How to stay motivated and focused while learning online

Motivation while learning online

Learning online can be challenging, especially when there are distractions, competing priorities, and little motivation to stay focused. Whether you’re experiencing difficulties adapting to the new learning format or feeling discouraged about putting in extra effort for these classes, you must continue developing your skills and maintain focus. In this blog post, we’ll discuss some tips and tricks on remaining motivated and productive while learning online so that you can stay ahead of the curve regardless of where your studies take place!

Why are so many dropouts in online courses?

According to research from the University of Warwick, only 13% of people who begin a MOOC (massive open online course) actually complete it, despite thousands of participants enrolled in these. There are several reasons why this may be the case, such as lack of motivation, competing priorities, difficulty adapting to the new format and feeling overwhelmed by the extra effort required for online courses.

dropout illustration

For many students, staying motivated can be a challenge when studying online. Without the structure of classroom learning and in-person interaction with peers or teachers, it can be challenging to remain focused on completing coursework. Additionally, many students have to take on more responsibility for their own education due to traditional learning environments’ lack of structure and support. This can lead to feeling overwhelmed or discouraged about putting in extra effort for these classes.

Competing priorities can also determine whether someone can complete an online course. For example, with life outside of school becoming increasingly busy and hectic these days, it can be hard to find time to study and complete coursework while still making time for other obligations such as work or family responsibilities.

Finally, some students may have difficulty adapting to the new format of e-learning courses due to technical problems or unfamiliarity with certain technologies, such as video conferencing tools or software programs needed for specific classes. This can make it challenging for those who don’t have experience with this type of learning environment and technology to keep up with their studies and stay motivated enough to finish the course.

For students to complete an online course, they need strategies that will help them stay focused and motivated despite any challenges they might face. Typically, the following advice might help you complete your online course

Tips to remain motivated and focused while learning online

Make sure your course is relevant to your career

To ensure you remain motivated and productive while learning online, it is essential to understand why you are taking the course and what benefits it may provide for your future goals. Research shows that students with a clear purpose or connection to their studies are more likely to stay focused and complete the course. Additionally, with a clear understanding of how the material applies to your job, you can remain motivated and engaged and find creative solutions that may help you succeed in your field. Ultimately, ensuring relevance is vital for making the most of an online course. Do not hesitate to research what topics will be addressed in the curriculum and how they apply to your work.

Create (or find) a learning space that works for you – whether it’s a quiet corner of your bedroom or the local library

Creating a comfortable and productive learning space is one of the most important steps to ensure success in an online course. Some factors should be considered when setting up a learning environment, such as having access to reliable internet, finding a quiet space free from distractions, ensuring adequate lighting and temperature levels, and ensuring your workspace is ergonomically suitable for long periods.

Set realistic goals for yourself, and break down larger tasks into smaller, manageable steps


Setting achievable goals for yourself and having a timeline attached is crucial to stay motivated and on track with your online course. This could include completing assignments by the due date to studying for exams in advance. Additionally, breaking down larger tasks into smaller chunks can make them more manageable and help limit procrastination. For example, setting shorter, achievable goals will give you a sense of accomplishment as you work through the course. Similarly, using study aids is a great way to stay motivated and engaged in your online course. For example, flashcards are an effective tool for memorizing facts and concepts quickly, as they help you focus on the lesson’s key points.

Take breaks when you need them, but try to stick to a regular schedule as much as possible

Taking breaks when needed is essential to an effective online learning experience. Scientists from the National Institute of Health (NIH) have shown that frequent but short breaks are necessary for retaining information and keeping mental alertness high. In addition, a regular schedule creates a structure for the learner, often leading to higher engagement during study sessions and better time management.

In contrast, excessive working hours without regular breaks can lead to procrastination, fatigue, and increased stress levels. Furthermore, taking a break allows one to reflect on their progress thus far and boost motivation levels, which aids in staying positive during times of difficulty while going through the coursework. Therefore, taking breaks when needed while sticking to a regular schedule as much as possible is essential for more chances of success with an online course.

Find a study buddy or group to keep you accountable and motivated

Working collaboratively with others has a proven track record for improving educational outcomes. This effect is amplified when completing an online course, as working together helps to break it down into individual achievable steps, which can be more motivating than tackling large tasks alone. Studying with a study buddy or group also provides an opportunity to seek help, share knowledge, and gain encouragement and support when motivation is lacking. Through gentle accountability, achieving goals becomes more accessible, and there is an increased chance of success in reaching the end of the course. As such, finding a study buddy or group should be considered essential for completing online courses.

Reward yourself for completing tasks and meeting goals – even if it’s just taking a few minutes to relax or watching your favorite TV show

Rewarding yourself for meeting goals and completing tasks can be an effective way to keep motivation levels high. Achieving small goals can still be rewarding, even if it takes a few minutes to relax or watch your favorite TV show after reading a chapter or writing an essay. It is essential to recognize your progress over time and reward yourself accordingly. Doing this will make your goals seem more manageable and help you stay on track to complete your online course. Additionally, it is essential to remember that progress can come in many shapes and sizes – so don’t forget to celebrate the small victories!



The key to staying motivated and focused while learning online is to view it as an opportunity rather than a burden. Take the initiative to make learning more enjoyable by adding music, setting goals, taking regular breaks, and creating a dedicated workspace. These simple strategies will help you remain agile, alert, and productive during your online learning journey!

Above all, don’t forget to check in with yourself emotionally and ensure that you care for your mental health – don’t exhaust yourself too much. Make sure to nurture your mind just as much as you feed the curious learner! Learning should be seen as something fun and enjoyable, so find what works best for you individually – it may take some trial and error, but soon enough, you’ll find your groove!

Finally, remember to be patient with yourself and not compare your progress to anyone else’s. Everyone learns at different speeds and in different ways, so give yourself the time and space to find what works best. The most important thing is to keep going and stay motivated throughout your online course!

Good luck!