The Siebel Institute of Technology has offered online education since 2003. That’s eight years longer than even leading online learning platforms like Coursera or newer sites like Skillshare. During that time, our educators acquired tips for successful learning that you can use for any online course — even ones outside of the Siebel Institute!
Treat online learning like an in-person class
To get the most out of online courses, treat it like you would an in-person class. Clear your working space of distractions and devote a regular block of time to the course.
Many programs allow students to work independently through the coursework. For these types of courses, it can be helpful to create your own schedule and assign deadlines. Pay attention to your own work habits. Some people work best in long, uninterrupted blocks of time. On the other hand, some students thrive in short bursts with frequent breaks. The freedom to match your learning style to the course is one of the best parts of online learning.
Test your technology
Technical difficulties can quickly interrupt an online learning schedule. Review the specifications before starting a course — that includes software and hardware. Here’s a quick list of technical details to check:
- Download any required software
- Test it on the computer, tablet, or phone you’ll be using
- Test your camera, headphones, and/or microphone settings through the required software
- Learn how to mute your microphone on the device (always keep it muted when not speaking during class)
Some courses require video conferencing, which demands a more robust internet connection. Try a quiet space like a public library if you do not have a sufficient connection at home.
Working at your computer can also be a distraction for some. Consider installing productivity apps like Serene (for macOS) or LeechBlock NG for free browser-based website blocking. These sites can help eliminate distractions for a period designated for online education.
Join the class dialogue
Interacting with your virtual classmates can help deepen your engagement. Keep in mind that not all classes offer this option.
Online learning offers great flexibility and opportunity for work-life balance. Whether through the Siebel Institute or not, we hope these tips help you in your next e-learning course or program.