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What are 5 Tips for Taking Online Classes?

  1. Have a clear motivation in mind – identify why you are taking the online class
  2. Set small, manageable goals
  3. Sign up with a friend
  4. Take your learning on the go
  5. Have some skin in the game

Here at edX, we’re committed to providing our over 9.5 million global learners with access to high-quality online courses from the best universities and leading institutions in the world. As we continue to work with our partners to deliver courses that offer learners access to in-demand knowledge, we wanted to share with you some useful tips about taking online classes, like those offered on edX.

Here are five tips to help set you up for success when taking an online course: 

  1. Have a clear motivation in mind – identify why you are taking the online class. The first step to success is to start by identifying the reasons for taking the course. Think about what you are looking to accomplish and what a successful result would be – whether it’s learning a new skill, advancing your career or enjoying the experience of learning something new. At edX, learners take courses to improve their lives, whether it is to get ahead in their careers, to help them find a job, to pursue a path towards higher education, or simply for personal enrichment.
  2. Set small, manageable goals. Set small goals throughout the course so there’s always something to work towards. By breaking a large project down into smaller, more manageable pieces of work, it often becomes easier to complete each piece and then move on to the next. You can also set goals regarding when you do your online course work. On edX, a lot of our courses are self-paced, which mean you can complete assignments and go through modules at your own speed, so you can set goals that fit your schedule and life.
  3. Sign up with a friend. A useful motivational tool is to sign up for an online course with a friend to help hold you accountable and to stay committed. Not only can you encourage each other to stay focused and finish the course together, you can also act as a helpful resource to each other when studying or discussing course content. You can even hold “study groups,” either online or in person, depending on location.
  4. Take your learning on the go. At edX, we encourage our learners to learn anytime and anywhere. Even though the course content lives entirely online, it can be helpful to complete coursework in a variety of locations. Moving from place to place reduces your chances of feeling bored and can help keep you feeling energized. A change of scenery from your home or the library to a coffee shop or a park can make a big difference to your motivation levels and help to keep you on track to successfully complete the online course.
  5. Have some skin in the game. Share your journey taking online courses with family and friends – either in person or on social media. By involving them in your endeavor, you’re more likely to feel motivated to make progress so you can share updates and answer their questions about learning online. Even paying for a certificate and putting some ‘financial’ skin in the game is motivation in itself, since there is now a financial incentive to help you get across the finish line. At edX, most of our courses are available for free and we also offer the option to pay for a Verified Certificate that you can use on your resume, CV or LinkedIn to showcase the skills and knowledge you gained from the course. If you pay for a course because you are confident that you’ll want to demonstrate the work you’ve done online to a current or future employer, then you’re more likely to hold yourself accountable to finish it.
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