How to study or upskill yourself online

A man sits at a home desk reading sheets of paper

You can study or train for a new career from home.

Are you considering entering a new job or changing careers? With a new job comes new skills to learn – but there are many opportunities to successfully study and upskill yourself online or through distance learning. Here are some tips to help you on your journey.

Assess your study or training options

Thanks to technology, there are many ways to upskill yourself online. Start by thinking about what new job or career you would like to have and then visit our job profiles database on this website. Each job has a list of the skills and requirements you need to enter the role.

Once you know what the requirements of your new job are, you can start searching for an online course provider. Many New Zealand institutes of technology, polytechnics and universities offer distance learning, allowing you to complete your studies off-campus. However, it’s important to note that hands-on, practical courses are likely to be unavailable online.

There are also websites such as offering training courses on a wide range of subjects including business, graphic design and software development. You can get free membership through some New Zealand libraries – contact your local library for more information.

Create goals

Before you begin your new journey to upskill yourself, it’s important to set goals to keep you motivated. Ask yourself: 

  • Why are you wanting to upskill?
  • What do you hope to achieve?
  • What will the benefits of your study or training bring to you or your family's life?

You can also use the SMART goals method to help you with goal setting.

  • Specific – is your goal clear and well defined?
  • Measurable – how will you know if you have achieved your goal?
  • Achievable – do you have the time and resources you need?
  • Relevant – does your goal align to your values and long-term plans?
  • Time-bound – when do you want to achieve your goal by?

Have a dedicated study space

Choosing a specific spot to work in is one of the important things to consider when studying at home. Although it can be tempting to get comfy on the couch, having a desk or table and a comfortable chair will help you be more productive. Adequate lighting is also important, as well as choosing a spot that is free of distractions. 

Time management

Managing your time is an effective way to stay on top of your to-do list, keep yourself motivated, and avoid unnecessary stress. Note any deadlines in a calendar or planner so you can prioritise what needs to be done.

When it’s time to sit down and study, you could try a time management method such as the Pomodoro technique. This method encourages maximum focus by breaking down tasks into 25 minute intervals with five minute breaks. There are lots of apps you can download to help you do this.

Be kind to yourself

Online study or training can be challenging sometimes, but you’re more than capable of achieving your goals. Remember to take regular breaks, exercise, eat nourishing food and spend time in the fresh air. Most importantly, be kind to yourself – it’s okay if you don’t immediately understand something or memorise every definition. Your new job awaits you whenever you are ready.

Find out more


  • Indeed, ‘SMART Goals: Definition and Examples’, accessed May 2020, (

Updated 1 May 2024