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The five types of people who study online

There are many different types of people who study online, and everyone chooses to study for different reasons. Who are you in the online learning world?

The social butterfly

You're always on the online message boards asking questions and interacting with your teachers and fellow students. You're a community builder who gets involved and you're there for an experience. You probably started a Facebook group so you can stay in touch with your online classmates. 

Signs you might be a social butterfly:
  • you love a good chat
  • you prefer to talk things out with other people
  • being connected to your teachers and fellow students is important to you
  • you think study is about more than just the piece of paper you get at the end.

The quiet achiever

You get stuff done. When you participate in activities and discussion boards you have great insights and answers, and you're respectful of other students, too. So what if you're not overly chatty?

Signs you might be a quiet achiever:
  • you work well autonomously, but don't mind interacting with others
  • assessments aren't scary and you generally get good marks
  • your favourite quote is something like, "The best way to do it, is do it" 
  • you're happy to be involved in your online community, and you have your eye on very specific goals.

The juggler

You've got a number of balls in the air and education is just another to add to your routine. You might want to be highly involved but don't have the time to interact as much as you'd like. You're the type of person who generally leaves things to the last minute, sometimes through no fault of your own.

Signs you might be a juggler:
  • your family, work and social life are quite busy and will take priority over study
  • you need clear expectations and deadlines so you can plan around other commitments
  • when you need something, you want it to be accessible straight away so you can deal with it or get it done
  • you might swing between other online learning personalities depending on what's going on in life
  • the ability to put your study on hold during busy periods is appealing.

The ghost

As the ghost you are present, but invisible. You're the type of person that the teachers and fellow students never hear from. You quietly work on your own to hand your assessments in and get your qualification, all without making a sound. You have a low maintenance approach to most things, and your no-fuss attitude means you get things done efficiently.

Signs you might be a ghost:
  • you have no need for the social aspect of studying
  • you're not here for a good time, you're here to do the thing
  • you're likely upskilling for work to get ahead
  • you're not interested in interacting with teachers and classmates if it doesn't help you achieve your results.

The bear (minimum)

Just like the quiet achiever, you get stuff done. But only the stuff that absolutely has to be done to pass and get your qualification. You're not quite the ghost either though, you may reach out to your teachers to get clarification on tasks. You're the person in the forum asking "will this be in the final assessment?"

Signs you might be a bear:
  • you're happy to coast through doing what's necessary to pass
  • you know extra non-compulsory activities will never get done
  • you might have other commitments like work or family, and getting stuff done so you can focus on those things takes priority over your study experience
  • if engagement counts for 20 per cent of your mark and that translates to a minimum of five forum posts, you'd do five posts — no more, no less.