In the world of online certification courses, a lot of platforms/gurus have emerged that claim to teach you a particular skill. If you’re active on social media, you must have come across a dozen of ‘Free’ Webinars in the last month. But it isn’t free if it’s taking up your time and not delivering what you expected it to.
If you’ve reached this blog, chances are that you already signed up for an online course or are going to sign up for an online course. Congratulations, You are on the right page. There are certain ways in which you can extract the maximum value out of an online course. Let me share with you a successful online learning strategy.
#1- Know your ‘why’
This has to be the first step you do whatever you decide to do. Knowing your ‘why’ is the best method to follow when you’re motivating yourself. Your ‘why’ is something that you must define yourself. When I say know your ‘why’, I mean know why you’re doing what you’re doing. In this case, it is taking up the online course.
Define ‘why’ you are taking that course before you sign up for that course. This should keep you motivated and get you to finish the course. For example, When I started taking French lessons, I did it because I want to be able to speak French when I go for a vacation to France. This simply became my motivation to learn French.
Talking from my personal experience, my productivity increased when I defined my ‘why’ as the first step of the process. I became consistent and efficient in what I do. For an online course, it could be because you want to be able to execute a particular task in your office that needs knowledge about a particular thing or is a pre-requisite to get a particular job you’re eyeing to apply for.
However, don’t do it simply for a certification. This certificate will add no value to your skillset if you haven’t learned how to apply the knowledge. You are not creating any value if you do the course with the certificate as the ultimate motive.
If you need here to define your ‘why’, here’s a link to an article that will assist you to do so.
#2- Select the right course
Here, once you’ve answered your ‘why’ it is time to address the ‘what’. Make a list of what do you want to learn about a topic. The best way to do this is to break it down in chunks.
Breaking it down in chunks.
If you decide you want to take up a course on Photography, what is it that you want to learn? Is it iPhone Photography? Is it Fashion Photography? Is it wildlife photography? This isn’t enough either. This step will help you to be specific about the topic.
But the way to go is to dive deeper into the topic. Do this by looking at what the various courses have on offer. A good course will list down the elements of the course. An example of topics covered under a Beginners’ Photography Course would be:
- Portfolio Creation
- Lighting and Design
- Digital and Analog Cameras
In this course, it is clear which topics is the course going to touch upon. Likewise, get your hands on different courses’ material on offer. Once you have a list of these topics of different courses with you, compare them. See which one is offering what you want to learn. This will help you shortlist to some of the courses that are covering what you want to learn.
Once you have shortlisted some courses as per the topics they will be covering, read about their reviews on the same platform, Quora(if it is from a well-known author, it may appear here), Google Reviews, etc. Once you go through what people have to say about the course, you will know what course is right for you. So sign up and get started.
Now, doing an online certification course does not make you the best in the field. If you want to ace the skill, there is much more that you need to do.
The other factors to look at before deciding on a course, the professor’s qualifications, how is the course structured, is it something you can take up at your own pace, or is it a live webinar that needs you set aside ’n’ number of hours during the day. Make sure that these factors are in your favour and you’re good to go.
#3- Practice in your ‘Sandbox’
I wanted to acquire skills of using Google Analytics which pushed me to complete a Best Seller Google Analytics course from a renowned source. I made my notes vigorously writing each and every important point down in my notebook. But the end result? I know what Google Analytics does. But never understood how to actually apply it until I integrated Analytics on this website.
I am still learning. I am not an analytics expert. But because I have this project in hand and have something to practice what I learned, I am going at a much better pace and learning more efficiently than ever.
My point? Get yourself a sandbox. A project that lets you practice what you learn. It can be a live project or dummy data. For example, If you’re learning Microsoft Excel, Have a data in hand that you can practice the lessons on.
If you don’t, you’re probably gonna end up with a book filled with notes but no knowledge when it comes to actually apply what you learned. If you want to read up more about The Sandbox Method, I suggest you read up on it here.
I’m sure that following the steps above will help you get a lot more out of the courses than you did before. If you’re a student and this blog helped you learn better, I recommend you sign up for my newsletter.
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