Whether you are a student or an adult looking to further your studies, online learning is definitely one method you should consider to gain the skill sets you need. The advantageous are obvious – self directed learning at your own pace, picking the topic of your choice, and possibly even cheaper than an on campus course.
However, online learning is a route that is new and you may possibly encounter some hurdles you did not foresee. Things that you would normally take for granted in a traditional classroom, such as asking a classmate for help or voicing out your opinions, may no longer be available. It would take some shift in attitude and mindset to readjust to the new normal.
Meanwhile, online learning has come a long way. Course makers and hosting websites have made much improvement to the structure of online learning and there are now ways for you to interact with your course-mates via forums. The added benefit is that you are able to get an international experience while sitting at home. This is amazing considering many people have never even set foot into another country! You’ll quickly realise that debates can be a lot more robust, and your learning through such interaction may teach you even more than the course itself!
While in the past, you could quite easily turn to your classmate to ask a question when you cannot keep up in lectures, this will be replaced in the form of rewinding and playing a video. While it may initially be a tad lonely, the plus point is that you can replay what you have missed and didn’t understand the first time around.
The hardest part about learning online is perhaps the motivation to get started and to keep going even when the going gets tough. There are plenty of distractions out there and many things that will need your attention and time. It can be easy to say “I’ll do the course tomorrow” when such situations pop up. After all, one of the benefits of online learning is that it will suit your time right?
However, such a mentality would often result in courses not completed and you not mastering the skills and knowledge you had set out to learn. By dragging courses too long, one would tend to lose the enthusiasm of learning.
Everyone must develop their own methods to overcome it. You may consider having a course buddy, either a friend in real life or a course-mate that you met online. Set a date and time to discuss certain topics, so it will pressure you to complete your learning before your meeting. Practise what you learn along the way. If you are picking up a course about marketing tactics, immediately put into practice new concepts you have learnt. This will show you the relevance of your learning and you can also connect to your course-mates to discuss why this method works or not, or how to modify it so that it suits your target audience. Ultimately, the most important is to develop self discipline. Plan a schedule on your course study dates, stick to it and take a monthly stock take on your progress.
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