30 life hacks to complete the online course

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It’s hard for many to focus on online learning. To the end of the course reach a few percent of those who started. We offer 30 life hacks that at least a little help you on the road.

Everyone had it. You sign up for an online course that excites you a lot. You finally learn how to program, or learn a new design program. Perhaps, like me, you will have to take another course in finance before you feel that you have completed your business education on the basis of massive open online courses (MEP). But you put it off all the time.

Perhaps you manage to enter the course and start work, but in the middle of the first video lecture you notice that a new letter has arrived in the mail, or someone wrote a comment on Habr. Do not have time to look around, as you are sucked into a whirlpool, which we call the Internet. The video lecture ends, and you have no idea what the professor said.

Sounds familiar? Yes, I know what it is.

I graduated from over 25 MOOC and did my course. Some time ago, I asked the community of my students to help make a final list of all the tips, tricks, and hacks that they use to stay involved while learning on the Internet. This is what we came up with.

Technology tips

  • Increase window size with video lecture. A simple but effective way to minimize distraction.
  • Close all other windows.. This is more aggressive, but may be necessary.
  • Sign out of your email and social networks. And while you are doing this, make sure that you have blocked notifications from these programs, even if you are not authorized. This also applies to your phone.
  • Put your phone in silent mode. Or maybe leave him in another room.

Time Management Hacks

  • Mark your studies on your calendar. Then you will treat them as real obligations.
  • Set reminders on your calendar and on your phone. Do not forget that you took the time to study.
  • Do MOOC at work – do not forget to agree on this with your superiors. Many leaders will applaud your efforts for self-discipline and professional development. Some will even pay for your course certificates.

Environmental tips

  • Use noise canceling headphones. Block distracting sounds and focus on the current task.
  • Listen only to music that helps you focus. Many students use this method to keep their mind from wandering.
  • Pump up your workspace. Make your workspace comfortable and enjoyable for your stay. Put images in your field of vision that will inspire you to succeed.
  • Close the door. Simple but effective.
  • Fix (write) the target in your workspace. Looks like 10 point. A written goal in sight will help to aim at the result.
  • Do exercises during the course. However, this only works if you are just listening to a lecture and you do not need to take notes or work on practical tasks.
  • ATstand or move away from the computer. Again, if you do not need to simultaneously work on tasks or respond to a survey, you can go beyond the reach of your keyboard to avoid the obsessive temptation to see what is happening on other browser tabs.

Psychological tricks

  • Reward yourself for completing small tasks. One completed lesson = one funny cat video.
  • Pay for a course certificate. According to MOOC providers, people who pay for the entire course certificate are ten times more likely to complete the course.
  • Register your achievements. Regardless of whether you show your certificates in your LinkedIn profile or in your educational portfolio, or even on your personal list, make sure you keep track of your success.
  • Announce your intentions publicly. When you register for a new course, post it on Facebook, post it on Twitter and let your friends and colleagues know about it.
  • MOOC as a reward for completing less enjoyable assignments. Instead of thinking of MOOC as another task on your list, use the online course as a reward for completing a difficult or unpleasant task.
  • Use the Just Start Technique. This simple technique suggests that if you just take the first step, then you are much more likely to continue what you started. What is the simplest thing you can do to get started? Open a webpage, log in, or read the curriculum. Or just open the first lecture and let it boot. When you use the “just start” technique, you may be surprised to see that after you “just start”, it’s easier for you to “just continue.”
  • Dress for work. This comic way will set you up for work and allow you to remain serious, focused and purposeful.
  • Give yourself small assignments. As in the case of the “just start” method, when you break down work into very small tasks, for example, watch one video or perform one test, you can easily finish the course in just a few minutes of work per day.

Social hacks for learning

  • Become a part of the study group. This is a powerful and proven motivator. Find a study group in the course discussion forum or create your own.
  • Find a tutor or mentor for yourself. It may take some time to find it. Some MOOC programs, especially those that include a certificate, offer mentoring as part of the course.
  • Find a study buddy. Meet someone on the course discussion forum or sign up for a course with a friend.
  • Find a responsible partner. This is a great technique for maintaining motivation. All you need is a friend or relative who is ready to talk with you once a week and listen while you list your goals for the coming week and your achievements for the previous week.

MOOC Expert Advice

These tips were most often mentioned by experienced MOOC members with whom I spoke.

  • Use the Pomodoro Technique. Similar to the “just start” technique mentioned above, the Pomodoro technique teaches you to work in a series of 25-minute intervals, setting a timer, and then actually stop to take a break when it turns off. Thus, your work on the online course will be more simple, since you need to make an effort only until the timer rings. In addition, you can better learn new things by alternating between focused and diffused ways of thinking. This technique is detailed in the hugely popular MOOC. Learning how to learn.
  • Listen to scientifically designed music for concentration. Concentrate better than with ordinary music, listening to tracks that have been specially designed to bring your brain into a state of increased concentration of consciousness. One of these services is Focus @ Will.
  • Speed ​​up. MOOC platforms such as Coursera and edX let you set the playback speed. Many people recommended speeding up the lecture so that you had to pay close attention to keep up.
  • Take notes. This was by far the most recommended way to stay involved. Print notes in the second window, draw them on your tablet, or hold a pencil and paper near your computer – because even in this new world of online learning, nothing beats the old-fashioned writing.

How many and which online courses have you completed?


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