Online learning is an important tool to further your career and gain new skills that enable you to climb the corporate ladder within your current organization. Well-structured courses are in the best interest of employees and employers alike, both of whom stand to benefit enormously.
Committed employees, who are driven to succeed within their company, will be the future of their company. Read on to learn more about how your organization can maximize professional online learning.
Become acquainted with the online learning environment.
Learning online is not taking the easy road. When taken seriously by committed students, online courses simply offer the convenience that traditional study may not. To achieve the best results, it involves more than just completing the necessary assignments.
Attending virtual classroom tutorials, actively seeking out your mentor, connecting with other students, and doing extracurricular reading and research can all help to take your learning to the next level. Professional adult education courses should be treated like an extension of work, so it goes without saying that study time should be free from distractions, online or offline.
1. Find the right course for your position.
While traditional institutions are backed by years of reputation, the search for similarly well-regarded, industry-recognized courses can prove tricky. Whether you have been recommended a course or have been suggested that some form of training may be in your interest, take the time to research collaboratively with your employer to determine the best fit for you and your career goals. By being fully confident in your choice and what you can hope to achieve, you will be able to trust in the process and make the most out of this opportunity.
2. Understand your learning goals.
Without face-to-face teaching, navigating an online course can become confusing. Stay on track by regularly assessing what you are learning and how this compares to your expectations and goals. What do you want to get out of the course? Are there specific skills that you are looking to gain or certain areas of knowledge that you are looking to strengthen, or are you seeking a well-rounded, broad approach to upskilling?
Completing mature adult education courses is about more than just a line on your résumé and the ticking of a box for your boss. It is also about helping you perform better in your role or preparing you for future advancement. You may find that it helps to summarize your learning in a series of written documents for future reference, which in turn enables you to reflect on the course content.
3. Engage with your mentor.
Communication with your mentor should be a foundation for your learning throughout your course. Ask for feedback about how you are doing or for suggestions on further study. They should be able to direct you to institutional resources or offer their own input. Mentors are often either industry experts or have been working in the field for some time. Either way, mentors and other students, make for fantastic contacts.
4. Take the opportunity to learn new skills.
While you may have taken on a new course to hone a certain skillset, online learning offers an array of practical teaching outside of the core focus. A month-long, team-based project may help you to strengthen your project management skills without specifically having to learn project management online.
5. Study while you hold down a job.
Too often, would-be students dismiss the idea of further learning because they assume that study comes before landing the job. In truth, learning is a never-ending process, which should go hand in hand with you throughout your career. As well as helping you to excel in your current role, it may help to shape you into the perfect candidate for the next one.
Studying while also working during the week allows you to immediately apply your learning into real-life situations, further reinforcing the key takeaway skills. While you should only take on evening courses if you feel that you can manage it, many employees report that they gain a renewed energy for their current work through fresh industry insights.
About 50 percent of people are kinesthetic learners, meaning that they learn best by doing. Practicing what you have learned in lectures is best performed in the supportive space of your workplace.
6. Debrief with your employer
When the course is over, it is a good idea to schedule a chat with your employer. Not only will this give your employer insight into the success of the course and give you an opportunity to show off your new skills, it will help the company as a whole move forward with future employee development.
- Author Bio
- Helen Sabell works for the College for Adult Learning. She is passionate about adult learning; she has developed and authored many workplace leadership programs, both in Australia and overseas.