Since COVID-19, e-learning has become more and more popular – it brings flexibility and efficiency to learning, which is a great advantage. At Globally Cool, we also had to switch from providing training on location to doing online webinars and designing e-learning courses. With almost 300 webinars on the clock, we know how to get the most out of e-learning for you as a participant. Read on and find out!
1. E-learning is the real deal!
E-learning versus training on location or sitting in a classroom comes with some pros and cons. Freedom of time and planning is often mentioned as one of the biggest pros – you can basically learn at your own pace. You are the one planning your time for learning and doing assignments. At the same time, this can also be the biggest downfall. Some people have trouble with that level of freedom and postpone study moments repetitively.
Therefore, we provide you with tip #1: an e-learning course is the real deal! Treat it like a normal class, which you must attend, where you have reading to do or must send in homework. This means, when considering taking an online course, you need to make sure you have the self-discipline to plan, start and keep learning. Show up during online classes, meetings, and webinars!
Pro TIP: If the course offers you an online forum, you can participate in reading, answering, and asking questions. In other words, interact and learn from the other participants like you would do in a real-life class. Take that to your advantage and engage!
2. Check and test your equipment in advance
Great – you made the decision to participate in an e-learning course. The next step is making sure you are able to participate without any technical issues.
Make sure your device is compatible with the e-learning or webinar software. For example, at Globally Cool, we use Zoom Meetings and Zoom Webinars for our online sessions. Our participants need to have the latest version of Zoom Client installed. Otherwise, they will have problems joining the session.
Once installed or updated, you need to test your video, microphone and sound. This should all be working correctly before joining a meeting or webinar. Test this in advance! Do not wait until the start of the session, as you might need time to fix the issues.
Besides your device having to be ready for taking online classes, you also need a stable internet connection. If you are depending on a Wi-Fi signal, avoid blind spots. In other words, make sure you join the lesson from a well-covered spot in your home or office. If possible, use a wired ethernet connection for a faster, more stable connection.
Pro TIP: Should you encounter any problems, know who you can reach out to for support. The course may have an online forum, e-mail or phone available for support.
3. Time management: planning your study time
Like already mentioned in tip #1, an e-learning course is the real deal! Therefore, you need to plan your time. Dates and times of the online sessions are often known several weeks prior to the start of the course. Mark dates and times in your agenda, and be available!
Of course, there will be times when you can’t be available; then, it is important to plan time during that same week to go back and watch the lesson recording. This way, you can keep pace with other participants and are well-prepared for the next online session.
If you want to make the most out of an e-learning course, you need to invest time and create a learning schedule. This means:
- Plan or mark your homework or assignments in your agenda.
- Schedule time off in your agenda for learning or practice.
One of the positive elements of e-learning is that you can adapt your learning schedule to your personal preferences. Are you an early bird or a night owl? Simply plan your study time during the moments of the day you feel at your best.
Pro TIP: To get the most out of these online webinars, showing up for live webinars is better than watching recordings. During a live webinar, you are able to ask questions and interact with the teacher via chat.
4. Learn without being distracted
Distractions can be a huge deal-breaker. The less you get distracted, the easier and faster you will be able to learn and do your homework. Make sure you have a quiet place available where you can learn without any distractions.
Avoiding distractions refers to both your physical and virtual environment. When learning from the office or from home, make sure you can sit somewhere where your colleagues or family members won’t disturb you. At the same time, make sure your devices won’t distract you. This means – if possible – turning off your mobile phone, or at least the sound. Switch off notifications on your mobile phone and close all unnecessary programs or tabs on your computer or device. For example, close mail, browser tabs, and any other windows that you don’t need during your study time or online session.
Pro TIP: Some laptops offer a distraction free mode. Turn it on to keep your focus on learning!
5. Study break and rewards
Reading online, being active during a live webinar or meeting, watching recordings—it can all be very intense and energy-draining. Besides planning your learning moments, also plan time to relax. Schedule some time for having fun! Allow yourself to recharge your batteries. Relaxation will make e-learning much more bearable, and, in turn, it will be easier for you to remain focused.
Take a short nap after you study, between 30-60 minutes in the middle of the day, if your schedule allows. Studies show that those who take short naps after study sessions perform much better than those who don’t!
Pro TIP: To prevent eye strain caused by looking at screens, try to focus to a point in the distance from time to time. An easy to remember rule is the so-called 20-20-20 rule. After 20 minutes works, focus 20 seconds on an object that is approximately 20 feet (5 to 6 meters) away.
Final tip: reward yourself
If you find it hard to learn online and keep your focus, you should also plan some time for rewards in your learning schedule. For example, plan a nice lunch if you have made it halfway through the course or when you completed the course. Rewarding yourself can be very satisfying, and it helps you to stay interested in the course. For now, have fun learning!