In case you consider online learning or create the products for it, check this set of handy points to consider.
Online learning has been made available by technological innovators for many years already. Many people have a solid idea of how it works; however, not many people had actually experienced it until the pandemic suddenness transformed the entire concept of it. Since people mostly stay at home now to avoid getting sick, the Internet has become a breeding ground for more technological improvements.
One of the changes we have seen in institutions during the pandemic is their providing of online classes for their students. In these classes, also known as distance learning, teachers and students meet virtually through different online platforms instead of meeting face-to-face.
There are various benefits to attending classes online, but one of the greatest is the option of self-paced learning, meaning that you’re allowed to take as much time as you want in completing your requirements. Through self-paced learning, the materials you need will be uploaded in a shared folder or a platform that you can access; these will include pre-recorded videos, PowerPoint presentations, PDF files, and a list of links that will direct you to soft copies of books.
However, while online classes may seem more comfortable than traditional face-to-face meetings, some people are having difficulty coping with the dynamic change. Thus, before enrolling in an online class, you need to make sure that you’re ready for it – mentally and physically.
Is It Right for You?
Online classes require a number of things, such as a device and an unwavering interest to learn. Consider the following points below before taking the giant leap.
Before enrolling in online classes, ask yourself why you want to do it. Commitment is critical, and you need to be sure that you can attend all the sessions set out for you. Aside from this, know what you want to achieve because your attitude in handling things and your motivational drive are the things that will keep you going. Likewise, if you plan to enroll in distance learning, make sure you’ve explored all other options first. Why do you think distance learning is the best one for you?
Take a deep breath, and don’t pressure yourself. If you’re having a hard time deciding, you can always ask other people who’ve already tried online learning.
Online learning cannot work without technology. As the name implies, it can only be done with an Internet connection, as well as a gadget to facilitate this. In taking online courses, you need to check whether you’re comfortable with an entirely virtual experience.
Ask yourself the following questions:
Am I ready to spend more than a few hours in front of the computer? Online classes are usually self-paced, as has been mentioned already. However, you’ll need to spend a certain number of hours in front of the screen every week to complete your lesson. Some, if long and extensive, will take more hours than you expected. In online classes, you have to be ready for that possibility. It can be exhausting and cause a lot of eye strain. Are you willing to endure a few sleepless nights to finish your degree?
Am I ready to spend extra hours learning new applications that will be used for the class? If you’re not very tech-savvy, you’ll have to learn new skills along the way. Your learning materials will be uploaded across different platforms, depending on what the institution typically uses. Some platforms are more difficult to manage. Also, your homework could require you to explore new digital tools.
Learning requires a lot of patience. Some might need more than an hour to learn due to the number of commands that are available. You have to be open-minded about this because your coursework isn’t the only thing you have to focus on in online learning.
Do I have a strong Internet connection? Sometimes, your teachers will require you to attend online orientations, live video sessions, or webinars. This requires a lot of data and strong Internet connectivity. If you live somewhere very far away, where the signal is difficult to detect, you might have to think twice about enrolling. However, suppose you’re really set on attending online classes and expanding your knowledge. In that case, you need to invest in a good Internet provider to help you connect to your classes and other online activities.
Do I fully understand what online learning is all about? Before doing anything rash, make sure you know what you’re getting into. Do a lot of research, and ask anyone you know who’s knowledgeable about technology or online class. This will help you to fully understand something which you’re still trying to learn.
Don’t worry if there are terms that confuse you. In time, they will become familiar. And once you have a good grasp of it all, you can start to think about whether your decision is something you will want to pursue or keep at bay for now. Nevertheless, if you decide not to go through with online education, you can always come back when you’re finally ready.
If my gadgets don’t work or I’m having technical difficulties, am I willing to go the extra mile and troubleshoot them myself? Sometimes, your laptop or computer might not turn on or might run out of juice. Your camera could malfunction; your speakers or microphone, as well. These technical issues are some of the most common and usually happen when you update your device, as some bugs might be left over during the process. When this happens, you must have the patience to rigorously search through Google until you’ve found a solution.
There are many resources available online, and soon you’ll come to know the most reliable sites out there. Sometimes the instructions aren’t applicable, but you need to learn how to figure them out anyway because having to go to a shop to get it fixed costs a lot of money – that which you could have saved if you’d determined to fix the problem yourself.
