The Gifts of Self-Organized Online Study
In 2007, School of Natural Medicine UK offered its first online certification courses, and also established the online studies as part of diploma training. It was a new frontier in education as, back then, there were few online courses available anywhere, and we were amongst the first to offer online studies in natural medicine.
The initial inspiration for creating the online courses were the many international enquirers who longed to study natural medicine, but didn't have local options for study and couldn't leave their families or jobs to attend extended in-person trainings.
From the beginning I knew that online studies could be just as valuable and effective as in-person courses, with the exception of some hands-on skill sets. After all, even Newton and Einstein were mostly self motivated learners!
The key was to create a structure that focused on processing study material through creative assignments, experiential learning, and research, thus encouraging true understanding rather than rote memorization, while also empowering students to harness their inspiration and turn their passion for natural medicine into an authentic lifestyle.
Thirteen years on, we offer one of the most comprehensive and in-depth trainings in traditional Naturopathy available anywhere, and our students study from all corners of the Earth, achieving phenomenal successes with their own self healing and the development of their work, while undertaking their studies in a way that truly supports their life.
Following are some tips for achieving success with your online studies...gleaned from years of experience working with students from a distance.
Experiment and EnJoy!
1. Create a Study Schedule
The key to successful independent study is to create a daily practice.
By studying every day, you maintain the thread of your studies, building your connection to, and inspiration for, your course materials each day.
The daily commitment can be very small. Even 15 or 20 minutes of study each day will keep you moving forward and keep you connected to what you are learning.
Of course you can study more on any given day, and when you are connected with your studies you will find that time flies by, but it is this minimum commitment that will keep the ball rolling.
2. Create a Study Environment
Whether a pleasant corner in your bedroom or living room, or a 'room of one's own', a dedicated space, where you can sit comfortably and have your reference books at hand, is a superb foundation for study.
You can add functionality to the environment with good lighting, a simple filing system, a shelf for keeping your growing collection of reference and study books, and a space heater if needed to stay cosy during the winter months.
3. Create Beauty
You can add beauty to the environment by having a favourite plant or flower on your desk, diffusing essential oils, having beautiful notebooks, and collecting quality pens and art supplies.
If you have the space, putting a bulletin board on the wall with inspirational photos, and artwork on reference charts on the wall, can help to create an environment that immediately puts you in the mind frame for learning.
Using brainstorming and mind map techniques will not only enhance your memory of course content and create easy to reference study notes, but will also bring beauty to the process of studying. In the photo to the left, Liza purchased stickers for her notebooks of anatomical illustrations!
4. Remove Distractions
This space should be clear of distractions, such as your mobile phone or television, and should be yours alone! Prepare for your study time by gathering water and, if you wish, a herbal tea, so that you don't have to leave your study space when you get thirsty!
5. Experience What You Are Learning!
And most important of all, bring what you are learning into your daily life. The Self Healing facets of the School of Natural Medicine's approach to study is a profound learning tool, and you reap the rewards in your own health and wellness too!
It is not about 'perfect practice' - it is about real life!
If you try a cleanse, the challenges that you experience will help you to empathise with the struggles of your future clients, thus enabling you to guide them from an authentic experiential perspective.
If you hone in on your transition diet and put it into practice, you will learn how to shop for and prepare exciting healthy food, and you will directly experience the emotional and physical healing (and challenges) that comes from letting go of addictions, and will nourish your body the way nature intended.
Grow your own sprouts, ferment foods, learn how to integrate a dehydrator into your recipes, and experiment with juice and green drink blends.
Experience self massage, foot baths, Castor oils packs, enemas and the benefits of skin scrubbing. Make your own herbal blends, forage for wild foods, plant a herb or vegetable garden, practice creating essential oil and flower essence blends.
And embrace the Self Healing Module as early on in your studies as possible, so that you directly experience the complete system of natural medicine that we teach!
Through direct experience of self healing, you will fuel a life long love of learning and the passion to pass this knowledge on to others.
As Socrates once said, "Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel."