To learn how to study as a distance learner, first read all introductory information on your course, this should provide you with most of the information you need.
Spend as much time as is necessary making sure you understand all the resources available to you, it is vitally important that you do this.
The main disadvantage of distance learning is the lack of interaction with other students. To overcome this, again find out what resources are available to you, for instance, does your course make use of IRC channels (internet chatrooms)?
Establish relationships with your tutors and fellow students as early as possible, again this is vitally important.
If your distance course does not already make use of it, sign up with a company that allows you to make IP phone calls. If you are not aware, IP telephony allows you to make calls free of charge over the Internet. As most distance courses are now online, it is also a convenient way to converse with other students, for example, if you are using a laptop wirelessly all you need to do is plug a headset into your laptop and you can talk whilst you work. Collaborating effectively in this way will prove a massive benefit.
You really need to form some kind of community with your fellow students and lecturers, look for these facilities when choosing your course, or identify alternatives yourself, in conjunction with other students.
Aside from this, most elements of a distance learning course, or online course are the same as an attended course, so reading the other study tips contained in this site will be of benefit to you.
Another area you need to be more conscious of than a student attending a course is time management, you will be responsible for organizing your own time and structuring your day. Daily structure is vital for successful study.
You will need a higher level of motivation to complete a distance learning course also, establish a schedule and make sure you stick to it!
If you have to follow a reading list, make sure you order the books in good time. Some online courses may offer to ‘remote loan’ library books, prioritize this, and make sure you receive your books in good time.
Consider buying your own copies of books, second hand books on Amazon or EBay are very cheap and can be resold when you are finished.
See if your course has a second hand book store where previous students sell their books on to new students, again this is common across many establishments.
Make sure you fully understand what is required of you on your course, then, check in with your tutors as often as possible.
View time spent with your tutors online or otherwise as a valuable resource… compete for it if necessary!