Utilise online courses to your full advantage

Doing it right
Last Updated : 17 February 2016, 18:27 IST
Last Updated : 17 February 2016, 18:27 IST

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Online education allows one to pace their learning. However, one must know how to use them to its maximum potential. Sarita Digumarti lists out a few tips that can help you engage effectively

Online learning gives students the flexibility to learn at anytime and from any where. It’s a great advantage especially for full-time professionals, students who are pursuing diff­erent programmes and for parents as well. The key, most students say, is not
underestimating or discounting the value of the course, or the effort required to do the course.

Any online learning course requires students to have great clarity on what they want from the course, and be organised, committed, motivated and disciplined.

Essentially, these are the traits that any student should have whether they’re learning online or offline! But what makes things more challenging for online students is the constant self-motivation they need to bring to the table if they’re serious about upgrading their skills.

They may not have regular face-to-face interactions with professors (unless they are enrolled in a course with live online classes) and most timelines have flexibility built into them to accommodate different schedules.

But online learning is truly the future, with a projected 50 per cent of university classes in the US having a large e-learning based component by 2019. So, how do you make the best utilisation of the self-paced online course that you’ve signed up for?

Estimate the time you can give: It’s critical for students to estimate and plan beforehand how they’re going to fit in the coursework, assignments and studying of the online course into their schedule. Based on that, look for courses that give you the flexibility of self-paced learning.

Build the online habit: Decide upon a convenient time and place to work on your course. It could even be during your lunch break at office or at home before you go to bed. Also, try to avoid long breaks and try to work at least an hour a day. This gives a sense of continuity and helps build a egular learning habit.

Know the technical requirements: Set up your computer with the necessary software you may need to use during the course and spend time on understanding what the prior requirements of the course are.

You don’t want to spend your time with computer upgrades or learning or updating your tech skills when you should be concentrating on the course material.

Reach out for help if you need it: If you’re starting to feel swamped or if the course material is overwhelming, reach out to the course instructors for support. Be proactive and don’t wait for things to go overboard.

Remember to network: Just because you’re doing an online course, it doesn’t mean that you can’t reach out to your fellow students or your professors.

The first thing is to create or update your LinkedIn account to reflect your ongoing training. Keep it up-to-date and use it to build your professional network amongst classmates or other stud­ents also in similar courses.

And never lose any opportunity to meet face-to-face in case your institution organises meet-ups for the batch. You can also take the initiative and take it offline – set up a coffee meeting with your classmates to discuss possibilities or course

A self-paced course is a great way to learn something new, at your own time and convenience. All it takes is a bit of planning and dedication, and in no time you will have a new skill added to your list of know-hows. Happy learning!

(The author is from Jigsaw Academy)

Published 17 February 2016, 15:29 IST

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