Am I willing to invest in gadgets that can help me to improve my online concentration? Online learning will be easier if you have a computer or a laptop. These devices can facilitate most applications, and you can download more as the need arises for them. If you don’t have a capable device, you’ll need to shell out lots of money to purchase a good device that will last you for a long time.
Aside from this, if there are required readings then your desktop might not be the most ideal method to use, as it isn’t the most portable option. If you want it to feel like an actual book, you should invest in a good tablet with a pen to underline and make notes.
If your answer to all these questions is yes, then you can consider yourself ready in at least one aspect. However, if you answered no on more than one occasion, it’s best to reevaluate your choices and think of a better way to expand your knowledge. Online learning may appear hard and not very effective for you.
How Do You Manage Your Time?
Time management is such a necessity, and it will come in handy with everything that you do. How do you usually manage your time? Make a checklist, and include these questions:
Am I organized?
When you’re organized, it will be easy for you to move about because you know where things are, and you can easily find them. Also, organization doesn’t just apply to things. It can also be applied to your thoughts. When your mind is organized, you can think clearly and see a straight line ahead.
To help you organize your mind, list all of the things you need to do in a day, and set a time for each activity. You need to limit how long you spend on one task to give room for another. This will teach you to work with vigilance and make modifications quickly in case something goes wrong. After finishing each task, tick it off your list and mark it as complete.
Looking at a list of tasks and being able to see how much you’ve already accomplished will motivate you to keep going. That is because you can immediately see how productive you’ve been, and it makes you feel like you’re doing well.
Do I know how to prioritize?
Doing everything in one go is much too difficult and will put you under lots of strain. You’ll find yourself struggling to concentrate on anything with this approach; it makes you disorganized and disoriented. Likewise, you’ll need to know which ones to do first.
Knowing your priorities is the key to success. If you don’t know what to put first, you’ll end up focusing on the wrong things. Once you start to mature, you’ll realize that a quick drink has less importance than finishing your homework. When you decided to enroll online, you chose to align your heart and mind with your education. It’s easy to get lost on the other side of the road, but essential to remember why you started. Your investment will go to waste if you don’t set your priorities apart from your wants.
Do I value other people’s time?
When you and your friends go out, are you always late or are you typically the first one to arrive? Being late for events and activities means wasting everyone else’s time. If you waste someone’s time, the chances are that you don’t even value your own time. Remember that if there’s one thing you can never bring back, it’s time.
While distance learning is mostly self-paced, the more relaxed you become, the less you achieve. Taking your time is okay as long as you don’t wait for too long, because then you’ll just be putting things off, and you’ll end up not finishing anything at all. Some online courses have an expiration date, and if you fail to complete these before their set deadlines, you’ll probably have to enroll again when the next offer is available. Aside from the time you wasted, you’ll also be wasting your money, and you won’t get the education and knowledge you could have gotten if you hadn’t slacked off.
Do I follow a set schedule or program?
When you make a list for yourself, the sole purpose is to improve your time management and organizational skills. The most common issue with this is the inability to follow your own schedule. Your schedule should only serve as a guide, but the final decision will always be yours.
Are you willing to go the extra mile for online education? If your answer, yet again, is no, then you better figure out how you can get through this dilemma.
One of the usual requirements in online classes is to submit many written proposals and research. This is expected because all of the resources are right at your fingertips. All you need to do to find articles related to your topic is type in a few keywords. Likewise, how is your attitude when it comes to writing? Some people are much better than others at giving good explanations. If you’re weak in this kind of activity, you need to be prepared to take the extra mile because writing assignments is inevitable in online education.
These are only some of the things you need to consider before pursuing an online education. Like regular face-to-face classes, where part of your decision is to choose the best school, the same application can be made to online learning. However, you need to be prepared mentally for the difference in having to see your teacher in front of a screen and interacting with the rest of your classmates through different online platforms.
Pushing yourself too much could do more damage than good. Thus, when applying for an online school, make sure that you’ve covered all your bases and are set to meet your goals before you commit to them.
About the author: With over ten years of experience in the industry, Rex Holley has successfully gained countless readers because of his ability to write informative pieces on education, employment, and investment.
Title image from the Clip pack in Ouch illustration library