Easy Tips for Learning Online
Taking a course online and learning from a distance is challenging for many people, especially those who are accustomed to learning in a classroom setting. Learning over the Internet requires specific skills and techniques, and you have to take more responsibility for your own learning. These days you can take pretty much any course online, from IT or Photoshop training to creative writing or a second language, but how successful you are comes down to you and the techniques you use for your studies. The following are a few tips for how you can become an effective online learner.
Online learning is an extremely flexible style of education, and many fall into the trap of procrastination simply because there are no regular scheduled time slots. Just like with any form of learning, you need to leave yourself enough time to complete course work and study for exams, but you have to be motivated enough to stay on top of your schedule as no one will force you to do it. With online learning, there is always the danger of having a computer crash, program meltdown or Internet failure, and these things often happen just as you’re cramming to complete an assignment.
Online learning offers an easy out for those who are passive learners, especially because no one is there to force you to immerse yourself in the subject material. To be an effective online learner, you must learn how to be an active learning participant, meaning you must take the initiative to complete exercises, answer questions and do your readings on time. The easiest way to become an active learner is to ask questions and truly immerse yourself in the course material.
Online learning offers a particular challenge: staying focused during work time. ‘Surfing the net’ is a common trap for Internet learners as there is so much information out there at your fingertips, making it difficult to stay on track. If you want to be successful at learning online, it’s important that you stay focused, and avoid distractions such as emails and social media pages.
Practice Good Communication
Internet learners who don’t make themselves heard often fall through the cracks and find it difficult to get help from teachers and other students. Most online course work will require extensive written communication – particularly through e-mail or thread discussions – so it’s important to join in with these conversations so that people know you’re out there. To get on top of this early, fill out your personal profile, email your classmates to introduce yourself, and find a ‘study buddy’ who you can share ideas with. Classmates are an often overlooked – albeit important – resource for you, especially with online learning.
Learn the Lingo
If you don’t have much experience with computers or the Internet, then online learning may be frustrating in the beginning. Before your course starts, be proactive and visit the course website early. This will help you know what to expect from the web site before you begin the course, such as where you will sign in and what links to click on, and will get you familiar the general layout of the web design. Training yourself to be an expert with the technology will greatly increase the amount of time you can spend on the course material.