The pandemic and the resulting lockdowns have encouraged hundreds of thousands of people to pursue online courses. While some are interested in up-skilling or re-skilling, others have taken them for non-professional reasons. Either way, if you’re a student of an online course, it’s good to know how you can get the most out of it.
Whether it’s on cybersecurity, data science, or machine learning, more and more people are opting for online learning. But the initial optimism of joining a course can fade away once you get into the daily routine. Course work begins to pile up and you procrastinate until one day you feel so overwhelmed that you think about quitting.
It’s only natural as it’s a new medium and a new way of learning. Don’t be too hard on yourself. To help you out, here are ten ways to get the most from your online course.
1. Make time for it
When you join an online course, you have to create a functional timetable and devote specific hours every day to it. So, you shouldn’t be thinking “I’ll do it when I have the time.” Instead, you should ask yourself, “When can I do this every week?”
Your schedule should be based on the number of hours recommended by the tutor. Can you devote half an hour daily? Or, is it more convenient to have two-hour slots on weekends? These should be your uninterrupted time-blocks.
2. Develop a plan
Along with a schedule, you need a plan to help you complete the course. You should research the curriculum and set goals for weeks and months. Your plan should inspire you but shouldn’t overload you with work. Be motivated but realistic.
Pro tip: Don’t plan to do something by week one or two as that sounds arbitrary. Tie it to a particular date. So, don’t aim to finish the “introduction” by week one but by a particular date seven days from when you start the course.
3. Find your space
You need to find a place where you will be comfortable and not likely to be interrupted. Choose a learning place that’s away from the kitchen and television if possible. The important part is that it should be comfortable and without any distractions.
You should also opt for a space that’s well-lit. Your desk should have enough room for your computer and your notebooks but not any knickknacks to divert your attention.
4. Get the tech right
You must ensure that you have a fast and reliable internet connection. You should also make sure that your laptop or computer has enough space to download all the course material. You don’t want your system to crash and lose all that you worked on halfway through the course.
Regularly back up all the material either in the cloud or an external hard drive. Make full use of Google Documents for your notes.
5. Inform your family and friends
Your family and friends should know that you will be occupied with your online course for a particular duration or day. The earlier you tell them, the fewer the number of distractions they can cause.
If you share your plan with them, they will also encourage you and hold you accountable for your progress.
6. Revisit your schedule
After a week or two, you should analyse your learning pattern. This is a crucial step of iteration that will tell you whether you need to increase or decrease your speed or whether you should change the time and place.
Maybe you’ll realise that you do well in the evenings or that you prefer high-intensity learning sessions. Ensure that you understand these early to optimise your learning experience.
7. Reach out
An important aspect of learning is getting your questions answered on time. Unlike an in-person setting, this can be awkward to do digitally especially when starting. If you have a doubt, the first option should be to ask your tutor and get it answered then and there.
If it’s a recorded session and you can’t have live Q&As, you can go online and find your answers. Or, you can email the question to your tutors. Remember that the questions you ask are also valuable feedback for the teachers. Those will help them formulate their course content and delivery.
8. Interact with the community
Just because your classmates are all online doesn’t mean you can’t engage with them. Participate in the forums, ask questions, and offer to help. You can also start a chat group of students to share notes and discuss the content.
If it’s a long-duration course, you should also see if real-life meetings are possible. An offline get-together will make you feel part of a community of students.
9. Measure against yourself
Don’t compare yourself to anyone else who might be advancing at a faster pace. Maybe this isn’t the first time they’re learning UI/UX design. Maybe something that challenges you like full-stack web development is part of their job.
Your past version should be the only thing you should compare yourself to. If you’re better off than you were at the beginning of the course, you’re doing well.
10. Be motivated
Whenever you feel demotivated, think of yourself with the certificate from the online course. Imagine how it would feel to incorporate what you’ve learned in your job. Picture yourself telling friends or colleagues that you finished an online tech learning course.
Online learning is one of the smartest ways to future-proof your job in the tech industry. With an online marketplace like Knoma, you can choose from hundreds of courses and use the “Pay with Knoma” button to spread the cost without interests and fees.
All that’s left to do, is to find a course that will move you ahead of the pack.