Considering homeschooling or a distance learning course? Here’s what you should look out for before you access distance learning.
The pandemic forced students and teachers alike to explore online learning options0 and now there’s talk of a second coming of the virus. Second phase or not, many educational institutions – school, college, or university – have shown great success in leveraging technology for education.
In fact, technology in the classroom was the hot topic of discussion even before the lockdown. But what about the learners? The students? Are they able to derive as much from elearning as they did from the classroom? BYN an edublog brings you tips on how to get the best out of elearning.
Determine your Learning Objectives
Before you ever perform a Google search for an elearning course determine why you want to do the course you have selected. If for example you are considering a course in IT, you may have one of several goals from simply enhancing your knowledge to complement you in your profession to becoming a developer. Your goals may also be defined by your current status – whether you are a fresh graduate, 12th pass, or a working professional. In some situations, a basic course will suffice while others will require a longer and in-depth learning. You should browse the internet – which is cluttered with options – accordingly.
Learn the Nuts and Bolts
Before you dive in and enroll, it’s important to understand the technicalities – not about the course itself but also about what you’ll need if you want to learn. For instance, you’ll need a computer or other digital device, a stable and reliable internet connection, pen, paper and so on. Look for any specific configuration or software that may be necessary. Check also for any books or other learning material you may need to purchase. Check if you need to get on board an elearning platform and what it may cost you. Some online resources require a membership fee to access the study material. Ask about these beforehand. Get familiar with any software or hardware required before hand so that you’re not left fumbling in class. Browse through any online or offline reading material. In short familiarize yourself with everything you’ll need ahead of time.
Treat it like the Real Thing
Whether you are homeschooling mom, a homeschool planner, or a student taking a distance learning course, it is important for you to take the online class seriously. Online learning affords great flexibility – particularly self-paced courses that allow you to choose your time, speed, and assessment date. We’re talking about the one-time fee video courses that are fast becoming popular. While these courses are not all scams, whether or not you get something out of the course is incumbent upon your self-discipline. It is after all up to you to watch the videos, show-up for online sessions if any, and follow through with self-study. So tell yourself I’ll make this work and follow through with the tips below.
It’s all very well to say you should manage your time well but not everyone has the time management skills required for the task – it’s easy to get distracted. Traditional schools and colleges had the advantage of structure and accountability which many self-learning modules do not. So you need to do it yourself. Just like school or college – set up a timetable to follow at home. Include what you will study at any given time and include both short and long breaks. Then follow it religiously so that you stay on track. One of those time management apps might help. Remember that even if you are at home, you’re still paying for the course. Hold yourself accountable for any lapse and punish yourself by doing extra time. And if you are wondering about homeschooling your child check out our answers to parents’ questions.
De-Clutter and Focus
With an online course that you can take on any mobile device, you’d say, “I can sit anywhere I please with my laptop or mobile to take my lessons” but that means you are giving yourself an out – and excuse – for not working. If you’re really serious about taking the course, you’ll want to stay focused without being distracted by the likes of Netflix, kids at play, and the clank of utensils. Of course if you are the kind that can tune out and tune in at will then by all means choose your space but if not you’ll want to assign a corner of your home as the study and make sure it’s free of distractions and clutter.
Figure out your Learning Style
Learning is not a one-size-fits-all kind of thing. Every learner has his or her own style and method. For instance, some may need to write things down in order to understand them while others may learn through repetition. Yet others may learn better by listening. You may be at your best at a certain time during the day and at your worst at other times. Some need coffee to keep going while others need frequent breaks. You should figure out what works best for yourself, your student, or your child. Figure out the kind of resources you need, get them, and then buckle down.
Even if you’ve enrolled for a self-paced learning course with no strict deadlines, you’ll still need to interact with your coordinator and fellow students from time to time. Your social and communication skills will help you understand the environment and the best way forward. And there’ll be other channels for participation, doubt clearing, and communicating with your mentor. Use these channels effectively to advantage. Participate actively in the learning process. Ask questions – even when you think you know the answer. Ask your mentor about real world situations that he – or even you – encounter. Discuss various hypothetical outcome of these situations. Indulge in What if… and figure out several takeaways from your lessons. Sign up for the online forum for your course and that of others when possible to see what other students are saying – not just about the course but about the takeaways from it. This type of positive active participation will help you imbibe concepts and ideas and apply them later in life.
Online learning is not going away anytime soon. Besides the implementation of the new National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 – which got delayed by the pandemic – is likely to further change the learning landscape. So gear up and stay tuned. Join our Facebook Community and sign up for our newsletter. BYN brings you tidbits from the world of education and HR. If you want to hear from us in other domains, write for us, or simply stay tuned via email look at the right panel and click on the appropriate link.