How to Get the Most From Your Online Courses (Now!)
Online learning has been growing during the last decade. It’s forecasted to be a $350 billion market globally by 2025. With further growth in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s going to be a significant solution to our global learning needs.
Of course, you want to get the most from your studies? But how do you do that? Read on to learn how to make the most from your online courses.
Online learning is a digitally enabled approach to teaching and learning. Participation in online learning involves the study of learning materials presented via the internet. These materials might all be available at once or released in stages by the online educator.
Like more conventional learning, online learning can include reading material, activities, assignments, discussions, and tests. These can all be facilitated using the medium of digital technology. For example, this Human Resource Management online course includes an exam preparation kit, flashcards, and practice exam questions.
There are some simple principles behind being successful in any educational activity. A course taught in school or college, self-directed learning, or even instruction in a work context has to address these requirements. With some adaptation to the world of online learning, they can help you be successful in your online learning too.
Whatever course you are engaged with, you need to have certain technical pre-requisites. Online learning requires a suitable internet connection and computer equipment. Each course varies in the precise requirements so check this out before embarking on the course.
The principal requirement is a stable internet connection. Interruptions to your learning will mean you can’t make progress so this is an important thing to get right from the start. Some online courses include video material or even webinars and video conferencing. These features can be demanding on Wi-Fi connections and slower internet connections so it’s worth testing that your service and equipment are up to the job.
Clear About Expectations
Embarking on a course of study is a big commitment. Once you have started you should be able to continue without interruption. It may be too late to discover that you can’t meet the expectations of the course designers.
Check any prerequisites for knowledge, skills, and experience. Check what the demands of the course will be in terms of time and attainment level. With a clear understanding of expectations, you are more likely to be able to complete the course successfully.
Having a place to learn is helpful. Find somewhere you can have good light, a comfortable seat, and few interruptions. You may be working at a computer screen for some time so check out whether your workstation is ergonomically well organized.
If you don’t have a private place to study, it may be possible to study in a public place such as a library or café. The important thing is to be able to concentrate without distractions.
Distractions can be external in the form of noises and movements that pull your attention away from your studies. The distractions can be internal such as the temptation to do other things than study.
Even if you are working in a quiet place on your computer you can be tempted to check your Twitter account or do online shopping. Find a way of avoiding distractions so you can stay in your “learning zone”.
Set some goals for your learning. These goals can help you make progress towards the ultimate goal of completing the online course.
Be specific about these goals. A precise statement with measurable objectives is helpful. Agree on the goals with the important people around you so you can get their support too. The encouragement and commitment of friends and family can get you through if your motivation drops.
Make sure that your goals are realistic and that you set a time or date for the completion of each goal.
Plan for Success
Goals are not enough. You will need to plan to achieve the goals.
Set aside time in your schedule to complete the study and any learning activities. Look for a guide to how much time you need to allocate in the guidance you get with your online learning course.
Balance your study plan with the other things you need and want to do in your life. If you don’t do this you will soon find that the plan is not sustainable.
Your online course will set out if there is any help available to you. Make sure you understand what help there is and don’t fail to use it if you need it.
If you have access to a community of other learners, participate in discussions, and share experiences. This can be a useful resource to supplement the support you get through the online course.
If you are having difficulty, likely, you will not be the only person to have experienced this. You may be able to help others just as they may be able to help you.
Learning with others can be fun as well as useful. It helps to vary your learning methods and interacting with others is an important way to do this.
Many online learning designers will include this aspect of learning in the course design. If they don’t, find ways of interacting with others. It will help your understanding, improve your retention of the learning, and maintain motivation.
Working diligently is important but be careful not to overdo it. It’s important to pace yourself.
Taking regular breaks will make it more likely that you will be able to sustain the learning in the long term. Even a few minutes away from your screen every hour will make you more productive.
Online courses may be the answer to your learning needs. Learning how to learn this way is vital. It will set you up for online learning success.
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