Online learning is a great way to keep up with your studies and improve your skills while working or raising a family, but it isn’t always easy. You have much more flexibility and independence, but you also need to learn to motivate yourself and stick to your own timetable without a teacher.
Here are 8 tips and techniques that will help you succeed with a new e-learning program:
- Understand What’s Expected – Know what will be expected from you at every stage of the online learning programme. This could be in terms of learning practices, participation, pace, resources or even “attendance”, i.e. logging in a certain number of times each day or week. Also find out how often and quickly you need to complete assignments, join in discussions, or attend live lectures/classes – some providers are fully flexible but others require you to follow their schedule.
- Define Your Objectives – Be clear about what you expect from an e-learning course, and how well it matches your goals. Remember, despite the additional convenience and flexibility they offer, most online courses are at least as rigorous as traditional ones, if not more so. You will need to put in the time and effort to study on your own, so think again if you’re expecting to sit back and do nothing!
- Review the Syllabus – Go over the content of each course before you begin to understand how and when to plan your study schedule. Take into account the quantity of reading material, frequency of assignments or tests, online class/lecture schedule and other factors. Reviewing the course material before you begin also allows you to make sure you’re signing up for a programme that meets your requirements.
- Know What You Need – Make sure that your computer is equipped with the features, programmes, tools and applications that you may need to use for an online learning course. Test out and get familiar with the websites, software, media and other resources you will be using, so you don’t waste time trying to figure them out later. This way, you can concentrate on learning when you begin the course.
- Start Interacting Early – Most e-learning courses let you connect with instructors, lecturers and other students through email, instant messaging or forums. Interacting with others can help you create a strong support base as well as feel more motivated while studying alone. Networking with your online tutor and peers early in the course can also help you build professional relationships after it’s over.
- Ask for Help – Not being in a physical classroom is no reason to work alone even if your course doesn’t have tutor support, especially when you can reach out to people anytime and anywhere. With the Internet connecting students and instructors from around the globe, expert help is usually available in an instant. Whether you’re looking for an online maths tutor or someone to help with your CIPD assignment, there’s no shortage of willing and able helpers!
- Manage Your Time – Time management is one of the most crucial skills you will need for self-learning, so you can stay on track instead of falling behind. Based on the complexity, length and pacing of the course, create a timetable for studying and organise your schedule accordingly. Treat online learning as seriously as you would a traditional program, and ensure that friends and family members do the same.
- Create a Workspace – One of the best ways to remain focused and committed to your study schedule is to dedicate a space just for learning. Set up a desk in a well-lit and quiet area of your home, and make sure it’s equipped with everything you will need while studying. Other than your computer, keep notepads, pens, folders, highlighters and reference books or papers within easy reach.
If you want to succeed in an e-learning program, self-motivation is a key. Any time you’re tempted to put off study, remember what you want to achieve and how the course will help!
About The Author: Making education simple and easy to comprehend is Dana Jandhyala's forte. She's had a long career as an educator where she has taught in several different schools and institutes in multiple countries. Today, she helps students with personalised online tutorials by SchoolPage that help make concepts easy to understand, making learning fast and fun. She writes to help students study better, and to coach parents so they can facilitate the success of their children.