Distance learning has emerged as a great way of learning and has over time developed itself as the preferred way to advance your career. The main point to seek in an online course is to find out if it meets the required benchmark of quality, design, and instruction. However, you need to be aware of the fact that online classes or courses are slightly different than the routine classes. It requires more effort on part of the student which typically means that as a student you will have to be proactive in your approach. You have to be regular and have to complete your work on time. There is no space for laggards as you may not be able to chalk out time later for any doubts. So, you have to be on your toes and have to ensure that you are completely prepared for the upcoming topic.
The best and strangely also the worst part of an online course is ‘flexibility’. It is best as you have the choice of attending the class at your own convenience and you do not have to adhere to a particular routine. At the same time, it proves to be the worst strategy when flexibility takes shape of laziness and you get into the habit of constantly putting off classes. Thus, although it has been found that the trend of taking online classes for advancing their careers or even upskilling has become a preferred mode of learning, yet you have to gauge your own level of dedication and commitment with yourself.
Here are a few tips which are helpful if you are considering an online course.
- Expertise in Technology: This is the foremost requirement for anyone who is planning to take up courses online. The least is to know how a computer is operated, basic knowledge about software and elementary knowledge on how to troubleshoot basic computer problems. There are many courses which require candidates to install basic software on their systems to proceed with the classes, install a camera and also be able to conduct and participate in an online discussion. At times, many people who are tech-savvy, take the first requirement lightly and completely ignore the fact that technology has made many advances and one has to be abreast with the latest know-how.
- Time-Management: This is the most important aspect in case of an online course as you are in complete control of your time. Thus, you need to be proactive and take note of everything yourself. There won’t be any personal reminder for completing the work as in regular class schedule. There will be no possibility of holding discussions post your classes with anyone else. Formation of study groups is also not possible. This also means that you are your own boss and you have to manage your own time. There are no checks on you and thus you have to adhere to self-decided timelines. If you are working full-time or have massive family engagements it is a wise idea to refer to various time management tips and techniques. You may also seek help from various online mentors who can suggest you ways to steer your time well.
- Multiple Instructional Mediums: The underlying factor to be able to refer to multiple mediums of instruction and information is the ability to manage time and remain self-motivated. When you are taking online classes, you will be given instructions about your course from a prescribed manual. It will be entirely our onus to be able to substantiate your knowledge with extra reading materials like texts, online manuals, PDFs, or even listening to podcasts, audio files, watching videos which are related to instructions etc. These will place you one step above others. All this will have to be done during your own managed time frame. You will also have to make your own notes compiling all sources of information. This is why time management plays a vital role as you will have to put in extra efforts and should be prepared for extra tasks than a traditional class.
- Online Assignments: Along with routine work which will be covered on a routine basis, there will be a lot of homework, quizzes, and assignments which you will be required to do if you intend to prepare for your exam well. It is advisable that you slice out sufficient time for preparation for your clearing exam in the same way as you would do for a regular examination. This is even more essential in case of an online course as these usually are time constrained and do not offer much space for preparation along with regular classes. Also, you will have to mark a specific place in your own workplace or home to study for the same. Another positive is that almost all online courses give you an opportunity to make use of books and other online resources for answering the test questions.
- Information about Program Commencement: You should be quite updated about various courses which are being offered by institutions online and keep proper track of their commencement schedules. In addition, you should also find out about the scheduling of classes and the suggested ways for submission of work. This prior knowledge is essential as it will not let you get trapped in the glitches of pacelines. There are some courses which do not have any fixed schedules and it is on the student’s discretion to complete them at their own pace.
- Communication: Having excellent communication skills prove to be helpful in almost all scenarios. Many courses will give you chance to interact with the instructor during the class for which you will need reasonable communication skills so that you are able to present your views and ask questions properly. Also, you may be assigned some tasks, assignments or even projects which need to be completed in groups. In such cases, your command over the language will help you have an edge over the others.
Benefits of Online Learning
- Easy to Access: These online courses are easy to access and are even available to students who cannot otherwise afford to go for regular courses due to the restriction of time and finances. These courses provide a sound platform for all working professionals for upskilling and thereby advance in their careers.
- Flexibility: Online courses provide the benefit of flexibility and one can access the same at the convenience of your schedule. You may want to access our daily class at the fag end of your day or early morning before you begin your workday. You also have the choice of how fast you want to complete the class or the number of breaks you want to take.
- Affordable: Online courses are more affordable as compared to regular courses. This is because there are no physical facilities involved and thus are more reasonable to maintain.
Thus, if you are planning to take up an online course you need to have basic computer knowledge, communication skills and an inner zeal to work hard. A proactive approach is essential for having maximum benefits from such courses. Flexibility is the prime attraction but it can also become the biggest restriction as one tends to become lazy as there is no one to check. Online courses are thus essential for upskilling and are the latest trend for advancing your careers even when you are in a full-time work commitment.