5 Mantras to ‘effectively complete’ THAT Online Course



A few things I learnt while doing some online courses on Venture Labs. Working with Nitin and Kumudhini only made the process of learning more enjoyable. Shared these on #ClubSciWri this January. The article was originally published on 2nd January, 2017 at http://www.sciwri.club/archives/1947



Online courses have been around for a few years now. Coursera, Venture Labs and many more portals have innumerable courses ranging a wide breadth of topics. While online courses are the perfect place to go for those who want to learn new things, it is also a great way to build skills that will help you go up a few notches in your career. Some of the courses may be directly connected to your area of study or current work, while some may be diametrically opposite. Some of the learnings may be immediately visible and some may be more latent.

Five Mantras to effective complete that online course
  1. Choose a course that interests you 
Interest is the key word here.  Do not choose a course just because someone is doing it.  While there is a lot of flexibility, it is essential to remember that you have to figure out the best way to make the most out of them.  So, choose a course topic about which you are motivated to pick up a book or read the slides, end of a long day.
  1. Work with a study partner or a study group
They could be geographically spread out or even your close friends in the same city. It helps to have a partner in crime. Build a rapport and work together, making the most of each of your complementary skills.
  1. Plan for the course and create a time table
Plan the time commitment ahead.  Understand how much time you can invest in a six week course.  Prepare mentally for it, and then physically too. Treat it with as much seriousness as you would a regular course. Timetable for assignments and deadlines, make lists of what you have learnt, what is the next session about and your work that needs to be completed.
  1. Online courses are like a Pandora’s Box
You have to figure out how individual assignments work for you, video lessons, audio lessons and presentations.  During the course, also focus on the learning tool being used. Before you know, you have learnt a whole lot of new things.
  1. Self-motivation is the key
Remind yourself why you are doing this. Be disciplined. While you complete the suggested reading material, read anything you find on the topic. Always helps to widen your horizons, literally.

Speaking about my personal experience, I have done a few courses from Stanford Venture Labs on Creativity, Design Thinking and Technology Entrepreneurship. This was almost four years back. I did it with a few friends and the group study sessions were immensely helpful.  Also, the fact that we were from diverse backgrounds ensure lot of new learning, at both conceptual and practical level. I, over the years, have used the techniques/concepts learnt for my training sessions and they have been appreciated.  I guess as I write this piece, it is time I find that next online course.
 

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