Image Credit: “Mac Book Bot” by Jenn and Tony Bot

Though the tips in this post are aimed primarily at those who are participating in on-demand learning (AKA elearning) in the workplace, many of these suggestions also apply in for-credit online college courses.

  1. Get into a proper mindset. Remember that on-demand learning is NOT a poor replacement for instructor-led, classroom training. In fact, according to a US Department of Education study, elearning has been found to be more efficient and have better retention in many cases.
  2. Schedule time on your calendar for the course, just like you would for any classroom training.
  3. Find a quiet, distraction-free environment for the course, if possible. Perhaps you could use an available conference room if you don’t have a private office.
  4. Let your co-workers know that you will be unavailable for the time that you are completing the class. Forward your calls to voicemail, if that’s acceptable in your workplace.
  5. Consider even posting a sign outside your office or cube letting others know that your learning is in progress.
  6. If there is audio for the course, and you do not have a private room in which to take the training, wear your most comfortable headphones. (For me personally, if the course will take more than an hour, I’d prefer to wear over-the-ear headphones rather than earbuds.)
  7. Limit your own multi-tasking during the course, no matter how tempting it might be.
  8. Before the course begins, think “How might what I will learn help my ability to succeed at work?”
  9. As you’re going through the scenarios in the training, jot down how you will apply the concepts on the job in your specific work environment.
  10. Unlike in a classroom setting, go at your own pace. Start and stop the training as needed. Replay or repeat sections when you need to, without the nagging worry that you’re holding others back.
  11. Take lots of notes. Don’t rely on your memory.
  12. After you’ve completed the course, have a discussion with co-workers about what you learned. (This will increase your own retention of the information.)
  13. And for environmentally conscious learners, knowing that on-demand learning uses a significantly smaller carbon footprint is a welcome benefit.

What other suggestions do you have for getting the most from an on-demand learning course?

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2 Responses to A Baker’s Dozen Tips for Getting the Most From an Online Course

  1. kohare1992 says:

    Yet another helpful blog! I ave taken one online course and was hesitant in choosing to do so because I wasn’t sure how to go about making sure I was successful. Overall I enjoyed the fact that it was online and I could somewhat to things on my own time. After reading your tips I now realize things I should have been doing, and wasn’t that resulted in a grade that should have been higher, Next time I take an online course it will be with more confidence and knowledge of how to go about it!