Continuing education For adult learners faced with competing priorities and demands on their time, distance education has its advantages. For many, the best alternative is an independent study program, which permits the learner to have control over where and when they study.

Two keys to the successful completion of an independent, distance study program are the ability to plan and the discipline to complete the course assignments in a timely manner. As an added benefit, learning at a distance can also help develop important time management skills that can be utilized after graduation and lead to greater professional success.

The educators at the Independent Learning Centre (, Ontario’s designated provider of distance education, offer this list of suggestions to help distance education students develop time-management skills:

• Plan: At the beginning of every week take a few minutes and plan your week. Be sure to include as much detail as possible. Colour coding a schedule can help you identify family time, appointments, and study time.

• Be flexible: Remember, plans may need to change. Be prepared for changes and learn how to work around them.

• Learn as you go: As part of your weekly planning session, review the week before and incorporate changes in your plans going forward.

• Take time for yourself: When living with a busy schedule it’s important to re-charge your batteries once in a while, even if it is just a short break. Enjoy a cup of tea or, take a short walk or read a magazine. By doing this, you’ll feel rested, relaxed and ready to take on the next assignment.

• Be creative: If you have a 45 minute commute on public transportation bring along your required reading.

• Finally: If you have children, plan to do your homework while they are doing theirs.