HOW TO GET THE BEST FROM LEARNING ONLINE

More and more companies are using eLearning as a cost effective and easy way to train their employees. Whilst this brings great advantages to the employer, eLearning can sometimes feel a bit daunting for us learners.

Here are some ways to make the most of learning online:

MAKE A STUDY PLAN

Think about what skills you need to develop and make a note of these before you start learning. Consider why you want to learn them and once you’ve completed your training, how you hope to use them.

The great thing about making a plan is that you can be clear what it is you want to achieve and then you can be focused around your learning. This makes it more enjoyable as well as making good use of your time.

Knowing what you want to achieve means that you can set yourself achievement goals. This helps keep your motivation levels going and can also help you gain a sense of accomplishment once you’re busy using your new-found skills

MAKE SURE YOU LEARNING SOMEWHERE YOU CAN CONCENTRATE

The great thing about eLearning and mobile technology is that you can learn anytime, anyplace and anywhere. The bad thing about it is that you can learn anytime, anyplace and anywhere!

It’s really tempting to learn at your desk or in front of the telly but even the best multi-taskers will struggle to take in the learning.

Plan when and where you are going to study. Tell your colleagues/family that for the next 30 minutes you’re having some you time and going to be learning. Sit somewhere where you will be comfortable and away from distractions such as Facebook (yes we’ve all done it!)

DON'T GET CLICK HAPPY

I once had a client who proudly told me he’d spent all evening at work, staying late to learn about advanced spreadsheet skills. I said: fantastic, what did you learn? He said: I can’t remember. The lesson here is don’t go into a zombie state, clicking the forward button thinking you’re speeding through things.

Take your time and if you feel like your concentration is disappearing, then stop and do something else. Re-energise yourself by getting up and moving around or change from looking at the screen to making some notes about what you’ve just learned.

KEEP YOURSELF MOTIVATED

Unlike learning in a classroom where you can get trainer and peer feedback, online learning can be a lonely business.

If you’re learning online through work, why not see if there are others doing the same as you and arrange to meet up over a coffee and chat about what you’ve learned?

Do make use of any online discussion forums – don’t be shy to ask questions. Whatever you’re thinking or worrying about, you can guarantee others will be too.

Give yourself little rewards or treats when you reach certain goals. Most eLearning is broken down into sections and tests. Set yourself a study goal to complete a certain number of tasks and then reward yourself when you’ve done them (my treat is chocolate!)

TAKE TIME TO RECAP YOUR LEARNING

Making learning sticky is really important. By this I mean that using different learning techniques can help learning stay in your brain.

Clicking through eLearning and reading on screen means that the brain is only engaging in one way and can get a bit stuck in a rut.

Try the following to see if they help your learning stick:

  • produce a mind map summary of what you’ve just learned to note key concepts and how they connect to each other. Use lots of drawings and colours as this will help a different part of the brain kick in and help you remember
  • write your own tests for yourself. Pretend you’re an examiner – what questions would you ask you to see if you’d learned something? Thinking from another perspective again gets another part of your brain working
  • go teach someone about what you’ve learned. Explaining concepts to others really helps you see whether you’ve understood correctly. It’s nigh on impossible to teach someone if you don’t understand your subject matter. Why not offer to do a lunchtime training session for other colleagues or coach a colleague to try it out?
  • practise the thing you’ve just learned in reality and see what happens!

The ACT Learning Academy has been designed to help you on whatever learning journey you take. Whether you’re getting a quick skills fix through our First Steps in Treasury eLearning series or taking one of the ACT’s cash management or treasury qualifications, using these tips can help you achieve your learning goals.