Education

Tips to learn from online courses

The number of places that you can turn to online to learn anything that you might ever want to learn continues to grow. With platforms like Easy Shiksha, there is no shortage of online courses in India. With that said the mere existence of online courses and the decision to sign up for one does not necessarily mean that you going to get a whole lot out of it. So, we would like to address this and share some tips for how you can make the most of whatever online course you choose to sign up for a skill you are interested to learn.

The four distinct tips are:

Clarify your why and set a goal:

It is worth identifying two things upfront before you even start digging into whatever course you just signed up for. It is important to clarify your “why” and set a goal. Though these two things might sound familiar they are distinct. Think of your why as your compass- it’s a more foundational part of who you are, what you are all about, and where you are going in life. And your compass helps you to continually move in the direction right for you. So, within this context of online learning, you want to make sure to define for yourself why you choose to sign up for a particular course you are about to take on. Why do you want to learn whatever skill that course is teaching? This is the deeper level of why. Your response can be something like, “well it will be at my job”. So, spend at least a few minutes digging a few layers of why deep until you feel you have a good understanding of why learning this particular thing is important to you. Set the specific goal that you want to reach at the end of the course. The goal of the creator of the course may not align completely with your goal so don’t be afraid to set your own goal.

Set aside a dedicated time and space:

Assign some dedicated time within which you will focus on working through the course material making progress on the lesson and the activities that you find within it. If you don’t assign the time, you will likely forget to make regular progress on it., especially it is a digital thing. You don’t have a book on the shelf that you will see regularly that will remind you of the thing you are trying to learn. But if you intentionally set aside some time and some physical space, then you are much more likely to go through the material and make progress. Hook that time and space into your daily routine. Recognize that you already have a flow to your days that starts with some coffee so adjust the time accordingly to be spent on the online courses you signed up for. Once you build it in your daily routine and had it followed for a specific number of days it will become a habit. This will help remove the startup energy required.

Meet up regularly with a friend:

Third helpful thing is to meet up regularly with a friend. There is something unique that comes from being in the same physical space as that of another human being. On one hand, there is a level of interpersonal accountability. You have another person with whom you can check in with every week with what progress you made since that last week and just knowing you are going to have another person to talk to, to check in with about the particular project that I am working on that makes it much more likely that I will make progress that I want to make. These sessions also allow for collaboration and cross-pollination of ideas. You also need not be working on the same projects or learning from the same course but there are a lot of benefits, you find parallels between the project you are working on and the one on which he/ she is working.

Documenting and publishing what you are learning:

Share what you are learning on online platforms like Twitter, YouTube, etc. This will give you some helpful feedback loops, which will help you learn more efficiently because other folks might cheer you with another resource that might help you in your journey. This will help you to learn with the community of like-minded people who might have more knowledge. This also leads to collaboration and cross-pollination of ideas. It results in a cool record of your learning and stages of your development that you can continue to look on. It is like an archive to remind how far you’ve come in your journey and what lessons you’ve learned. You can just say, “I signed up for this online course, I’m super excited to learn, and I’m going to share what I learned along the way”. Because by documenting what I am up to, reflecting on it, sharing with others, having conversations with others- those things will amplify whatever it is that you ultimately learned and takeaway from the course.

So rather than just binge-watching videos one week that you forget the other use these tips and build up a strong foundation for continuing to use those skills in the future.

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