We find ourselves in scary, but fascinating times. If anything, Covid-19 has forced us to rethink life and how we approach it. Fortunately, technology has made it much easier for us to be proactive and take action towards a better future. Do you want to come out of this pandemic stronger? Now is your opportunity to use any extra time productively and making yourself more valuable to your current or potential future employers.
The Pragma Academy has fast-tracked our digitisation roadmap, making more of our courses, both public and corporate customised offerings, available through virtual instructor-led training (VILT). Corporate clients such as Anglo American, are benefitting from this by continuing their learning journeys, despite current volatile and dynamic times.
It got us thinking, how can we assist our students in being more successful virtual learners? Here is a guide with our top tips:
Sort your admin in advance
Invest some time in the details, and it will pay back in dividends. Do this by ensuring that all relevant information is easily accessible:
- Collect the phone numbers, email addresses, and support links for the Academy.
- Training Facilitator email@example.com
- Test your tech. Familiarise yourself with the virtual learning environment to ensure that you use is properly. It will save you loads of time.
- Make sure that you download relevant course content in advance. It will come in handy when you’re on deadline and are having connectivity issues.
- Save, save, save your work.
Prepare a dedicated study space for yourself
Whether you have an office or have to make do with a kitchen table, by ensuring that you have a specific spot from which you’ll put your brainpower to work will help you get organised and make studying become part of your routine. Make sure that the environment you choose boosts your productivity.
Remember to take the following into account when setting up your space:
- Ability to download material from the web and save it on to your computer.
- A headset with a microphone is a requirement for many online courses but is especially important in shared spaces.
- A webcam will give you a richer learning experience and the ability to cultivate a more meaningful connection with peers.
- Have the required books, materials, and software for the course.
Planning your time is key
Depending on the course you opt for, online training can be very flexible. To make it work for you, you’ll need to practice proper time management. Review the course syllabus at the start of the course and add assignments to your calendar. Follow by identifying timeslots for coursework and creating a daily, weekly and monthly planner. Stick to it.
Remember to allocate time for yourself to get accustomed to the virtual learning environment. You might need to overcome technical difficulties while exchanging emails or arranging phone conversations takes time when required to do group work.
Rewarding yourself will keep you motivated to stick to your schedule. After working for an hour or two, go for a walk or catch-up with friends on social media. Remember to incorporate these rewards into your program. Minimising distractions in your physical and digital environments will aid you in achieving these goals. While studying, close web browser windows not relevant to your learning, keep the TV off, etc. switch off notifications from your social media apps and stash your phone farther than an arm’s reach away.
Engage with fellow trainees
Building relationships with your instructor and fellow trainees will make your online training experience more enjoyable and allow you to expand your professional network. Start by actively taking part in class discussions, break out room sessions and online discussion forums. By taking part in conversations with other people who have similar goals as yours, opens up your eyes to different perspectives, which is a crucial element of understanding a topic.
Additional avenues to explore include connecting with fellow trainees on social media channels like LinkedIn, a Facebook or WhatsApp group.
Take care of yourself
Never before have we appreciated as much the value in investing in our bodies and minds to make sure it works better. A healthy mind is a mind ready to learn. Get enough sleep, eat healthy foods, stay hydrated and stay active.