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My 11 Top Tips for Studying CIPD Online Effectively

I often get asked how I managed to study effectively with online learning materials and online live classes.

To tell you the truth, looking back, my first ever online live class was a disaster. I was so disheartened by the experience of it that I needed the voice of reason from my wife. She sympathised with me and advised me that everything needs a plan and encouraged me to create a strategic plan for my live online classes as well as online recorded classes. 

This was the 'lightbulb moment' for me and through trial and error, I've managed to develop an effective strategy which ultimately helped me enormously in enjoying my online live classes and efficiently using my online study materials to become a CIPD Level 7 graduate.

Here are some of my top tips for online study. 

Writing Note In A Notepad

1. Sort out your study place

We all have a workstation at work and a sleeping space at home, so why not a study place too?

Start by setting up a small quiet space for your study area. Keep it tidy, away from noise and distractions such as the TV, hallway, kitchen. It should be a quiet, simple space where you can focus and study in peace.

A little additional advice: do not make your bed or your sofa your study space as generally speaking you won’t get any work done.

2. Cut out all distraction

I have touched upon this above but you must cut out all distractions to study effectively.

This means no scrolling through social media or doing anything other than your online live lectures or online study materials.

Time is precious, so faster you get through your online class, the more time you have then to enjoy your non-study activities.

3. Fix your technology

It’s annoying when you keep getting disconnected from your online study sessions, so make sure you have all the necessary software and tools to hand.

I always made sure my headsets were working, that my laptop battery was charged, that the software are working fine. If you have slower internet, I'd recommend that you check to make sure no one else is doing any internet heavy task at the same time as your lessons.

4. Plan and schedule your online learning

We all have varying free time available, therefore you need to plan your online learning the same way you would plan your work.

What I mean here is that you need to be aware of how many online sessions you have to attend, when they're going to be taking place, how much time you have, and anything else which may clash with your studies.

Once you know all of these then you can schedule your online sessions with your other daily plans.

Remember, the more effort you put in now, the higher the chances are that you'll complete your CIPD qualification or another online course. A small sacrifice now leads to massive rewards later on down the line.

5. Complete the pre-online learning session activities

This means that you are aware of the online study session topics, make sure you have gone through any supporting study materials, read through any external materials, and write down any questions which you have which need tob e cleared by the tutor.

Getting an understanding of the topic this way will help you retain more during the online class and you will be able to contribute more during the lesson. 

ICS Learn always provides a lot of study materials and information sheets, you need to interact with these. The more positively you interact with this material, the more you will learn which will lead you to get through your CIPD course quickly.

Writing Notes On A Laptop

6. Don’t press pause

Some time classes are recorded which you can watch later on, and ICS Learn is well known for this and this is handy because it allows all students to replay back the sessions and go over things again.

The key here is do not press the pause button. If you press pause you are just slowing down your learning process and extending your study period. Also by pausing classes, you are opening the door to more distractions which would negatively affect your flow of study.

Try to treat online recorded classes as an in-person event. 

7. Follow all the rules

Every online class comes with its own rules, such as when to ask questions, when to listen, when to type etc. You need to be aware of these, and they are normally driven by the tutor.

For example, some tutors may like to have questions as they go through the learning material others would like you to save your questions for last, or have your mic muted so that any background noise doesn't interfere with the lessons. 

8. Summarise the lessons in your own words

As soon as you have finished your online live class, now is the time to quickly summarise what you have learned.

The process of summarising will help you a lot in understanding and learning the concepts quickly and making them stick. Try to keep the summary to one page only as this will act as a quick overview for you which may come in handy when doing your assignments or exams.

9. Join the student virtual group

Through the virtual group, you can connect with your fellow learners and learn from each other. You can find certain modules easy to grasp and some other modules challenging. This is where you could connect with your cohorts and get help from them as they could find the module which you are finding hard to grasp and help you to understand them better.

Connecting with fellow students also helps your mental health and creates a feeling of belonging. When you find out that you are not alone, who finds certain concepts difficult, and so on, it reduces your negative feelings.

Extra top tip: ICS Learn have a fantastic student virtual community forum where you can connect with students and share tips and ideas. 

10. Always ask for help

Never suffer in silence. If you aren’t understanding the material you need to raise your hand and ask for help.

This is important because the longer you wait to get help the further you will fall behind. Asking a question is one of the easiest ways to learn and all tutors welcome questions from their students and learners.

ICS Learn tutors are always there to help you with questions and if they are short of time during the live lesson they can always book a 1:1 call with you where they are happy to go through your questions and concerns with you in detail. 

Now the most important point of all... 

11. Take a break

You have reached the end of your online class or sessions and you have followed all the above points, this means you have earned yourself a good break.

Make sure this break doesn’t turn into a 3-hour break which is longer than your session though. Also don’t forget to give your eyes a rest, because staring at your screen for a long time makes them tired and you'll need a bit of time to recharge. 


Well there you have it, my top 11 tips for online studying sessions. I hope this helps you in your learning journey! 

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