How can I be an effective learner online?
As an adult learner, you juggle a variety of professional and personal roles. You will find yourself managing a number of life obstacles along the way. Successful learners recognize that engaging in a proactive approach toward overcoming these obstacles is a healthy choice, which ultimately promotes overall personal success.
The following information provides suggestions and tips to assist you in becoming a more successful online learner.
Participate and contribute
Contribute your ideas, perspective and comments on what you are studying. Remember, an essential part of your learning experience consists of the insights you gain from your peers and what they can learn from you. This is your learning experience.
Log on to your course daily
If you do not log on daily, then do so at least 5-6 days a week. If you let too many days pass without logging on to your course discussion group, you will find it difficult to catch up. Once you are into the rhythm of the course, you will be eager to see who has commented on your postings and to read the feedback of your instructor and peers.
Speak up if you are experiencing problems
If you are experiencing technical difficulties or problems understanding something about the course you MUST speak up - otherwise there is no way anyone will know something is wrong. If there is something you do not understand, ask questions. Other learners probably have the same questions.
Be polite and respectful
Remember that the Internet is a public place. Speak and behave as you would in a classroom. Just because you are anonymous doesn't mean you should let yourself go. Being polite and respectful is not only common sense, it is absolutely obligatory for a productive and supportive online environment. In a positive online environment, you will feel valued by your instructor and by the other learners.
Take your program and yourself seriously
Obtain the support of your colleagues, family and friends before you start your online learning experience. It helps to surround yourself with people who understand and respect what you are trying to do.
Familiarize yourself with your course design and syllabus
You might want to print the syllabus for quick and easy reference. Also print, write or set a reminder for the course's major calendar dates. Download all course materials to your own computer. If connection problems occur, documents can be accessed from your own computer.
Apply what you learn
You will remember what you learn more readily when you apply everything you learn as you learn it. Contributing advice or ideas about the real world, as it applies to the subject matter you are studying, helps you to internalize what you are learning and gives valuable insight to your classmates, who will benefit from your experience.