Twenty years ago, when Sir Timothy John Berners-Lee launched the world wide web not much was known about the countless possibilities it would offer – shopping from the convenience of your crib, learning a new language or skill while commuting, sending and receiving mail instantly which otherwise would have taken a long time, sharing photos and videos with our loved ones, accessing piles of information by just a few clicks and so much more. Indeed, without an iota of doubt there’s an increase in demand for services provided via the internet and according to a report by Babson Survey Research Group, the demand for online learning has tremendously increased.
Benefits of Online Learning
This spike in demand for online learning can be traced to the advantages it offers which include the following:
- Convenience: Irrespective of your location, all you need is access to the internet to take classes via a virtual classroom plus you determine the schedule.
- Cost-effectiveness: Online learning is relatively cheaper when compared to in-person learning. You save money and time which otherwise should have been spent commuting.
- Cosy and comfortable learning environment: You don’t have to show up to a physical classroom where most likely you won’t be comfortable. You can learn from the comfort of your couch, in your kitchen or your balcony.
- Access to more engaging materials via videos, podcasts, audio clips etc.
Irrespective of these advantages, online learning requires motivation, willpower, time-management skills and discipline to stay focused. The tips discussed below will aid you in leveraging these benefits and stay on track.
Understand That Online Learning Methods Require Effort
Online learning is just a more convenient way of learning and doesn’t take away the individual effort you have to put in. To get the most of it, you have to be fully committed, steadily take classes, take down notes, complete assignments, review and revise.
Create a Study Plan
A plan is a design for doing and achieving something so for your learning to be effective, you need to create a study plan and online learning isn’t an exception. Writing down a to-do list, setting targets and developing a schedule will not only help define your goals, but you’ll stay accountable, be able to track your progress and stay motivated.
Access to Reliable internet
If your internet access isn’t reliable you’ll get interrupted while taking your courses and you’ll waste your time. Invest in good internet connection and device (laptop, tablets, smartphones etc.) so that you can get the best out of your training. You’ll also be able to follow webinars and live discussions which are an essential part of online learning.
Design Your Study Space
Your study environment is critical to your ability to study effectively. When creating a study place you should take the following into consideration:
- Lighting: The amount of light in your study place depends on you but you should see clearly without strain or discomfort.
- Comfortable temperature: The temperature of your study place should be optimal – it shouldn’t be too cold (otherwise you’ll fall asleep) or too warm.
- Large enough desk to contain all study materials and comfortable chair
- Interruptions and Distractions should be limited to the barest minimum. If for instance, you are studying at home, your loved ones should be aware of your study times and you can also put a “DO NOT DISTURB” sign on your door so they don’t bother you. You should also close all non-related tabs on your browser and you may even consider switching off your phone.
Schedule breaks during your study time to avoid fatigue, insomnia, eye strain, loss of concentration etc. Avoid looking at the screen during this period and if possible, go for a walk or grab a snack.
To boost the effectiveness of online learning, you have to practice what have learnt because listening to podcasts, watching videos and reading slides isn’t enough. For instance, if you are learning a language online and you currently do not live in the country where that language is spoken, you should consider getting an individual online tutor who is a native speaker via platforms like Preply. Working individually with this tutor will not only help you practice all you have learnt but you’ll also improve your accent and pronunciation.
Stay motivated and keep your chin up irrespective of how you feel. You can decorate your study place with inspirational quotes that’ll keep you going when it gets tough. Reward yourself when you reach milestones and never lose sight of the reasons you started this journey.
I hope after reading these tips you’ll be able to apply at least one of them and make your online learning experience worthwhile. Even if you haven’t given online learning a try, I recommend you give it a shot because it’s an awesome way to learn and achieve your goals. Finally, we’ll love to know how you get the most of your online learning experience so please share your thoughts in the comments section.