How to Attain Skills Through Online Training
Over the past decade, we’ve seen huge growth in the online training industry. There are now more ways than ever to attain the skills you need, whether you’re a young person working towards their first job or you’re more experienced and looking for a career change or advancement. A simple online search for training courses will give you plenty of results, giving you an indication of just how easy it is to develop new skills online.
However, if you’ve never studied online before, it can be a little daunting. While it’s actually a lot easier and more convenient to access online training services, many people find it difficult to adapt to the less structured environment. We’re going to take a deeper look into how to attain skills remotely, and give you some online training tips to help you get the most out of the experience.
Different types of online training
Before choosing your online training courses, it’s worth knowing about all the different types of study available. Of course, you can use online learning for a range of things. It may be short, sharp eLearning courses to develop specific skills in the workplace. You may want to become an expert in Microsoft 365 or participate in broader leadership courses. Alternatively, it might be a Certificate of Diploma in your chosen field. For even longer-form study, you can now attain full university degrees through online study.
Let’s take a look at the most common methods used to attain skills online.
The concept behind eLearning is to provide an easily accessible training resource that requires no classrooms and no interaction with facilitators – it’s simply an online learning module. eLearning varies in how engaging and in-depth it goes, with some courses being very much a click and read style, while others feature built-in testing, activities and other interactive features.
eLearning is most commonly used within a wider online study platform, for example, each unit you study may have an eLearning component paired with other methods of learning. Rarely will eLearning form the entirety of your study if you’re working towards a degree. Rather, you’ll find eLearning used to develop certain skills or knowledge.
Blended courses are becoming more popular these days because they mix the best of both worlds. You’ll have plenty of self-paced eLearning modules to complete, but you also may attend online lectures or training sessions. Parts of your training may come in the form of a virtual classroom, so you still get that interaction with a facilitator and other students. You may even have a small number of face-to-face contact hours if the training provider is in your local area.
Blended courses give you more flexibility to choose the way you learn, and more freedom to study when you’re able to.
If you’re about to undertake online study for the first time, the concept of a virtual classroom may be new to you. Essentially, it isn’t much different than a normal classroom, except it takes place online. The sessions are run by a facilitator who prepares all of the course content. Rather than ending up with piles of printouts, though, the learning resources and course materials are provided to you online.
Virtual classroom technology often includes a chat function, shared whiteboards, interactive features like polls and quizzes, and much more. Most commonly, participants are muted but have the ability to notify the trainer that they have a question. Virtual classrooms are as inclusive and engaging as the facilitator makes them.
Why is online learning so popular?
Online learning is becoming popular for a number of reasons. Firstly, people are time-poor, but still have a thirst for knowledge. It’s difficult to balance work, family and study, so online learning makes sense because you can do it in your own time.
Businesses love online learning too because it’s a far more cost-effective way to train staff. Plus, they can access a huge range of online courses to supercharge their learning and development program.
For most people, it’s the flexibility that appeals to them most. Also, not having to commute to a training facility is a huge bonus.
Tips to maximise your online learning
If you want to make the most of your online training, these tips should help. While online learning is much more flexible than other forms of study, you’ll still need to be organised and committed to the course. There is still a considerable time investment, so you’ll need to be prepared.
Choose courses relevant to your career goals
Firstly, be smart about the online courses you choose. Some might sound simple, but if you’re doing them just to fill in space on your resume, it might be worth looking for something else. While humans have a natural thirst for knowledge, it’s not often you would study an online course purely because you have a passing interest in the topic. Training is usually linked to specific career goals you have.
Maybe you want to advance further in your current workplace. Maybe you’re looking for a completely new career. Perhaps you want to start a business, but need to learn the skills required to do that. There are plenty of career-based reasons to choose an online training course. Just make sure the courses you choose have some real relevance to your goals.
Manage your time effectively
Time management is crucial in any form of study, but perhaps even more so when you study online. In the traditional classroom-based study, you’re given a very clear schedule of when you need to attend classes. Online study requires a bit more self-discipline to ensure you complete all of the course content on your own time. It’s self-paced, but there are still usually deadlines to adhere to.
When starting each unit, try to use a calendar to mark down due dates, and dedicate an appropriate amount of time for study and assignment tasks. Many people find it works well to block out a certain amount of time each day or week to focus on studying with no distractions.
Take advantage of all resources provided
There are plenty of resources provided during online training courses, but because you don’t’ have to buy textbooks, it’s easy to overlook some of those resources. To give yourself the best chance of success, try to make use of any resources provided or suggested by your trainer. After all, online training shouldn’t be just about doing the bare minimum to pass. If you’re working to advance your career, you want to soak up as much knowledge as possible to succeed.
Seek support from your employer
You might not be aware, but many employers encourage you to learn new skills if it will benefit them in some way. For example, if you work as a salesperson but you want to move into a marketing role, your employer may be willing to help you attain some marketing qualifications. Some employers pay for your training, provide you with study leave, or even both. It’s always worth asking, however, make sure it benefits the employer before asking. If you work for an accounting firm and want to become a veterinarian, it’s unlikely your employer will help you pay for that.
Choose a flexible training provider
Finally, ensure you choose a flexible training provider. That means an institution that has a wide range of courses available, and several ways to study them. If you’re balancing work, family, other commitments and want to add study into the mix, you’re going to be very busy. It’s not impossible to achieve, but you need the right support around you. One way to do that is to find a training provider that offers blended learning because this is usually the most flexible form of online study.
You get access to a trainer when required, and you’ll probably be able to participate in virtual classrooms or online discussions. But you’ll also have some freedom to study and complete tasks on your own time. Ultimately, the best choice is a training provider that suits your individual needs.