More and more people are turning to online education to learn about subjects they’re passionate about or to level up in their career.
However, easy access to online education doesn’t always guarantee that eager learners will successfully complete a course. One study found that while demand for online courses is high, less than 10 percent of students who enroll in a course end up completing it.
It can be challenging to squeeze education into your daily schedule no matter how convenient or inexpensive it is. This problem is compounded for adult learners who work a normal 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. job and then try to squeeze online learning into whatever time they have left before or after work.
Even the most well-intentioned and committed learners can benefit from a little preparation to complete a course and get the most out of online learning.
Here are 5 tips to help set you up for success and get the most out of online learning.
Set your expectations
Have a clear understanding of what you want to get out of a course. If you’re looking to learn about a subject versus developing a specific skill, the amount of work that goes in to each will vastly differ.
One may require mostly reading while the other might require additional coursework that builds on the readings or a final capstone project to apply what you’ve learned .
Whatever the rigor of an online program might be, setting proper expectations will help you choose an online program that satisfies those expectations.
A well-designed online program offers a clear sense of how much work you need to put in to pass and complete the program . While some courses may only ask you to take a quiz periodically, others may ask you to complete projects of greater depth, such as forming a marketing strategy or a business plan.
Review the course requirements to make sure you can invest the proper amount of time, and plan your schedule accordingly.
Block off time on your calendar
Online courses are convenient to take and, best of all, don’t require you to sit in an uncomfortable classroom for hours with a tough instructor to motivate you. However, that means you need to supply the motivation and commitment.
Create a study plan that lists specific modules or activities you will complete with 30 minutes of time or an hour.
Block out hours on a calendar at the start of every week, so you can make time to commit to a course while keeping track of specific tasks you’ve completed each day.
For example: “Monday, June 25th, 6:30-7:30pm: Watch 2 videos, complete online quiz, and post to the course discussion forum.”
Connect with your instructor
Many online courses, including those offered by BusinessBlocks, have experienced instructors or coaches who can assist you in getting the most out of the course. Don’t be afraid to reach out.
You may never get the opportunity to meet your instructor face-to-face, but your online instructor or course support professional can help set you up for success and meet the expectations you set before you started.
Network with your peers
Taking a course online can be a lonely and even impersonal undertaking, especially if you’re staring at a computer monitor or a tablet for hours. Many online learning platforms offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others taking the same course.
Use the course discussion platforms to engage with your peers and ask questions. Articulating your understanding of the material to others can help cement and enrich your understanding of what you learn.