Congratulations! You’ve decided to use this time of employment uncertainty to ramp up your marketable skills through on-line courses.  You know that the competition will be fierce once employers re-open their hiring pipelines.  By taking the initiative to upskill now, you’ll shine above others who took a “wait and see” approach. 

Due to social distancing, we’re witnessing an unprecedented growth of online course offerings. But, the fact is the on-line education market was already booming even before COVID-19 and will continue to grow post-pandemic. Clearly, there’s no better time to acquire or enhance your on-line learning know-how. 

Whether you’re updating professional certifications, learning how to code, or aspiring to be an Excel wizard, you’ll want to follow these 6 study tips to maximize your online learning efforts.

1. Online Doesn’t Mean Laid Back

Approach your online course as if you’re sitting in the classroom under the professor’s glare. Yes, online learning offers flexibility and other advantages. However, without taking a serious, structured approach to your course, you’ll fail miserably and waste valuable time.

2. Time is Money

Ok, some courses are free, but any course is an investment in your future. Time management is key to completing your course. Avoid digital distractions (close unneeded browsers, email accounts, and videogames). Mute your physical surroundings (turn off the TV, silence the phone, and shut the door).  Stay focused by creating and tracking deadlines. Creating a tracking sheet can help. 

3. It’s a Marathon Not a Sprint

You may be tempted to ratchet up and complete the course as quickly as possible. If you do, then chances are you’ll lose momentum and retain less. Instead, establish your own pace. Assess your learning style and adjust your schedule to match. Create a study calendar and stick to it. Break learning sessions into segments. For instance, instead of studying an hour straight, break it into three 20-minute segments. Monitor your progress and adjust the schedule if needed. 

4. Celebrate Small Wins

Completing a chapter. Acing a quiz. Presenting your project. Reward yourself with a nature walk or a nap, an extra hour binge-watching your favorite show, or indulging in a decadent dessert. Celebrating the small wins keeps you motivated towards the big prize – completing the course and earning bragging rights. Need more motivational advice?  Check out one of these TEDtalks

5. Don’t Go It Alone

Ask for help when you need it. If your course offers study groups, join one. If you’re struggling with a part of the course, reach out to the instructor or a knowledgeable friend who can guide you. You might even find a YouTube video that will enlighten you. No one expects you to know it all, that’s why you’re taking the course!

6. Make the Mind/Body Connection

Healthy habits fuel your brain. Be sure to get the rest, exercise, sleep, and nutrition your need to maintain your concentration and drive. This is especially important given the added stresses caused by the current pandemic. 

Your investment in online courses will improve your job search and your career.  And given the abundance of free online courses, there’s no better time to hit the books.

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