We have substantially covered Learning To Learn in the first Soft-Skills Chapter- but there is more. This time, we will focus on how to design and manage our learning experience in a way that brings out the most benefits.

#1. Be Active when learning

First, it is important to emphasize that learning is an active process- for learning to occur, you must be an active participant:

Write notes in your own words, recall information - say what you know about a topic without using notes. Re-reading or re-watching does not lead for the learning to be planted into the long-term memory - but recalling does.

Share your learning with others, set-up accountability and teach- when we voice our learnings  out loud, we understand the information much better.

#2: Create a dedicated study space

It’s easier to recall information if you’re in the same place where you first learned it, so having a dedicated space at home to take online courses can make your learning more effective. Remove any distractions from the space, and if possible, make it separate from your bed or sofa. A clear distinction between where you study and where you take breaks can help you focus.

When setting up your study space, make sure you:

#3. Set daily goals for studying

Ask yourself what you hope to accomplish in your course each day. Setting a clear goal can help you stay motivated and beat procrastination. The goal should be specific and easy to measure, such as “I’ll watch all the videos in Module 2 and complete the first programming assignment.” And don’t forget to reward yourself when you make progress towards your goal!

#4. Share your Learnings and Teach Others:

Be it a discussion forum with the rest of your cohort on Discord, or utilizing social media networks, such as Twitter & LinkedIn

  1. Celebrate a professional or personal victory
  2. Write about one thing you learned today
  3. Thank someone for something they taught you and tag them
  4. Share an article you read and what you liked about it

#5. Eliminate distractions:

Regardless of where you choose to work, consider turning your cell phone off to avoid losing focus every time a text message or notification pops up. And if you’re still having trouble resisting the temptation to check your email or surf the web, try downloading a website blocker. Using applications like Cold Turkey and Freedom can help eliminate distractions by blocking the apps or websites that tend to compete for your attention, such as Facebook and Twitter.

Extra Tip: Mental focus follows visual focus

#6. Actively participate

Participate in Discord  to help you better understand course materials and engage with fellow classmates. This might involve sharing useful resources,  or posting a question about a project you’re working on. Read what other students and fellow students are saying, and if you have a question, ask for clarification.

Make sure you are checking in as often as you can, too. The flexibility of online learning means that if you have 30 minutes before dinner plans, you could squeeze in a discussion response around your schedule. Set a goal to check in on the class discussion threads every day.

And if you do feel yourself falling behind, speak up.

Your peers, instructors & mentors can be a valuable resource when overcoming challenges or asking for feedback on assignments. Don’t be afraid to turn to them to create a virtual study group. Chances are good that they will appreciate it just as much as you will.

#7. Figure Out How You Learn Best

Once you’ve established where you’ll learn, think about when and how you accomplish your best work. If you’re a morning person, make time to study first thing. More of a night owl? Set aside an hour or two after dinner to cozy up to your computer. If you have kids that require your morning and evening attention, try to carve out a study session mid-day while they’re at school. Brew your usual cup of coffee, put on your go-to playlist, and do whatever you need to get into the zone and down to business.

Not everyone learns the same way, so think about what types of information help you best grasp new concepts and employ relevant study strategies. If you’re a visual learner, for example, print out transcripts of the video lectures to review. Learn best by listening? Make sure to build time into your schedule to play and replay all audio- and video-based course content.

Additional Tips: