How to Get the Most out of Online Learning

Author Sophie Elizabeth Smith
Topic Careers

Whether you want to progress personally or professionally, the answer to your success is simple. Online learning is a strategic, attainable way to keep pace with your industry, and best position yourself as an asset to any organization. Unsurprisingly, 91% of Learning & Development leaders think that learning technologies should enable a quicker response to changing business conditions and organizational change. Meanwhile, 42% of leading learning companies say online learning has led to an increase in revenue. At a time when digital tools and channels are dominating our lives, the way we work and communicate, it makes sense that they should positively influence the way we learn too.

If you’re considering taking an online course but would like to know more, we’ve outlined the high-level benefits of online learning and demonstrated how you can get the most out of your learning experience below.

The benefits of online learning

As online learning models begin to seriously outstrip traditional classroom-based courses in popularity, there are countless advantages to enrolling on an online course:

  • As online courses are hosted on Learning Management Systems (the educational equivalent to a Content Management System), learning materials can be easily updated, which ensures that you’re studying the most up-to-date content.
  • Online courses can be offered by academic institutions, but you also have access to certifications that are designed by industry experts, which allow you the choice to benefit from first-hand professional experience and knowledge, depending on your learning requirements.
  • Online courses often benefit from clever, compelling design, enhanced user experience and a variety of different media types, from image to video. This allows for a more immersive, effective learning experience that compels learners much better than traditional methods.
  • Online courses facilitate a collaborative learning culture, as your fellow students can often be geographically scattered and communication is facilitated by group emails, LinkedIn groups and other forums. This can help to prepare learners for remote working and collaboration in a professional capacity.

How to leverage your online learning for success

1. Practice as much as possible

An effective online course is one that strikes the all-important balance between theoretical knowledge and practical application. If you want to enhance your effectiveness and get the most out of your online learning, you need to be able to practically implement your training. Reading slides and listening to lecturers will help you significantly, but to maximize their impact, you should try to practice what you’ve studied as much as possible. 

According to the University of Illinois, only 10% of students learn best auditorily, and 50% of learners falls into the kinaesthetic category. Kinaesthetic learners are those who learn best by doing. For example, if you’re taking a digital marketing course, you can sharpen your skillset by starting your own website or a blog. This will provide you with a platform through which you can identify your strong and weak skills and increase your capabilities accordingly. Digital is a data-driven discipline which means you can use a platform such as Google Analytics or a heat mapping tool like Hotjar to identify the areas of your website with which visitors are engaging most, and the elements which aren’t particularly working. Over time, you’ll be able to use this information to your advantage, by using experience and insight to improve your performance.

2. Take it at your own pace

According to Deloitte, despite a strong shift towards employee-centric learning, many learning and development organizations are still struggling with internally focused and outdated platforms, and static learning approaches. As a result, nearly every CEO reports that their companies are not developing skills fast enough, or at a sufficiently deep level.

Instead of being confined to the rigidity of classroom-based learning and schedules, which can place excessive pressure on learners and often result in a failure to complete courses, many online options encourage self-paced learning.

Whether you’re engaging in company-subsidised training or are self-funding, digital platforms and mobile devices are making a substantial impact, which means that online learning is a flexible and accessible option. This means that you can advance through your course modules at times that are most convenient to you, whether it’s on the commute to work, during lunch, or at weekends. With online learning, you can create and work to a schedule that is tailored to your individual needs and capabilities, which will increase the likelihood of successfully completing the course. 

3. Take advantage of cost-effectiveness

Online learning is, comparatively, a much cheaper option than classroom-based courses, often due to a lack of overheads that include venue hire and printed learning materials. Courses can cover anything from personal development and soft skills, to business and enterprise skills. It’s important to note, however, that many online courses aren’t accompanied by a globally recognized certification.

If you choose to purchase a course that will earn you an industry-accepted certification, many are available through flexible payment plans. This means you can enrol on your course with a small deposit and then pay the rest of your fees through a pre-agreed monthly sum which alleviates any finance obstacles and enables you to achieve your qualification easily and efficiently. Added benefits can include cost savings in the form of transportation, and the need to purchase expensive textbooks.

4. Make your skills transferable

If you’ve decided to take an online course for the purposes of professional development, you’ll want to be able to demonstrate the reach and flexibility of your new skillset, and how it can help you to maximize your performance within your role. The digital industry is an appropriate example – as new digital tools and technologies are launched on a regular basis, the abilities to adapt and acclimatize are essential. For example, if your organization decided to adopt a new social channel, you may need to be able to learn how to manage the channel, and find an analytics platform that will pull in the metrics you need to report on its performance. Even outside the digital industry, roles and their requirements change and expand, and you will need to evolve accordingly.

As new digital tools and technologies are launched on a regular basis, the abilities to adapt and acclimatize are essential.

Though your online learning may cover a specific area or topic, try to find information and skills that you can leverage to demonstrate your adaptability. For example, if learning how to develop a solid strategy is part of your course, regardless of the context, you can use this learning to demonstrate your organizational and decision making abilities. When you approach your online learning with this level of resourcefulness, it will seriously enhance your chances of career progression.

If you’re interested in finding out how the Digital Marketing Institute can help your organization to realize its digital potential, check out our range of available online courses here.

Learn and progress along a digital marketing career path with our cornerstone certification in Digital Marketing.

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Sophie Elizabeth Smith
Content Marketer