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Andrew Lancaster


Education Promotion

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Who should learn online?


Before someone invests in an online or cloud-based course, it’s worth checking to see if that person is a good fit for the learning format. The advantages of studying online are great, not the least of which is the pure convenience. But certain personal attributes are required to make it work.

Let’s consider the qualities for an individual to be a good candidate for digital-based, online learning. We’ll assume for writing purposes that the person we’re considering is you. But the same reasoning can be applied to anyone, including teams and individual employees.

Ability to work alone

First, think about whether or not you work well alone. Are you able to work for long periods of time by yourself without a conversation and personal contact? If not, then online learning may not be your best choice.

While some students do very well in online learning environments, many others tend to struggle simply because they need personal interaction (What Massive Open Online Courses are Missing). Online courses don’t offer the group vibe that comes from attending physical classes with instructors and students.

Time management skills

Online learning success depends on good time management (Time Management for Online Learners). Without fixed class times, the onus is on you to make decisions about when to study and for how long. You need to plan out your own class schedule.

Most students who drop out of online learning environments do so because they ultimately cannot force themselves to attend online lectures and complete course assignments.

Many online courses have a set day of the week that certain assignments are due. It’s up to you to ensure that you meet these assignment deadlines. Consider whether or not you will be organised enough to complete assignments without the regular reminder from attending classes.

Writing ability

Think about how well you communicate in writing. While you certainly don’t have to be an award-winning author, you should be able to effectively communicate your points using only text. There’s limited or no face-to-face interaction in online learning and most discussions happen through online chat.

Students often find that communicating via writing is a major challenge. Because the written word contains no emotion, you have to be certain that you can get your point across well. You also need to learn appropriate online etiquette to use when responding to others.

Written improperly, even the most innocent phrase can be taken the wrong way and cause issues between students and instructors. An important study asset is to be able to communicate your opinion in a way everyone clearly understands.

Determination to succeed

Dropout rates are high for online courses, especially where there’s no personal investment (e.g. free courses). If determination is lacking at all, you may be better off finding a course you can attend in person.

To do well in an online course, consider if you really have the motivation. A want to succeed is often the difference between online study failure and success (How to Succeed in Online Courses). If you get bored during some part of the course (which is almost inevitable), is there a motivating force that will keep you going and allow you to push through?

Generational qualities

While almost anyone can do online learning, for some people it’s the first-choice method and most natural approach. A high proportion of people in the younger generations have learned much of what they know about the world online.

Through a lifetime of online research, blended academic courses and other forms of digital engagement, young people are naturally fluent in and adapted to online learning. If you’re young and technologically connected, there’s a good chance you’ll do well in a digitally-based training course.

As the first true ‘digital natives’, Generation Z grew up with easy access to the internet. It’s always been there, for as long as they can remember. That means putting technology front and centre of any training you intend to offer.  ~ David Evans

Notes on course design

The attributes of the learner or learning group is an important consideration in designing training programs. If staff are well-suited to the online or cloud-based format, then it’s the obvious choice in many cases.

In considering going to cloud-based training, WizIQ also recommends considering your business goals, user numbers, budget, content support and CRM integration potential.

If you have misgivings about online training, you might go for an alternative or hybrid approach. For example, one option is a course that blends automated, self-paced training with live classes and/or online group discussions.

Author Profile Picture
Andrew Lancaster

Education Promotion

Read more from Andrew Lancaster

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