Time requirements for online learning

Contrary to what most students believe, many students in online courses report that online courses require more time and are more challenging than a traditional college course. Many online students also report that they learn more and work harder. In an online course, the responsibility for learning is solely your responsibility - you will need self-discipline and self-directed time management skills to be successful.

Experience counts

However, online students also report that the first class is generally the most difficult. Not only will you learn the course material, but you will also learn how to communicate in an online learning environment and how to manage your time. The mechanics of online learning will become automatic after you complete your first online course.

Reading and writing requirements

The reading and writing requirements in an online course are typically more substantive than in a traditional course. Reading may replace listening to the instructor. Reading and writing may replace classroom discussion.


In a traditional classroom, your questions can usually be answered immediately. You or your classmates can then ask for clarification or ask follow up questions. In an online learning environment, you often communicate asynchronously. You can ask questions, but there may be delays between each step of the communication process. For this reason, if you have difficulty moving forward without direction, online learning may pose a challenge.

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