11 Tips To Completing An Online Course In Record Time
There is usually some excitement and a sense of accomplishment that is associated with signing up for a new online course, free or paid. You have to admit that it feels good. It feels like you are taking charge of your destiny, and sure you are, but then something happens along the way and that course is now left in a folder somewhere in your computer, incomplete. What follows next are the noises in your head saying what a failure you are and worry that you will become nothing if you cannot see through a single course.
Following up to the end through any course almost requires divine intervention. Yes, it’s hard. The discipline demands amidst the chaos of the other aspects of our lives is near impossible. Besides the full schedules, life can also, unfortunately, happen to bring situations that do not at all favor our learning circumstances.
The presence of the Covid_19 aka Corona Virus pandemic is not helping the case either. Though the partial or full lock-downs in the many parts of the world have meant more time our hands, we are plagued with fear and anxiety of catching the virus, what will happen next, and how soon our lives will resume normality, or something close to what we once knew. The additional stress is only further reducing productivity and the psyche to learn.
However, this does not have to be the case. Though it is hard to complete a course especially now, it is still doable. This article shares eleven tips that you can employ to ensure that you not only complete that course but also do it in record time. Let’s dive right in!
1. Write Down Your Intention to Study Down, Preferably On A Physical Notebook
You may have already heard, ‘Write your dreams on the wall in capital letters’, or something similar. When you not only visualize your goal to finish that course but also put it down in ink, you trick your mind into committing to the task. Furthermore, a written goal can serve as a reference to actively check your progress and of course, not have to remember everything from your mind. Moreover, I have nothing against digital notebooks like EverNote that advanced technology has afforded us. Compared to the old-fashioned pen and paper, it is harder to be descriptive and the need to be perfect on modern screens. It can be restrictive to the flow freeing of thoughts which is often messy.
2. If Your Course Can Be Comfortably Taken From the Smart Phone, Then Do It From The Phone
I understand that learning from your computer, a larger screen, is rather preferable because it is serious-ish. But here is the thing. To learn from the computer, you almost always need a comfortable place, a bigger space while moving around and allocated time. It lacks the flexibility that a phone offers in that through your phone, you can learn from anywhere, even if for only twenty minutes during your breaks. Try the phone today and you will notice the difference in the rate at what amount of ground you cover in a given time.
Sadly, this tip won’t work for the programs that require frequent hands-on exercises such as programming or the use of software that cannot be installed on a phone.
3. Repeat after me, “One Course at a Time!”
If you have multiple courses demanding your attention, do not and I repeat, do not study them concurrently. Resist from giving in to the temptation to think you will finish faster this way. Trust me, you will only overload your brain unnecessarily and at some point, one pot will burn. Pick one course and storm through it to the finish line. After, when you feel that you have adequately processed all that you learned, you have the permission to move on to the next one!
4. Turn Off Those Notifications, They Are Not As Important As You Think
You are already familiar with, “I will only check Instagram for five minutes”, and before you know it, two hours have already passed before you finally close the app. Let’s not even get started with YouTube. It’s only one cat video and the next thing you know is that you have almost exhausted the entire platform. Chest pains!
For your sake and for the sake of you completing that stubborn course, turn off those popup notifications. If anything is urgent, they will call. Neither reply to that text even it will be quick. If it can wait, then, let it wait.
5. Don’t attempt to learn everything at once
I know you want to have finished the course like yesterday. So you want to learn for eight hours straight. No darling, it is not it is impossible, or bad for that matter, but if after two hours you start mixing facts up, take a break and do something else. Once refreshed, come back and pick up from where you left.
6. Takedown notes
Again, take down notes. Consistently and religiously. Preferably on a physical notebook with a pen. I cannot emphasize enough on the importance of taking short notes, small summations of what you have learned. When doing this, you do not just forget anyhow. Your retention capacity is improved significantly, and it is easier to refer back to your notes than replaying back an entire module in case you need to clarify some content. Remember, learning is a personal investment, make it worth the while. Perhaps the journey will be a bit longer, but in the end, you will thank yourself for it.
7. Ask for help
You may have heard of this say, a dozen times. But regardless of how many times it has been mentioned, it still holds. When you have been stuck on a problem for two hours, then it is time to click that big red “HELP” button. Do not undermine the power of the people, online or otherwise. Saying that you do not understand XYZ does not make you less of anything and besides, you have nothing to lose but everything to gain.
8. Attempt the given exercises
A few times I may have skipped those extra exercises because I thought I could always revisit them later. But of course, I never did. Other times, I thought they did not make enough sense. So I will not judge you if in the past you also caved into the excuse of skipping those exercises. But what I realized is that, while yes I was completing the courses, I was, unfortunately, leaving a lot of helpful information on the table. Be intentional with your learning. Therefore if the instructor or facilitator has provided a few exercises on the side, it’s for your benefit. Take advantage of them.
9. Be consistent
Consistency over intensity, let me explain. If you are on a quest to shed a few extra pounds of flesh, would you rather do ten thousand skips in one day or attempt a manageable thousand skips spread over ten days? Moreover, which do you think would be more effective in achieving your desired weight? Of course, the former option would simply not cut it. You could even keel over from the excess stress and exhaustion. And at the end of the day, you would not shed even a fraction of a pound.
This also applies to the study. The goal is to attain a new skill or to build onto an existing one. Do not learn everything intensely for two days. Instead, break the modules into reasonable chunks, then spread them over reasonable timelines. Moreover, do not study for three days only to abandon the project until three weeks later. Be good to yourself. Try as much to learn something every day even if it will mean only one submodule a day.
10. Some parts won’t make sense, do not beat yourself over it.
There will always be that concept which despite asking for help, repeating it over and over, and turning the internet upside down, you will still not understand. Do not fret, just write down what it is that you do not understand and move on. The dots will somehow connect, even if later.
11. Reward yourself for the small milestones
Finally, allow yourself to be happy with every small progress that you make. Do not wait until you have completed the 40+ hours to celebrate your growth. You are your biggest fan. So pat yourself on the back when you finish that daunting exercise before moving on to the next!
Congratulations! You have made it this far!
Which of the tips above has worked for or against you? Are there others that I have not mentioned? Please let me know in the comments below.