Whether you're looking for a new career, want to learn a new skill for fun, or want to increase your value at work, online courses (also called online training) are one way to achieve that.
Some examples of what completing online courses could achieve for you? Not only is there a variety of courses offered online, from animal care courses distance learning to foundation healthcare courses to basic data science and programming, no matter what you're looking for, you can find it through online course websites or online schools.
Before you jump in, decide if online courses are the right choice for you.
know your reasons
"Going back to school" with online courses isn't the same as highschool or college. Even if you're only completing a few courses, online studying is different than the traditional classroom. If your online course is self-paced, it's up to you to navigate your way through the material, which takes time management. Your online course may be a "flipped classroom:, where you do the readings and even listen to a recorded lecture before meeting up with your classmates in an online chatroom or teleconference session to work through problems.
Being aware of the different formats of online courses is key as you browse different options. You know yourself - how did you do in school? Was it difficult to motivate yourself? Keep these characteristics in mind.
block off time
As I mentioned before, being able to go through your coursework takes time. If you work full-time, have a busy household, or other hobbies that are more important, factor those commitments into your study schedule. If you're ready to prioritize online studying, try to free up a few evenings per week, or an afternoon. You may need to get up earlier, arrange childcare, or have others pick up the slack on housework. As long as you plan ahead, you can make it work.
find your learning style
If you've just left school, you might be aware of how you learn best. But if you've been working and out of school the past several years your habits may have changed or even your learning style. What do I mean by learning style? Some people prefer to watch videos to learn something, others like to listen to lectures and take notes. Others work better learning from books. You may learn best alone, in a small group, or a large classroom.
Studying online doesn't limit your ability to adapt your learning to your own learning style. Most online courses offer videos or podcasts which recreates a traditional lecture style classroom. You may be able to form a virtual study group as well. The best thing to do is learn about the different methods of study, try several methods, and see what feels the best for you.
In school, you have to be in class at a certain time, adhere to deadlines, and all of this is a little bit easier (whether you know it or not) when you have classmates and a teacher in person keeping you accountable. When doing online courses, you still have to manage your time, stay organized, and stay motivated just like with traditional school, but it's all on you!
Take note of what motivates you. Why are you doing this course? Write those reasons down and refer to them when you're dragging. Maintain a routine to help you stay organized both in time and in study materials. Set your own goals, and plan to meet deadlines in advance so you're not working down to the wire.
Have you taken an online course before? Tell me about it in the comments below!
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