How I get the Most out of Online Courses
One thing that I think many entrepreneurs and bloggers have in common is a love of learning, and I'm no exception. I love learning from people who have done it before me and are experts in something I really want to improve myself.
I Heart Planners wouldn't even be half of what it is today without all the courses, blog posts, conferences, and podcasts I've invested in.
However, as I'm sure you know, we all have a fairly limited amount of time to consume content to help us master something new and improve.
Am I right?
So how do we make sure we maximize our learning time? Here are 3 ways I get the absolute most out every course I take or each education podcast I listen to. The first couple probably won't be anything you haven't heard before, but number 3 may surprise you.
- I take action on the things I'm learning as much as possible. It won't do me any good to consume a whole bunch of amazing content if I don't go out and apply it. Plus experience and actually doing it will teach you far more than just hearing about a particular topic.
- While I am NOT at all a fan of multitasking in general, video or audio learning is one exception. I frequently watch course videos while I'm working out on the elliptical. I listen to podcasts while doing dishes or folding clothes.
- When I buy a course, I often don't complete the entire thing from start to finish. :: gasp :: This was a game changer for me. I used to think I had to start at the very beginning, watch every video, do every worksheet in order for it “count.” I thought I needed to watch every single minute of instruction in order to get “my money's worth.” I finally realized that watching 5 videos on topics I've already mastered does nothing but waste my time – it doesn't help me get my money's worth! When I buy a course these days, I go right for what I need the most and skip the rest. I actually feel I've received the most value from courses that I can get results from in a very short time.
Sidenote: This does NOT mean I let myself off the hook if there's an exercise that is difficult but useful or that I skip things because I just don't like them. There is a difference.
How do you get the most out of the courses you take? Leave your suggestions in the comments below.
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That’s sooo liberating to think I don’t have to watch every module start to finish. I got stuck on 90-day year because I was trying to do that, and I got overwhelmed and ended up refunding it. I love this idea!
Lisa Van Gemert Says
I have a similar thing in that I practice. For example, I just took your printables course, and I’ve created at least a dozen in the past ten days. I go back and look at the applicable section of the course again if I forget something, and after a dozen or so practice tries, I’m pretty confident. You have to take action on what you’re learning, and you have to do it quickly. I also think of one tip I learned that I can share. It’s not acceptable/honest to share everything (tell people to take the course if it’s valuable), but I think it’s a good idea to think of one idea you got that you can share for at least two reasons. First, it cements it in your mind. Second, it helps other people find great courses.
LauraJane SaysPost author
Definitely important to apply quickly, and great idea about sharing something you learned.
Sherry Lollis Says
It doesn’t matter how I take a course, I handwrite lots and lots of notes. Usually there is so much information to take in that I become overwhelmed. I find I can look back on my notes and I take the course at a slower pace. (Which helps me to process it better) I’m old school. I have to hear it, see it then do it. In that order or I become easily frustrated.
I’m in that mind frame,however , that I have to finish something from start to end or I have failed. In reality, you’re absolutely right. There’s no sense wasting time on something that you already know when there is so much out there that is still left to be learned. I’ll have to let myself off the hook for that one. 🙂
LauraJane SaysPost author
That’s a good idea to take notes.
I agree with number 3 as well. I’ve started skimming and jumping to what I need most. It’s freed up my learning time…and I needed that. I love learning too, but sometimes we need to stop learning and just implement.
Chelsea Baugh Says
I love #3. I have a hard time not finishing things I start or skipping the beginning because I feel like I’m “cheating”. You are absolutely right though, if it’s something you’ve already mastered, you don’t need to sit through it again. You can jump to the things you need to learn and focus on, which actually gives you more time to focus on THOSE things. Thanks so much for sharing!
LauraJane SaysPost author
I totally hear you on feeling like you’re “cheating.”
Juanita Ellingson Says
Thank you for this article, and you were right about point number three….I would never have thought of that and WOW, mind blown! I will have to use that technique! For me how I get the most out of my online courses or podcasts is to not do them back to back or try to jam in too many. I get overwhelmed and then I don’t get what I need out of them if I complete them at all. I also like to take notes as I go and participate in the group discussions when I can.
Thank you for these tips and helping us learn and grow!!
Yes! Such great points. It was such a game changer for me when I started listening to podcasts on my 60min+ commute. 2 hours a day for personal development!
I do find it challenging to retain all of this information though – and ensure that I’m applying it. Should start getting into a habit of writing things down before I step into the office or at home.
Anyways, great post!
J.R. Caparas | https://www.mommyjhy.com Says
Thank goodness for videos and podcasts you can listen to while doing dishes haha