I have to say that I agree with Henry Ford completely because there is nothing as exciting as discovering or learning new things. Today, with the increasing popularity of online learning, it has become even easier to acquire new knowledge as it is no longer limited to being present in a traditional classroom.
What exactly is online learning or e-learning? It refers to any course or workshop that is conducted via the internet and where students like yourself use electronic technologies to access the curriculum. Most schools in Singapore have an e-learning day where students do not need to attend classes. Instead, they complete tasks set to them and submit them electronically. In fact, LBM is going to be releasing our first online writing course on the “write” recipe to plan soon and we thought it is timely to share more about what online learning is with all of you.
Most of the time, e-learning requires the student to be independent and self-motivated. This is because he or she can access the materials in his or her own time and is allowed to review them according to his or her own pace. A downside of this is that the student might procrastinate or is unable to complete the assignments on time due to lack of self-discipline.
So let’s say that you have signed up for an online course or workshop. What can you do to be an effective online learner? Below are 3 tips which I hope you will find useful in helping you maximise your e-learning experience:
Before the e-lesson commences, try to do the following to ensure that your learning is smooth and enjoyable:
- Read the lesson objectives. It is good to know what the teacher or tutor will be covering prior to the lesson so that you have an easier time following the lesson.
- Download (and print, if necessary) all the notes or worksheets needed for the lesson. Just like how you need the required materials when you attend a lesson in school, the same goes for online learning.
- Have a pen and notepad nearby. This is so that you can jot down some salient points (in the case where the teacher or tutor does not provide notes) or questions you may have so that you will not forget them (in the case where you cannot interrupt the flow of the online lesson and can only ask questions at the end).
- Check your internet connection. Ensure that you are properly connected. The last thing you need is for the lesson to be interrupted due to poor connection.
- Find a quiet spot conducive for learning. This could be at home or a nearby library (you might need earphones so as not to disturb the other members).
- Put away or switch off your mobile phone or any other devices you think that might distract you from giving your full attention to the lesson.
- Have a learning schedule. This is especially useful for those who have little or lack self-discipline. Set aside a specific time every day or every week to complete the online learning. Write it down in your planner or notebook and stick to the schedule you have set.
To benefit from the e-learning experience, these are some things you can do in the duration of the course:
- Pay close attention. Just like how you would listen closely to the teacher in class, the same goes for online lessons. If you find your attention waning or your hand itching to click on a social media website like Facebook or Tumblr, it could be a sign that you need to take a break. Pause the slides or video and give yourself a few minutes to stretch or have a glass of water. Avoid visiting social media websites because you might get carried away and not want to continue with the lesson.
- Ask questions. The teacher or tutor may have a Question and Answer segment at the end of their lecture or presentation. Use this opportunity to clarify your doubts. If there is no such opportunity, take note of an email address you can write to to direct all your questions.
- Be active on discussion forums and chat groups. Some online courses or workshops require you to post questions or even answer other students’ questions on discussion forums and chat groups. Make a habit of checking these forums and chat groups and try to post on them regularly. Learn from others and allow others to learn from you.
- Complete all the assignments that come with the lesson and submit them punctually.
- Always be polite and respectful in your interactions. Ensure that you use proper grammar (write in complete sentences) and avoid Singlish or SMS lingo.
- Put into practice what you have learnt from the online course or workshop. Even if your course or workshop spans over a few modules, there is no need to wait until the last module to apply what you have learnt. Putting into practice what you have learnt allows you to internalise the knowledge. Also, in trying out the ideas or tips you have learnt, you will realise that there may be concepts which you still do not understand fully. You can then prepare questions before the next module or post them on the discussion forums.
By now, you would have realised that online learning is not so different from learning in a traditional classroom, although e-learning requires more self-motivation and discipline on your part. I hope the tips I have listed in this post will come in handy should you decide to consider e-learning.
Are you keen to try learning online too? Find out more about our first writing course, “The Write Recipe: How to set your story up for success” over here!
A crash course on how to set your story up for success!
Share your thoughts in the Comments section below. Till next we meet, take care!
About the Author: Nora is an English Teacher at Lil' but Mighty. She is committed to providing students with a dynamic and nurturing environment in which they can grow and develop. One of her greatest strengths as an educator is instilling a love for the English Language in her students.