While the convenience of online learning means you can learn anything wherever where you are in the world, it requires its own set of skills and a modicum of focus and determination to achieve real results.
We have a few tips to help you get the most out of your course.
Online learning is a convenient way to learn, but that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily easier.
Be prepared to fully engage with the additional recommended reading and exercises to solidify your learning and make sure you get the most out of your course.
Set realistic goals
It’s important to set targets – but keep them achievable and realistic so you don’t get discouraged.
Similarly, if you allocate too much time, you’ll lose momentum.
Plan for success
Consider your schedule and book in some non-negotiable self-study sessions at times that suit you.
Can you focus during your lunch hour? Or is it better to study after work? Or on the weekend?
Make sure to build some contingency time into your plan too – you can’t miss out on the great spontaneous things that life throws your way. Some space in your schedule will give you the time you need.
Decide what will work for you, try a few mini study sessions to see if those times suit, and after a little experimenting you can build a study plan you’ll stick to.
Break your study down into short sections so you can get a sense of the progress you are making.
Draw up a study plan, create coloured boxes, and write a tick list for each session so you can track your studies and tick them off as you go.
Perhaps you can reward yourself with a chocolate biscuit at the end of each lesson. Whatever gives you joy in completing sections of study or working through learning exercises, do it.
Organise your study space
Where do you work best? Some prefer to sit in a home office or at a desk, while others prefer to put their feet up on the sofa.
Whatever spot you choose, make sure that it’s free of distractions.
Turn off your phone, turn off social media, and ask your loved ones to let you study, interruption free, for a few hours – note, if you have small children, this may necessitate a little bribery.
Switch things up
Are you hitting a wall? Losing your focus?
Try a change of scenery – It’ll wake up your brain. Something as simple as moving your studies to a table at your local library, or a café countertop will get you on the right track again.
If you’re easily distracted, headphones will be your friend on these study trips.
Test your tech
Make sure your internet connection works, and works well. You don’t want to be interrupted with a frustratingly slow connection. This might involve negotiating internet access time with your housemates and family – streaming films and downloading videogames will probably have an impact on the speed.
It’s also worth noting that you should make sure you’re computer operating system is compatible with the online course before you start. If it’s not, you may need to borrow a laptop or tablet, or consider using a computer at your local library or internet café.
Make time for exercise
It may seem like another thing on your to do list, but it will get those endorphins going and give you the energy and focus to keep studying over the coming weeks.
Besides, if all your time is taken up by sitting in front of a computer at work, more of the same at home may become slightly over whelming.
A short 30-minute walk is enough to get the blood pumping and help you focus when you start studying again.
Study something work-related
What are your motivations for studying? Stay focused on your goals, and you’ll find that enthusiasm you need to continue with your course.
Aiming for a promotion? Consider how you can showcase your new knowledge and skills, improve your performance and the performance of the business and they’ll have no choice but to reward you for your efforts.
Looking for a new job? Implement some of your new skills in your current work environment so you can improve your experience and speak with confidence and experience at your interview.
Keen to improve in your current role? Keep applying what you are learning to your current job; take the learnings directly back into the office and put them into practice.
Talk to your peers and managers about what you are doing – they’ll probably be excited about what you’re learning and how you’re trying to improve current ideas, processes and practices with your newfound knowledge.
We hope that these tips will help you prepare for and master your self-studying technique.
Once you find something that works for you, the possibilities are endless. We’re sure you’ll be keen to take on even more courses and strengthen your data and marketing skills.
Did you find this blog useful?
At the IDM we are passionate about educating marketers and providing resources to help advance your career.
Our learning and development team will be happy to advise based on your needs and requirements.