You can succeed in learning online, but you need to start by following these guidelines
Globalization has made an enormous difference to the way we live and work, and I don’t just mean the impact of petrol prices on our driving habits. Communicating with someone on the other side of the world is just as easy as communicating with someone next door. People change jobs more often than before, and jobs change just as frequently. And all these changes underscore the importance of education in this globalized, competitive, technology-driven, knowledge-based economy where skilled jobs in plumbing, roofing, manufacturing, and electric – are short-staffed.
Of course, this is why so many people study on-campus at university or college. But many others already have jobs or other commitments and so cannot attend on-campus classes. If you are one of these people, online learning provides a flexible solution. But to succeed you need to take account of the following six guidelines.
When you study on-campus, other people organize much of your study time. With online learning, you have to organize it yourself. So be organized” manage your time. Set aside a regular time in your diary for the study of the material as if you were attending classes. And complete assignments well before the due dates. That way you have time to check them and also avoid those last-minute things that go wrong when you’re late. Do not be a poor time manager.
Living and working in today’s ever-changing world demand life-long learning. And so if you wish to continue to be part of it, you must have a desire to learn and be motivated to learn for the rest of your life. So this means wanting to learn even when there is no extrinsic motivation (e.g., a salary increase).
Unfortunately, many of us were not taught how to learn. Instead, we were only taught to remember things and to apply rules. Somewhere along the way, we were expected to acquire the skills to acquire knowledge. In today’s world, it is essential that we know how to learn. In particular, learning online requires that you develop these skills. This not only means having the technical skills of how to find books or web sites on a topic, but it also means having well-developed critical reading and thinking skills.
For many of us, our school experience has taught us to be passive learners – we were told the knowledge, we learned it by rote and then we repeated it in an exam. Passive learning seemed to be a useful strategy for success. Unfortunately, that is not a useful strategy for success in today’s world, or, indeed, in online learning. If you are learning online, the courseware often includes questions, exercises, and further reading so that your learning can be active rather than passive. You must make sure that you complete all the exercises and that you thoroughly interact with the material.
Lectures in high school classrooms and in undergraduate classes can all so easily encourage the passive learning already referred to. But real learning takes place when you are interacting with the materials and with others. So try to find a learning group, either in your area or online, and exchange ideas regularly. Also, make sure that you respond to all the e-Tutors requests for participation in the discussion forums. There may even be a mark allocated for such participation.
Don’t be tempted to buy a qualification from a diploma mill – a business that simply prints diplomas and degrees. Such qualifications are worthless in the eyes of employers and genuine educational institutions, so will just be a waste of your money. Always take an accredited program from an accredited institution.