5 ways to make the best of your online education
Author Kolapo knows a thing or two about learning online, he’s taking his MBA at Nexford. Here, he shares five tips to make the most of your online experience
There were a few things we weren’t expecting to see from 2020. One was a sales boost from the personal computer industry. Global computer sales spiked by 11% to 72.3 million units in the second quarter compared to the same quarter last year, estimated the IDC, a global market research company. When the global pandemic hit, it closed down workplaces and universities across the globe. Tranches of people suddenly needed devices to work remotely. Working from home was the new normal and online classes was, well, the only way to learn.
I’ve known for a while, before COVID-19, that enrolling in online education helps students succeed. I’ve found that taking an online MBA at Nexford affords learners total control over their learning environment, speed and flexibility to find their work-life-study balance.
Traditional classrooms are designed based on general needs that don’t always apply to individual learning pace, attention span, discipline, and educational experience. In this article, I’ll share the best five hacks to make the best of your online education.
1. Have the right technical tools
Similar to traditional classrooms where you might use a notebook or a pen, there are tools for every online classroom. A laptop or tablet in some cases, a headset, a webcam, microphones, and a stable internet connection.
You don’t need the most expensive gadgets but having a good internet connection and backup plans for power supply goes a long way to helping you succeed with an online program. Install and update your software and test everything before you start your program, navigate the online learning environment and ask questions during your orientation.
2. Set realistic goals
Goal setting is a discipline of life. It’s not a bad idea to set big goals to challenge yourself but setting realistic goals helps avoid disappointment and the feeling of failure. Set your learning objectives before going deeper into a course. Break down these objectives into realistic weekly or monthly goals – this will help you stay on track.
Go through the course outline for each week or month and set smaller, achievable goals such as connecting with faculty, networking with course mates, and completing milestone assignments. Don’t forget to prioritize your tasks based on their level of importance – for example, is it graded?
3. Be self-disciplined
Self-discipline is one of the core values that makes online learners stand out among their traditional classroom peers. If you don’t have self-discipline, you might find goals difficult to achieve. Being self-disciplined will help you plan your time and stick to your schedule – don’t forget, at Nexford, the faster you go, the less you pay for tuition, so this is quite a good motivator for some people.
Minimize distractions around you – turn off your phone notifications, set an alarm when it’s time to take a break – and make this a habit. If you learn to manage your time properly, you’ll stay on track with your online course work plan.
4. Communicate effectively
As businesses increasingly rely on cross-company collaboration, they are placing a heavier emphasis on interpersonal communications. Unfortunately, this is a job skill that many employees are lacking, according to LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner. Good communication is one of the skills you learn at Nexford.
Online education gives you the chance to ask as many questions as you want, as long as you take the opportunity to communicate. You can learn faster through forums, webinars, meetups and face-to-face interaction with faculty. This tailored feedback from course instructors is where you can find out about your performance and improve your assignments.
5. Stay organized
Being organized helps me stay on top of my course outlines, assignments schedules, and face to face sessions. With tools like Google Calendar, Todoist you can easily set reminders to take breaks. Keep separate folders for course resources, assignments and even forum discussions to make it easy for referencing.
Taking an online course is self-rewarding, flexible but also requires the constant motivation to enjoy the learning experience. I hope my tips help you to make the most of your online experience – there’s never been a better time to come online!
About the Author
Kolapo Imam is an MBA grad and Product Marketing Manager at Nexford. He enjoys developing creative hacks for quality research and product positioning.