When taking online courses, especially if you have free access to a buffet of courses, it is easy to get overwhelmed. These 7 tips will help you focus, stay productive, and get the best value from your online learning platform:
- Access your goals
What does your life look like now, and how can learning complement rather than complicate it? What do you want to learn? Why do you want to learn it? Are they in line with your goals? Is it relevant to you? Is it a course you would have been willing to pay for? Do you need a certification to advance in your career or business? Is the certification relevant to your goals? Review these questions and search for courses that correlate with your career, business, or personal development goals.
- Familiarize yourself with the platform and your tools.
Before you enroll in any course online, it is important that you are equipped with tools you are comfortable with. Ensure you have access to a stable internet connection and can operate a computer or smartphone. Familiarize yourself with the platform as well, so you don’t feel overwhelmed by it.
- Pace yourself
Start small, one course at a time. Enrolling in so many courses at the same time will get you overwhelmed or frustrated and may affect your performance. E-learning increases retention rates by 25% to 60% (Source: Market Research) but taking multiple courses at the same time could negatively impact those retention rates. Avoid multitasking—which can actually decrease your productivity. Focus on one assignment at a time and zero in on the specific task at hand. A study by The American Psychological Association (APA), for example, found that switching between different tasks can cause a 40 percent loss in productivity and this applies in learning too. In order to successfully participate in an online program, you must be well organized, self-motivated, and possess a high degree of time management skills in order to keep up with the pace of the course.
- Manage your time and stay organized.
Create a schedule and stick to it. While time efficiency is a strength brought by the online learning format, this places a greater responsibility on you to be disciplined. When you start classes, decide how many hours you want to spend weekly and break it down into daily bits. We recommend 3-4 hours per week. Set personal completion goals for yourself, create a timetable to keep you disciplined, shut off distractions, add important due dates to your calendar, and stay accountable to your learning goals. Productivity is typically highest in short bursts with minimal distractions and frequent breaks, so take short breaks in between.
- Participate in class discussions.
Online learning platforms provide level-playing field forums to help you share your thoughts and build lasting relationships. You can connect with people from all over the world, including your online teachers. Whenever you feel stuck, interact with your fellow learners, and be helpful when you see someone who feels stuck too. The focus of attention is clearly on the content of the discussion and your ability to respond and contribute thoughtfully and intelligently to the material at hand. Build relationships and be helpful.
- Have a quiet place devoted to online learning.
Get a comfortable spot in your home and set up based on your learning style just as you would if you were attending a face-to-face class session. Sit in a comfortable chair, and make sure the lighting isn’t too dim, so you don’t sleep. Work in the optimal setting needed to complete your work. Closeout your browser windows, and put your phone away.
- If you’re unsure about something, ask!
Most instructors know that learners will have questions so they always include their contact in the course description. If you have any difficulties in your coursework, don’t hesitate to reach out to them.
Now that you know these 7 tips, you can now practice these by taking advantage of our partnership with Coursera to help you learn the skills you’ll need for career, business, and personal growth. You can now access over 4000+ courses for free and get certifications in 11 key areas:
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This partnership will help you transform and update your talent. . Over 80% of Coursera learners report career benefits. This could be you, all you have to do is Apply now, spaces are limited.
Ingressive for Good (I4G) is a nonprofit dedicated to empowering African youth with micro-scholarships, technical training, and talent placement.
Contact: Blessing Abeng, Director of Communications, Ingressive for Good on firstname.lastname@example.org