In recent years, educational programmes such as SkillsFuture and SG United Traineeship have gained popularity as they encourage lifelong learning among Singaporeans of all ages. As the Covid-19 pandemic accelerated digital transformation around the world, it has become extremely important for us to upgrade our skills and enrich ourselves to remain relevant in the workforce. Along with ongoing current affairs in Singapore, this has given rise to the growth of online courses.
Though online learning is prevalent, there are many instances of students not completing the online course they signed up for. This can stem from a variety of reasons, from lack of time to unexpected course structures. As such, here are three ways in which you can improve your online course experience!
1. Practice Time Management
When it comes to online courses, the misconception exists that they are more relaxed compared to courses that require physical attendance. Due to this unrealistic expectation, some people sign up for their desired courses without looking into the course modules or lesson plans. Consequently, this can easily lead to students feeling overwhelmed as the reality of online learning differs from their expectations.
Pro tip 1: Ensure preparedness and align expectations
To minimise stress and learn effectively, ensure that you are well prepared and understand what the course expectations are before signing up.
Pro tip 2: Schedule well
Looking through the course syllabus beforehand and planning your schedule around it helps too! In this way, you will always have time allocated for attending your online course.
Pro tip 3: Prioritise
While some online courses require only your attendance, others include homework that needs to be completed. For such cases, prioritise your assignments before starting and create time blocks of how long you would take to complete an assignment. Take note of any major assignments as these are more time consuming, making a note to constantly remind yourself of them will help you meet deadlines easily. Equipping yourself with these time management practices can help keep you on track throughout your online course programme!
2. Know your Learning Style and Leverage it
One of the social issues surrounding education is that different people have different learning styles. Some people work better in the day, while some excel at night. Some are audio learners while others are visual. The flexibility that online courses offer makes it possible for you to learn according to what works best for you. For example, early risers should attend their course in the daytime where it is optimal for them to learn effectively. On the other hand, it would be best for night owls to kickstart the learning process after the sun has set. Audio learners can record their lessons for easy reference of information during a class, while visual learners would do well to take notes that include diagrams and pictures to aid in their learning.
Before online learning, there was only physical learning. Its stringent timetables and restrictions made it challenging for individuals to learn in a way that best suits them. This hinders them from maximising their capabilities and unlocking their full potential. Online learning successfully combats that. It is highly recommended to double check if the online course of interest offers flexible timing before signing up!
3. Instilling Discipline
Though online learning provides flexibility, which caters to the different styles of learning, it can also bring with it certain disadvantages such as more distractions. With greater flexibility, students can learn anywhere, anytime and this lack of regimen can be a challenging issue for those who struggle with discipline. One way to master discipline effectively is to maintain a daily routine or create your own timetable around your online course. Having a routine trains the mind to associate certain timings with work even if you lack the motivation to do so.
Secondly, ensure you are in a quiet and conducive work environment. Noise plays a big part in distraction. It interrupts your focus and inhibits you from performing your best. If necessary, try closing the doors and switching your phone to silent mode. Thirdly, put away any form of distractions including your phone. As humans, we crave enjoyment and even the sight of anything that brings us entertainment can distract us from learning. Last but not least, take notes as it helps you keep attentive and absorb information. Often, we tend to ‘zone out’ when we do nothing more than listen.
As our society embraces digitalisation and we look towards learning how to live with COVID-19, learning through online courses may become the new norm. Happydot.sg’s online survey in Singapore revealed that 52% of participants think Home-Based Learning will continue even after the pandemic. Moreover, since Singapore strongly encourages us to constantly update our skills, it is highly likely that we will see more online courses being available in the future. We hope that the tips that were shared today can help enhance your online course experience and create the best learning environment for you!
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