How to Prepare for an Online Learning Experience

Christine Johnson, Cued Forward on

Whether you are brand new to using online learning, a seasoned online learning attendance pro, or a leader in charge of coordinating employees for an online program, there are several must do steps to take to maximize your online learning experience.

“Houston we have a problem”

Online learning is only impactful when the technology works.  Prior to any online learning session, check out your system.  Often times, online learning providers will let you know the software requirements needed when you register.  Failure to pre-check could result in you missing some or all of your learning experience.

Additionally, check your sound. Whether you are listening with or without headphones, make sure your sound works and you know how to adjust it.  This is an easy step that is often overlooked. Check out the chat box of a webinar and you will see sound issue questions from participants.

Set the mood

Whether you are completing online training on a laptop or mobile device, create an environment that is conducive to learning.  Close your email and turn off your phone.  (Yes, I said that.) Have a notepad or note-taking device ready to use.  Clear the area of clutter.  If the area is loud or distracting, use headphones.

Shift your mindset

Changing your mindset from “I have to” to “I get to” or “I want to” before starting an online learning experience will improve your attitude towards the training and also help with your retention.  While this simple shift sounds challenging, Michael Hyatt, author of Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want, suggests there are three way to make this mind shift.

First, become aware of your vocabulary and catch your limiting “have to’s”.  Second, consciously start replacing “have to” with “get to”.   I have started doing this on a semi-regular basis and do feel more in control of my daily life and learning opportunities.  Finally, as I have started to realize, notice the difference in your attitude.  Since online learning is different than in person, this shift will help you realize the power you have in your own learning self-direction.

Prepare to be a participant

In many online learning experiences, there are limited opportunities to participate.  However, even with the limited interaction, you can still participate in questionnaires during the presentation and introduce yourself and answer questions through the chat box.  You may also have the opportunity to following the conversation on Twitter.  Lastly, as with any in-person training, your feedback is important to the facilitator.  Take the time to complete the survey.

Tell it like it is

Start discussing or implementing what you learned as soon as you can.  If you are coordinating the training, follow-up, follow-up.   Learners typically only remember 30% of what they learned 24 hours after the program.   With online learning, the amount remembered is reduced further.   Simply talking about what you learned with a co-worker, a manager, or the facilitator increases the chance that the information will become encoded in your brain.

To sum it up, online learning requires the participant to be self-engaged and program coordinators and facilitators to find ways to motivate the learner to want to stay engaged.  What has been your experience with online learning?

Image Credit: Pixabay

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