maximise 400x265How Do You Maximise Your MOOC Experience?

We introduced the concept of a MOOC here, so if you’re unfamiliar with the concept we’d recommend jumping back a page.  In this article we’re exploring how an individual learner can maximise the benefits of using an online course, whether that’s as an employee, or as an indivdual looking to learn a new skill.

Online learning is a relatively new and alternative way of studying a range of new skills.  It’s  progressed massively in the last few years, and has become an equally valid form of learning in the workplace.

However, with change come a few challenges.

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Common sense and an awareness of the pitfalls of self learning can hugely improve the experience for everyone involved.

One of the main hooks into online learning is the freedom to study in your own time, but this can also be its biggest drawback.  Managing your own development requires self-motivation, discipline and self-control.  Which is a lot easier said than done for many people!  And we’re not about to have an online course about taking online courses!

If you always put it off and think ‘it can be done tomorrow’, maybe online learning is not the best option for you.  For many MOOCs you are required to manage your own time, often set your own deadlines and will be required to find the energy and motivation to work when perhaps you really don’t want to.

One main way to stay on track is to try and follow the schedule of courses as much as possible.  Whilst you won’t always be able to achieve this, if you can either work ahead for when you know in advance you will be unavailable, or catch up when needed, you shouldn’t go far wrong.

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Another consideration is that of general life; most people complete online courses around the craziness of day to day life, whether it is work, home or family.  All these competing demands will put pressure on your time and ability to cope, and unfortunately, online learning can easily be put to the bottom of the list.  Particularly if the outcome from the course is linked to some greater sense of reward or advancement.

Finding a way to manage the demands of daily life and working will ensure a much smoother and more enjoyable experience.  And we’d also suggest linking the completion of the course to some greater purpose.

Finally, a MOOC offers us something quite unique in the world of online learning, it’s social interactivity.  You have a whole world of learners from all walks of life out there who are interested in the same topic as you, so use them.  Whatever time of day or night you are studying, whichever module you are on, chances are there is someone else on the course somewhere in the world doing the same thing as you.

By staying in regular contact with the other learners through message boards and course chatrooms/messaging features, you get the social side of studying without leaving your home.  Sometimes all we need is a nudge in the right direction by someone who understands what we are trying to do.