Tips for Success

  • Determine the timeline in which you want to complete the class
  • Set a schedule and make an appointment on your calendar
  • Make sure the environment and location in which you take the class is conducive to your learning style
  • Understand what your motivation for taking this class is and how that will impact your ability to complete the class
  • Above all, make sure that you take advantage of the many excellent classes that are online. You will be able to take them at your own pace and many of them take a deeper dive into topics of import than many live classes can

The Perils & Opportunities of Online Learning


Tips for making the most of E-Learning

During the quarantine this spring due to Covid-19, many of us have pursued eLearning as an option to learn a new skill, hobby or enhance our careers with continuing education credits. In fact, it was reported that about 69% of adults recently polled as to what they planned to do while quarantined at home responded that they intended to pursue some form of eLearning. Many of us have watched our children, also home due to the quarantine, plunge into eLearning to maintain their scholastic achievements. 

In fact, eLearning is a great way to learn new skills and will likely become a new normal for many of us who must maintain professional continuing education credits even after the quarantine requirements have been lifted. Since eLearning is here to stay, I wanted to share what I see as some of the pitfalls of eLearning and some tips on how to make sure you get the most out of the eCourses you take.

Yes, there are perils in this type of learning, but by finding the best strategies for yourself from the tips I offer you, I hope you can maximize the benefits that eLearning offers all of us.

Peril #1: E-learning is self-directed learning. It requires that the student have some degree of self-starting capability. Even the most focused of us will find this difficult to do at times. Enhancing your success will require that you schedule time for your eLearning and stick to it. Block the 1 hour or 2-hour block on your calendar and treat like an appointment. That way you are telling your mind that it is learning time.

Peril #2: E-learning requires self-discipline. Similar to being self-directed, successful eLearning requires being disciplined. Just as you schedule time for your expense exports or to workout, self-development through eLearning requires that you schedule time and focus on the task at hand. One tip that really helps me is to make sure that I’m scheduling my elearning at a time when I won’t be distracted by other people or other activities.

Peril #3: Motivation. Just as I talk about the desire to be a leader, there are what I always say are 3 levels of motivation. The first is extrinsically motivated in that you “want to” do it because everyone else is doing it or there is an external push factor such as completing the course will position you for a promotion or give you continuing education credit. The second type of motivation is part extrinsically-driven and part intrinsically-driven because there is a short-term goal involved such as I will lose weight for an upcoming wedding. I call this Determined Motivation; and then there is the highest level of motivation, because it’s about 80% intrinsically-driven and 20% extrinsically-driven. This is where you are so DRIVEN to do something that nothing will get in your way. Often I will use a David Goggins as an example of DRIVEN motivation. So understand what is motivating you to take the eCourse in the first place and it will help you set realistic goals for completing the class. One tip or caution is that you have to understand whether you are more extrinsically motivated as you are likely experience in a live class where the eCourse will require more internal or intrinsic motivation.

Peril #4: Finding Uninterrupted time to Focus. Taking an eCourse is much like working at home. As many of us have experienced during the Covid19 Quarantine, we have both our spouse and children home all day, every day! It can be a ripe environment for a multitude of distractions. Unlike an eClass where you are committing dedicated time to the class and are often attending away from your work or your family, you have a better opportunity to stay focused on the content of the course. With an eCourse, you will have to determine what works best for you. Is it a dedicated location in your home? After quarantine ends will it be going to a local library or coffee shop where you can stay focused on the task at hand.

Peril #5: Most eCourses are open-ended. Often many eCourses do not have an beginning and end date for the course unless they are a live webinar format. This can really cause havoc if you do not set yourself goals for completing the various modules within an eCourse. My suggestion or tip would be to look at the course objectives, determine how many modules there are and then break it down into manageable study and focus periods. For example, if a module is estimated to take 1 hour to complete then dedicate 1-1:30 hours to complete each module and schedule it on the calendar each day or each week depending on your personal goal for completing the course. For those taking a class for continuing education credit, often there are deadlines that may dictate when you need to complete it.

Be sure to consider these and other perils listed above that you personally may face in taking an eCourse and determine how you will best address them. A summary of my tips for maximizing success are as follows:

  • Determine the timeline in which you want to complete the class
  • Set a schedule and make an appointment on your calendar
  • Make sure the environment and location in which you take the class is conducive to your learning style
  • Understand what your motivation for taking this class is and how that will impact your ability to complete the class
  • Above all, make sure that you take advantage of the many excellent classes that are online. You will be able to take them at your own pace and many of them take a deeper dive into topics of import than many live classes can.

So as more of us jump into eLearning, remember, it is really all about what works best for you. I find that many eCourses are often more informative than live classes depending on the instructor and content of the class. With concerns about social distancing, we may all be taking a lot more online courses for both work and hobbies.

Tell me what you think of eLearning! I want to hear what works and doesn’t work.

Email me at dcrisp@lhln.org

Dean

 

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