open to new ways of thinking

There are fresh ideas and concepts ahead. When something is unfamiliar and strange, give it a chance; read about it, think about it, talk about it, and see if you start looking at things in an interesting new way.

9. Find your own support network

In an e-learning course, there’s no traditional classroom where you’re going to meet your fellow students and tutor face to face.

Use all the tools available to you to set up your own network, and you won’t feel isolated while you study.

10. E-learning can change your life for the better

And finally, here’s one of the most positive laws of learning online.

E-learning can really empower you. You'll finish your e-learning course with new knowledge and skills. You can translate these straight into more opportunities in both your personal and professional life.

These are 10 rules of learning online.

Author's Bio: 

Dr Liz Hardy is the owner of and the author of E-learning 101, the friendliest online study guide around. Dr Hardy takes a unique approach to online learning. Blending simple e-learning strategies with a little humour and pictures of friendly dogs, she presents accessible e-learning advice that works.