At DSC, we recently released 18 online training courses on topics including Presentation Skills, Decision Making and Writing Skills to name a few. But how do you get the most out of your learning? Follow these ten tips to ensure your online learning experience is the best it can be.
1. Fail to plan means plan to fail
Make sure you plan and set time aside for your course, and stick to it. You do not have to complete the course in a single sitting; sometimes 30 minutes each day is easier to set aside, rather than one two-hour slot. And set time aside when you will be able to concentrate. For some, that might be first thing in the morning before everyone gets up or into the office, or 30 minutes during your lunch break. Whenever that time is, add it to your diary and set a reminder for 15 minutes prior to starting. Most importantly, stick to your schedule. It is better to do little and often, rather than rush through more content.
2. Have a break, have a KitKat.
Keep yourself fed and watered. Make yourself a hot drink, have water and keep something to snack on nearby whilst studying, so if you are thirsty or hungry you have all you need. And if you are studying for a long period, take regular breaks to maintain concentration.
3. Pen and pad at the ready
A trusty pen and notebook are two things you should have to hand before sitting down. It seems obvious, but they are easily forgotten and can be the difference between forgetting important information and passing with flying colours. A spare pen – even better!
4. Be internet ready
Is your broadband up and running? Check that your internet is working and make sure you are connected. This seems like a no-brainer, but it is important the source you are connected to is reliable. Sometimes using a desktop computer connected via an Ethernet cable is more reliable than WiFi, so you are not interrupted.
5. Technical requirements
Have you got all the equipment you need? Most online courses will just require a desktop computer or laptop with internet access, and headphones or speakers to ensure you can hear any audio clearly. But it is always worth bearing in mind any additional equipment you may need, depending on the course you are taking. For example, if you are completing an online graphic design course, you need to make sure your equipment is compatible with any required software.
6. Create your own space
When you attend a training course, the provider will always ensure that the space provided is suitable. However, with an online course you are responsible for creating a study space. Create a space that is comfortable, and will support you to focus and concentrate. Whether you like studying at a desk or on the sofa, it is entirely up to you.
7. It’s your time
Go at your own pace. Remember, this is your course so take your time. You do not need to rush and you can go over the material as many times as you need. There is nothing wrong with taking a break and revising as you go.
8. Learning objectives
What are you trying to achieve? Why are you taking this course? Are you clear about your goals? What do you want to get out of the course? Have you read the course objectives and content?
Before you start, write the answers to these questions down. Keep them near while you take your course, and refer to them from time to time. When you have finished, take time to reflect and ask yourself the following questions:
- Did you achieve your learning objectives? If not, what do you need to do to achieve them?
- Where do you want to go next?
- Do you want to delve more into this subject?
- Did you get what you need from this topic and are you ready to move on to another?
9. Stay motivated
Keep your learning objectives or goals near. To keep yourself motivated while taking your course, always refer to them regularly. This will help remind you why you are taking the course and to keep going when your motivation is low. When your frustration is high, take a break and get some air to clear your head. Speak to a friend or family member to vent, but most importantly, get back to it and do not give up!
10. Reward yourself
Give yourself a star. You did a great job, well done for completing your course! It is important to reward yourself when you achieve your goals. How you reward yourself is up to you. Maybe it’s buying a new book, or watching an episode of Game of Thrones. Whatever it is, do not forget to acknowledge your achievement.