It is necessary to have a dedicated personal study area because this provides important benefits to the study process. It is a physical and psychological necessity for anyone taking a professional development course by distance learning, online, or correspondence studies. It creates a visible, physical, and personal location where your studies are carried out, providing support facilities for your study activities. It is a place where you go to in order to do only one thing, study. Think of it as being similar to going to your workplace, where on arrival you switch into “work” mode. When you go to your study area, you switch into “study” mode.
Where should your study are be situated. This will depend on the layout and size of your home, but there are some ideal places and some very unsuitable places. Without a dedicated study area you would need to study on kitchen tables, sofas, beds, armchairs, dining tables, in rooms that are used frequently for other domestic activities. These are highly unsuitable, as they have no “professional” or “academic” or “personal development” features, and are full of distractions and barriers to effective studying. An ideal location would be in a small room that is specifically for study, in the style of a home office. Some students might have lofts, garages, or basements, that could be converted. Less ideal, but still suitable, would be an area in a bedroom, equipped for study, and not used for any other purpose. This would remove you from most day and evening time domestic activity (and even if you are single, living alone, it will keep you away from the television and refrigerator). If you do have to use a kitchen or living room, then you will need to alter your studying schedule so that you are studying when others are not present in these areas. Don’t try to study in the same room as others, or where there is domestic activity visible or audible. It won’t work.
If at all possible, buy a traditional desk. It doesn’t have to be large, or expensive (a low cost, second-hand, used, desk will be perfectly suitable). This will immediately give a “professional”, “workplace”, feel to your study area, and give you drawers and surface space to place your pc, laptop, papers, printer, pens, study books, on. Next, make sure you obtain a suitable chair. An office-style, swivel chair would be best, but a fixed chair will suffice. No matter what style, make sure that it is comfortable to use for long periods. Again, a used chair will be just as good as a new one, if selected carefully. For most courses of study a PC or Laptop will be essential. A mid to low range one will be suitable for most courses. Ideally an office suite such as MS Office should be used, but lower cost, simpler packages are fine too (and Microsoft itself offers a MS Office in “Student-Teacher” version, at one third of the cost of the commercial price). With your PC or Laptop, comfort is much more important than power. The essentials are a keyboard that is comfortable to type on for long periods, and a screen that is comfortable on the eyes for long periods of work. A printer is essential (a basic, low cost one will do) even if you email your documents to your tutor. It is good practice to print off your assignments (outlines, drafts, finished versions) and read them to proof-read them and see them as your tutor will (most tutors will print off your work and then read and assess it).
Lighting is important. A well-lit room is vital, and a desk-top lamp can add focus to the working area.
Having supplies and peripherals nearby is helpful. A set of drawers in the desk, or a cupboard, or wall shelves, specifically for books, paper, pens, pencils, cartridges, etc, will help you to be organised, keep your study area tidy, and to have essential supplies available when you need them.