Succeeding in an online course requires a serious amount of dedication and focus – not too different from the conventional classroom setting. If you’re new to the idea of online classes, however, you might have a relatively hard time adapting to the new learning environment.
With numerous distractions like social networks and the temptations of being “just at home”, it might take more effort to adapt to this new medium for learning.
That said, here are a couple of basic tips that can help you get a good feel of the eLearning environment.
Familiarize yourself with the interface
Some eLearning interfaces are more difficult to understand than others. Some much simpler although their functions aren’t as expansive. Whatever the case is, it’s crucial for you to understand all the intricacies of the interface.
Reach out to customer support and ask for a simple guide of the basic functions so you know which button is for which function. If the eLearning site has an FAQ page, read it, and if it has a community page, bookmark it and find answers to questions members ask.
It pays to read the manual, no matter how cumbersome that might sound.
Engage with instructors
Some online courses have instructors who teach the online class – particularly those categorised as highly technical courses. If that’s the case, don’t hesitate to reach out to ask for help. You might have some questions that aren’t explicitly answered in the Internet or perhaps some other concerns (term papers, etc.) that require a certain methodology that your instructor prefers.
More often than not, these instructors usually have their professional contact details listed on the website for you to reach out to them. Get a hold of these and keep them handy. (notepad, Excel spreadsheet, etc.).
Don’t be afraid to ask questions that are relevant to the online course. It’s better to ask and be lead to the right path than to have strayed too deep in error.
Just because it’s an online course doesn’t mean you’ll be free of distractions. There’s this misconception that being in an online course will grant you an immense amount of focus compared to being in a conventional classroom. Sadly, that’s not the case. The Internet is a place that can shorten one’s attention span in a snap.
Unless they’re needed, close any messenger apps like Skype or Yahoo Messenger. While there’s an option for you to set these apps to “busy”, they have the tendency to make you want to check for any messages.
Dedicate a special browser for your online course. If it’s possible, have this browser block off any social media platform (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr). Unless these social media platforms are absolutely needed for the course, you might want to block them off completely to avoid unnecessary distraction.
Invest in a good headset that will help you focus on any audio-visual presentations you might need to go through. Make sure that your house is secured and everything is taken care of to ensure that you have an optimal learning experience.
Take breaks every now and then
Some online courses are packaged pre-recorded, meaning, you can pause the video and take a few breaks. Breaks are important because you need to give your brain some time to digest the things you’ve learned and your body, some nourishment.
Grab a few snacks and some coffee or tea. Being hungry or thirsty while in an online course is problematic because it distracts you from absorbing the lessons.
You might also want to step away from the computer and go outside to take a breath of fresh air. Taking a break for the sake of checking your Facebook or Twitter, however, will definitely get you distracted.
Ready your resources
The Internet has created the opportunity for you to search for answers easily through Google and Wikipedia. Back in the day, learners would go to libraries and find the books they needed for this.
Make sure that you have these online resources bookmarked in your browser. Take note of the resources that your instructor or course mentions and bookmark them as well. If your course requires you to follow certain websites or blogs, you can bookmark them through Feedly or any other news aggregator application online.
That’s about it. What kind of experiences do you have between learning online and offline? Is there any difference? Please Like and Share this article if you think it’s helpful!