How-To: Make the Most of Your Online Learning Adventure

April 20, 2020 by University District

Tools and Tips to Kick-start Your eLearning Journey


Is there a language you have always sought to become fluent in but never had the time, a hobby you wanted to explore, or maybe there’s a certification that you have wanted to earn to boost your resume? 


We can’t think of a better time than the present to venture into the world of online learning. From one-hour live workshops and weekend courses to online degrees, there’s virtually something for everyone. 


Online learning is a growing and exciting new way to learn about almost anything to improve your life – both personally and professionally. With that in mind, University District is here to help with some ready tips and eager suggestions to jumpstart your eLearning journey and help you stay engaged while at home. 


Before we dig into the meat of it, let’s go over a few basic recommendations!



Are you thinking of dabbling in online learning? Check out these resources from University of Calgary to guide your elearning adventure.


Get Started: Setting up for Success


Whether trying an online class for the first time or looking to increase your knowledge base and add to your skillset, these recommendations will set you up for success, allowing you to take full advantage of all eLearning has to offer. Let’s dive in!


Interest and time are key


Try it! Even if you are not absolutely certain online learning is for you, try it out but choose a course that interests you and make sure you have the time.  Whether it’s photography, learning a new language or a class dedicated to effective time management. You need to have a genuine interest in the topic and enough time to devote to your studies. If you have neither, you won’t be motivated to finish the coursework. Instead, join a webinar or register for a half-day virtual workshop to see if you like it. You may be pleasantly surprised!



Work mode: Have a dedicated study space


You don’t need to replicate your 4th grade classroom, but it’s important to have a comfortable and designated space to work. Think about lighting, ambiance, distractions, connectivity, and ergonomics. They all play a critical role in your online learning success. 


Whether your workspace is in the kitchen table, your home office, or family living room. Experiment to discover what setting works for you, boosts productivity and prevents distractions. Wherever you choose, make sure Internet connectivity is good! No one wants to take a virtual class with a lagging connection.


Always confirm the course requirements!


Online studying means you provide the place to work, the computer, reliable Internet and any other items you might need. Depending on the course, you may need headphones to listen to audio presentations, a printer to make copies of documents, a specific software that may have a hefty license. 


Whatever the case, be sure you have all the necessary equipment before you start the course. It will prevent those panic-driven moments and help set you up for success!


Learning at home while balancing family health and well-being can be a challenge. If you’re seeking ways to support kids learning at home while having fun: online and offline, University District has you covered. Look no further and click here



Go-To Tips: Get the Most Out of Your Online Learning Experience


Once a novelty, virtual classes are now widely popular and for good reason. Flexible schedules, work at your own pace (within the class syllabus, of course!), and possibly finish early. Online courses can be appealing and an incredible learning experience, but it’s not all fun and games. To help, University District is sharing some go-to tips to help you tackle your course and pass with flying colours. 


Set goals


To stay on track with your online studies, have a goal in mind. From reading Chapter 1 and 2 of your course book and completing the first assignment, to commenting on discussion boards every week. Setting a clear target can help you stay motivated, beat procrastination and serve as an excellent road map during your eLearning experience. 


Tip: Whether it’s a fun activity with your kids, a sweet and salty confection or watching 30 minutes of cute animal videos on YouTube. Don’t forget to reward yourself when you make progress towards your goal.



Take breaks


Stay healthy! Our brains work to their fullest when our bodies are well. Grab your four-legged companion and take a leisurely stroll through University District’s urban dog park. Make a cup of tea, get in a few stretches, or skip rope for even one minute. Having regular relaxation time that involves exercise and fresh air can help you maintain balance, renew energy and revitalize you to continue studying with a clear mind.


Tip: Use a timer or download an app like Remember The Milk or My Life Organized to keep you on task, as well as remind you to get up and take breaks.


If relaxation time for you is in the kitchen, why not try your hand at these delightful cookie recipes from our very own team! It makes for a fun, interactive activity the whole family can enjoy and might just make for a tasty reward. 


Make the time to plan time


Approach online courses like you would if you were sitting in a classroom. Collect your tasks and deadlines and even set aside blocks of time to participate in course webinars and podcasts. Then create a schedule to help you settle into a routine and avoid those last-minute rushes. Your schoolwork will thank you!


Tip: At the start of each week, create a timetable which breaks your schedule into one-hour study periods with 15 minute breaks in between. It will help keep you on track with your course plan.



Connect with others


Engage! Interact with your professor and peers as though you were doing in-class learning. Team up for group assessments, create a Google Hangout study group, engage with new ideas, and stay in touch and help each other with study tips, resources and more. Talking with others can boost motivation and enrich your eLearning experience. So make a post today!


Tip:  Stay proactive. From joining online portals and study groups to posting in discussion boards and classroom forums, there are many ways to keep in close contact with online teams, instructors and peers.


Ask questions


It’s important to ask questions, especially when assignments or instructions are unclear to you. Asking is key to learning! Reach out to your teacher, fellow classmates and even your own family, neighbours or co-workers. Remember, you’re not alone.


Tip: Prepare for the unexpected. Save your instructor’s contact information in your email and cell phone, so if and when you need it, you don’t have to go hunting.


Did you know the University of Calgary waives tuition fees related to undergraduate, direct-entry bachelor’s level courses for senior citizens 65 years of age and older? They do! Learn more about it here



Get Inspired: Begin Your Virtual Learning Journey with University of Calgary


If you have ever wanted to learn how to take incredible photos, try your hand at art work or learn the zen of meditation, now’s the time! 


From project management and running a business to copywriting, design, occupational health and safety, digital marketing and even learning online, University of Calgary (UCalgary) offers an array of virtual courses and programs. 


Dip your toes by signing up for a class to learn a skill you’ve always wanted to learn, or go all in and register for a full program. Whatever you choose, enjoy the experience! We can’t think of a better way to occupy the extra time you have on hand, while still feeling purposeful and productive. 


Check out UCalgary’s online programs here, and its online courses here.


No matter what profession you are in or personal skills you are working towards, we hope these study tips and recommendations will be able to make your online learning a fun and enjoyable eLearning experience.  Although it may come with its own unique challenges, remember to approach online classes with an open mind and have fun!


Whether you have a tip that works to enhance the eLearning experience, a story to share or a question for the continuing education experts at University of Calgary. Let us know!  Connect with us on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

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