How do I get the most out of online learning?

How do I get the most out of online learning?

11 Nov 2021

CPD News Team

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With the rapid evolution of technology and electronics, we are spending more time than ever before online. This shift in lifestyle has not only impacted the way we complete day to day tasks but has filtered through to every level of business, from small business to corporate. This change has had a large effect on the way training is being taken by most professionals, and has raised the question ‘How do I get the most out of online learning?’

This CPD article aims to offer practical advice on how to get the most out of your online learning experience, some of our top tips for online learning as well as how to retain that information and make the most of whatever course you choose to undertake.

Why is online learning increasingly important?

As technology advances and user experience improves, so does the popularity and frequency of use of online learning. It’s been proven to be a successful method of learning and offers a number of different benefits alongside traditional in person forms of education. 

Connects professionals from all over the world

One of the main advantages of online learning is it can connect professionals from all around the world and enables them to share their knowledge without having to meet in person. Traditional education is hindered as location dictates which classes you can take part in. Online learning enables you to sign up for classes all over the world, which can provide a more in-depth understanding of the global industry and help you to build your network whilst developing an international mind-set.

You can take control of your learning hours

Flexible learning hours are, in our opinion one of the main benefits of online learning. Varying circumstances can mean you can’t always attend the most suitable training course/event for your requirements. Online learning offers most professionals the opportunity to learn whenever best suits them, and having the ability to learn with more flexible hours gives you a lot more control over how you complete your professional development for the year. Giving professionals the flexibility to learn when you feel motivated should help increase your ability to retain information and therefore enable you to get the most out of online learning.

Considers individual learning patterns

Every individual learns differently and when you are taking an in person course, you must adapt to the pace of the class or be left behind. One major advantage of online learning is that it allows you more freedom to work at your own pace which should inevitably improve your learning experience. Learning at your own pace should improve your grades and provide a more enjoyable overall learning experience.

Some research shows that on average, individuals retain 25-60% more material when learning online compared to only 8-10% in a classroom environment. This is mostly due to professionals being able to learn at their own pace and having less distractions than a traditional in person learning environment.

Simple tips for online learning

Simple tips for online learning

One of the main factors that influences how much you are getting out of your online learning is how well you are able to take notes on the information being presented to you. Understandably it is very easy to lose focus after you have spent a couple of hours staring at a screen, so it is incredibly important to plan your note taking process to help maximise the amount of information you retain. 

We have compiled a few of our best note taking tips for online learning:

  1. Structure your notes so it is compiled into sections – You should organise the information into small modules and use it to test your knowledge, rather than just passively writing and rereading notes as this is likely to boost your memory and make it much easier for you to return to the relevant sections of your notes.
  2. Ask yourself a “pre-question” - Work out what you want to get out of a lecture before it takes place. Researchers believe that this technique is particularly effective for online learning. As it is not easy to skip through video content to find answers to those pre-questions, viewers will be much more likely to end up paying more attention.
  3. Work on your concentration - When you are looking at a screen all day it can be tiring and hard to keep focused. Working out how best to boost your concentration might help you out, and there are currently an abundance of methods that research suggests are incredibly effective. Amongst those are simple methods such as making sure you are well rested and making sure you take regular breaks. You should try to identify what helps you to concentrate and make sure you are practising it before you sit down for your online training.
  4. Get socialising – Some studies suggest that discussing course material with others in online forums may improve outcomes. The individuals who were most active in the learning forums were more likely to achieve a higher final grade.

Additional tips on how to practically apply knowledge to future situations

  1. Focus on the relevance of what you’re learning - If you want your learning to be engaging, then being able to remember it in other contexts is important when establishing relevance early on. Research shows that being able to connect what you’re learning to what you already know, helps to build neural connections and long-term memory storage so you can apply it in future situations much easier.
  2. Take time to reflect and self-explain – It can help you to identify any incorrect assumptions, lead to a deeper understanding of the material, and ultimately promote knowledge transfer.
  3. Identify any gaps in your knowledge – If you don’t have a complete understanding of a certain concept or some of the information you’re learning, transferring it to new contexts will be much more difficult.
  4. Practise generalising – By rewriting something that you have just learned in a more generic form, it makes it easier for you to remember it. When you encounter a future situation, you should be able to apply this knowledge much easier.
  5. Find daily opportunities to apply what you’ve learned - Applying what you’ve learned to real-world problems takes a lot of practice, so it’s important to look for opportunities to apply what you’re learning in your everyday life. If you just attended a customer service training course for example, try to employ one of the new strategies you learned about when interacting with customers on your first day back at work. 
Find CPD certified online courses

Look for CPD certified courses

One effective way to get the most out of online learning is to make sure the courses have been CPD certified. If you want more of an assurance that the training courses are going to be delivered at a high standard, then look for ones that have been CPD accredited by a recognised independent organisation. This will help to ensure that the course is not riddled with promotional sales materials and you can focus on retaining the maximum amount of information possible.

If you look at an CPD accreditation organisation such as The CPD Certification Service, our unique 25 years' experience and history working with training providers and academic institutions gives an assurance that the courses will be tailored towards making sure each delegate can get the most out of online learning.

Search our Course Catalogue for thousands of CPD training courses, events, e-learning programs, conferences, workshops and seminars, which have all been formally certified, adding significant value for audiences and providers alike.

CPD News Team

For more information from CPD News Team, please visit their CPD Member Directory page. Alternatively please visit the CPD Industry Hubs for more CPD articles, courses and events relevant to your Continuing Professional Development requirements.

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