The e-learning industry continues to develop at a lightning pace, enveloping business and academic environments alike. As exciting as this is to those of us on the inside, few pause to consider whether the learner themselves is along for the ride.
Is she happily interacting with virtual scenarios, or is she throwing her laptop out the window, unable to keep up with the rate of change?
Many learners, particularly younger learners, adapt to new platforms with little effort, but it’s certainly not something that comes naturally to everyone.
So whether you want to improve your own learning experience or are concerned about the price of laptop repairs, here are 6 steps you can take to make sure you get the most out of your e-learning experience.
Step 1: Location, location, location
Before your course starts, make sure you have an appropriate environment in which to conduct your learning. This means checking that you have access to the right equipment – such as the Internet and a computer – but also that you have a comfortable place to sit with minimal distractions.
Step 2: Get motivated
Next, make sure that your mind is ready. You have to consciously adapt your expectations as a learner; e-learning will require you to be more proactive, more independent and more disciplined than traditional learning would. Find motivation by reading over the whole course syllabus before starting, to get a bigger picture and so that you can start to develop an interest in the material. Also remind yourself of your reasons for doing the course – is it for a promotion, a new job, or are you doing this for personal enrichment? Keeping an eye on the prize can help you stay motivated.
Step 3: Practice makes perfect
Before starting the course, make sure your computer literacy skills are up to scratch (there are some useful courses on YouTube to get you started). If you try to figure things out as you go along, you may get frustrated, which will detract from your learning experience.
Step 4: Make it a habit
Once you start the course, actively work on developing the habits that will help you to remain disciplined and motivated. Log into the course platform at least three times a week – even if you have nothing due – to read forum posts or see if there are any announcements or notifications. This will prevent you from pushing the course to the back of your mind and to the bottom of your daily to-do list. This habit will also help you to make connections with other students and ask questions, which are ways in which you can develop an active role in your learning.
Step 5: Sync with your real life
Manage your time carefully; even if a routine doesn’t fit into your schedule, and plan your e-learning sessions ahead of time. A digital calendar linked to your email is very useful here, or your regular To Do app. If you can link the course up to your real life, it will be easier to make sure that you have allocated the time you need to complete the course. Most importantly, be aware of all the due dates for assessments, and set up reminders so that you can plan to complete them in time.
Step 6: Have fun!
E-learning is a new skill, and like any other new skill you should consciously give yourself time to develop expertise. If you are aware of the learning curve, it will help you to be critical of the way you engage with the platform, and you will get a little better at it – and enjoy it more – every day.