How to get the most out of online courses

Lifelong learning is something you should take seriously. Whether you want to advance in your career, start a business, or be knowledgeable in general, you should consider adopting this practice.

Exponential technological advances have accelerated the pace with which the world changes in more than one ways. At the institutional levels, there are shifts which disrupt business models. And the changes in the day-to-day lives of people are even more prominent, though they can go unnoticed. One thing is certain, almost everything today is happening at an accelerated pace.

On one hand, this provides you with boundless options to pursue your goals — it empowers you. While on the other hand, this constant change can make it difficult to keep up with the world and you can start to feel overwhelmed — it’s stressful.

This is where the concept of lifelong learning fits in the picture. The world is being shaped around you, you have to be aware of all the shifts that occur if you wish to match the pace. Continuously upgrading your skills and expertise is now a necessity for any career, having relevant knowledge in your field is paramount.

This, however, should not stress you out even the slightest. Today, it is easier than ever to hone your existing skills and to acquire new ones. The opportunities for self-education online are many, and the information that is readily available to you for free is limitless. You can find a how-to video on almost anything with a simple search, and you can take a certified course in all fields.

What you should be concerned with is efficiency; in a rapidly changing world, you will have to adapt your practices for optimal results. When you opt for an online education program, your aim should be to get a thorough comprehension of the subject in a short time span. You can achieve this by being proactive about your studies.

Being a proactive learner means to implement what you study as much as you can. When you take an online course, regardless of the subject, try to attach relevant activities to it so that you can improve your learning experience and, ultimately, get better results. Create a reading list on the subject, listen to podcasts, tailor your news feed, etc. Most importantly, use the information you get from all channels on actual projects, learning through experience is invaluable.

There are some online courses which offer an integrated learning approach which makes it easier for you to be a proactive learner. Udacity’s Digital Marketing Nanodegree is a good example of an integrated learning approach. This online course provides the participants with the opportunity to run actual marketing campaigns. They work on real-world projects where they practice what they’ve learned.

Proactively taking an online course gives you an edge because you have empirical evidence that you learned something, that you have gained knowledge you can put into practical use.