1. Set your own learning goals
Try to define your personal learning goals/objectives and do not only adopt the course goals. A learning objective is a goal that you set for yourself in terms of the skills and knowledge you want to acquire in the context of a learning experience. There is no need to have a long list, but you should consider your own personal and professional needs: ‘How would this be relevant for my career development?; What skills can I develop?; How can these skills be useful in my personal life?’ Make sure they are simple and specific. You can apply the SMART approach when defining your goals.
2. Reflect on your learning techniques
How do you learn best? Make sure to choose appropriate learning strategies that to foster self-discipline and a more efficient learning experience. If you are a visual learner, you can use graphs, charts, maps, diagrams, and other forms of visual stimulation to digest and interpret information. If you prefer the reading/writing style, go for a study plan or a learning diary. There are no good or bad techniques as long as they help you achieve your learning goals. You can use plain pen and paper or one of the digital tools suggested in the next point.
3. Create a learning diary
Why not start a learning diary? Having a learning diary is a great way to summarise important sections or topics, reflect further on course questions/exercises, extracts of important content, new ideas that came to your mind after following the course, etc. In other words, everything relevant for your personal and professional development. A learning diary is something you could always go back to, providing you with a quick gateway to the more relevant topics and reflections. If you are not sure how to get started, here are some tips on some great tools for this purpose: Padlet, Miro, Tackk, Adobe Express, Sway (Microsoft), Weebly, Blogger, Sutori, Glogster.
4. Review your progress
Take time to reflect on your progress based on goals you have set up for yourself. Another reason to define simple/measurable learning goals for yourself is to be able to track your progress and nurture your motivation. Assessing progress helps you to adapt your learning practices, review your timeline, and stay motivated as you get closer to achieving your goals.
5. Create a dedicated study space
Make sure that you feel comfortable in the space where you learn. Here are a few elements to pay attention to when setting up your space:
Light – select a spot with direct light or add extra light.
Eliminate distractions – put away your phone for this study period and tell your family, flatmates, etc. that you should not be disturbed during study time.
Make your environment comfortable – add pillows, back support or any other item that will bring you more comfort.
Play some music or rather keep it quite - personalise you study space and make it your own so you can stay motivated and continue to draw inspiration from everything around you.
6. Create a study routine
Self-paced courses are a challenge for many of us juggling between personal life and work. In our spare time, we are often faced with the dilemma of choosing between an online course, watching Netflix, listening to podcasts, etc. How do you use your time? Fortunately for us, learning nowadays is possible also in small bits and pieces. The Digital SkillUp courses are designed in such a way that each section takes up to 20 min to go through. You can check a learning bite while you commute to or from work, while you are sipping your morning coffee just before leaving the house, or even as you are on the routine stationary bike in the gym. All you need is a routine!
7. Build or expand your personal learning network
Build or expand your personal learning network by invite colleagues, friends and peers to join you in the learning experience. Set up offline or online meetings to go through content together, discuss exercises, and reflect on course material. You can also search for dedicated Facebook groups or Twitter chats that discuss the same topics you are interested in. Don't be afraid to ask questions and always make sure to link the content to the context of your professional practice or personal experience.