One major benefit of online training courses is the flexibility they allow you, the student. You can learn at home, at the library, or on the road. And with about 300 Municipal Wi-Fi projects in the making around the world, which will provide wireless access to entire cities, the possibilities are endless.
The flip side of elearning’s flexibility is the healthy dose of self-discipline it requires. In order to juggle all the activities in your busy schedule and create a stress-free elearning experience, some planning and strategizing are called for. Here are five tricks you can use.
First, develop a schedule. Set aside an hour or two every day to dedicate exclusively to your coursework. The key is to do it at the same time each day. In this way you train your brain to kick into “advanced chemistry mode” or “adaptive leadership mode” or whatever the subject might be, at the same time each day.
But schedules should be created with the premise that they’re flexible. If studying your online training course at 10 pm hasn’t been working out after all–you get sleepy and zone out–then change the schedule. A schedule is meant to save you time, and you have the power of revision.
Second, practice distributed learning. Study habits are like exercising and eating habits. A healthy approach to exercise is to find ways to move your body constantly, rather than remaining stationary all day but at 9 pm squeezing in a trip to the gym. In the same vein, smaller, more frequent meals keep your metabolism stimulated and running smoothly.
Take a distributed learning approach, which means breaking learning up into small, more frequent elearning sessions. Just like the body’s metabolic response to food, the brain is stimulated by smaller installations of information. Your brain likes to recover and recharge between learning. In the periods between learning sessions, the brain rests and digests learning material.
Even if you receive a large online presonal development course activity to complete, try to break it up and focus on one piece at a time. This will help you avoid missing important information or forgetting to complete an assignment. Don’t rush through the work; take your time. Learning should be satisfying, like a good meal.
Third, create your ideal circumstances. Find a quiet place to study, and a quiet place in your brain. Concentrate. Maybe you have a dentist appointment to cancel, a strange noise coming from your car engine that needs looking at, Swine Flu alerts sounding from the TV in the next room. Tune it all out. You need to be able to cut out all the distracting sounds–real and nagging mental ones.
Everyone is different, and there’s no standard setting for successful learning. While studying an online training course, you might prefer a certain space. Some people need quiet and privacy. Some like to talk out loud to themselves (I know I do). Others prefer the gentle buzz of a library or cafe to study. Some people like to take short breaks, while others don’t require them. Everything from clothing, to lighting and background music, to having snacks or coffee are important considerations in creating YOUR perfect setting for elearning.
Fourth, be sensitive to your emotional status. As George-Louis Buffon said, “Genius is nothing but a great aptitude for patience.” In your pursuit of elearning course mastery, be patient with yourself. When you’re tired, distracted, or stressed out, your brain repels information rather than absorbs it. In the same way, when you get angry with yourself for forgetting information, or feel frustrated or self-critical, you waste incredible amounts of brain energy that could be spent digesting learning material.
Fifth, tackle the most challenging task first. Say you’ve got a list of household chores to do: rake leaves, scrub the kids’ bathroom, dust, call the chimney cleaner. In what order would you typically check them off? To make the rest of the morning’s chores more relaxed, a good strategy is to do the most tedious, difficult or generally undesirable task first. After scrubbing every porcelain nook and cranny in the bathroom, calling the chimney cleaner won’t even feel like a chore.
When checking off a list of online courseware assignments, go with the most challenging first. Maybe it’s an activity you just haven’t gotten the hang of yet, or don’t fully understand. Procrastination in your weak areas can even affect other strong ones, making you less sure about other assignments. On the other hand, completing the most daunting online training course assignments first will give you confidence to breeze through the rest.
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