I’ve been leading IDM online courses for the last five years, and it’s been very fulfilling to support marketers as they look to expand their knowledge and skills.
I was a face-to-face trainer for years and, in the beginning, was unsure how online would work for students and tutors alike, but I soon became a big fan of online learning and the various benefits it allows students to enjoy. But it still takes a lot of work.
Here’s my list of top tips for how to get the most out of online learning and make it work for you.
Find the time to study
Learning online means you can fit study around your lifestyle. But you do need to study. Make sure you devise a study plan at the outset and stick to it.
For some, it is about staying an hour later at work 3 or 4 days a week to get it out the way before the distractions of home.
For others, it’s about getting home, spending time with the family and then studying when the household chores and bedtime duties are done. This way, your home and family receive the attention they need, and then you can focus on your studies.
Or maybe you’ll study in larger chunks at the weekends.
What’s important is to find what works for you, make a plan, and stick to it.
Be in control
The lure of flexibility can become a burden if you don’t stick to a plan.
Make sure your colleagues and loved ones know and understand your commitment and respect it.
Part of that is to have a set place where you can concentrate on your studies. Is there somewhere quiet where you can focus on the work at hand? Personally, I opt for my office – once the phone stops ringing, that is.
Online qualifications and courses do offer flexibility but don’t overlook deadlines and exam dates as these will be more standardised. Don’t get caught out, and make sure you have them fixed in your mind and your calendars.
Use the online resources
High-quality online courses offer a variety of different types of content. It’s important to use them all.
Watch the videos, read the Moodle content, run through the knowledge checks and explore the additional resources – they’re supplied for a reason, and they all play their part.
Don’t let the resources go to waste, and make sure you have an organisation process so you can save important documents and notes to reference later. I’m a fan of Evernote, but there are other tools available that will clip information, let you tag it with useful terms, and easily access it later for further study.
Study something work-related
Professional training works best when it complements work. It means you can relate what you’re learning to what you are doing.
A great way to enhance and solidify your learning is to find ways to apply what you’re learning to a work situation. Drop key terms and insights into conversations, challenge conventions, and apply your newly discovered methodologies.
I often tell students that professional development has a major impact on confidence at work. Use what you’ve learned during your evenings and weekends and showcase your knowledge. It’ll give you a real boost, your colleagues are sure to appreciate your efforts, and you’ll be more enthusiastic about your studies.
Talk to your tutors and fellow students
Online qualifications often involve an element of contact and communication with the course tutor. For example, I conduct live webinars with students on the IDM Professional Diploma in Digital Marketing, and graduates have told me how valuable they find the real-time interactions and being able to ask questions.
I recommend that students set up online chat groups so they can help each other through any study related problems, and get a little bit of peer support. Online learning doesn’t necessarily equate to learning in isolation.
I’ve hosted many courses and met many online graduates who appreciate how flexible the study mode is, and how they were able to fit learning in around their everyday lives.
I hope these tips have inspired you with a few ways that you can make online learning work for you, and I hope you’ll take the next steps and enhance your career by enrolling in an online professional qualification with the IDM.
Lecturer and Tutor, IDM, and Managing Director, Anderson Hearne Keene
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