Professional Skills

4 Tips to Excel at Learning New Skills Online

A study from 2010 found that 40 to 80 percent of people drop out of online classes that they have chosen to take. You do not want to be like those quitters! Those who regularly commit to developing new skills are the ones who go farther with their careers. In an article for Harvard Business Review, Mike Kehoe shares four tips to keep developing your skill set online:

  1. Focus on emerging skills
  2. Get synchronous
  3. Implement learning immediately
  4. Set a golden benchmark

Ensuring Sustained Learning

Since time is limited and you cannot learn everything, you might as well focus on learning the skills that you know are attractive in your industry. Research job listings from top companies on the sorts of skills they are looking for, or ask people who already have the job you want what sorts of skills that they are learning right now. Then further research what online platforms might help you learn those skills in the most effective way.

One reason that online learning often fails is because there is a sense of isolation to it compared to learning in a regular classroom. People who cannot bear the isolation give up. Kehoe recommends syncing up your learning with a friend or colleague with the same learning goals in order to stay motivated, or you can just look for a class that provides live learning sessions.

The best way to make learning stick is to make use of it right away, because concrete experience is more memorable than absorbing abstract theory. And lastly, about setting a “golden” benchmark, Kehoe writes this:

Just like runners in a marathon, online learners need to have a clear goal in order to stay focused. A return on investment (in terms of time and money spent) is hard to gauge in the near term. But those who persevere generally have their eye on a larger prize — a new job, a promotion, or the chance to lead a project. I encourage people to determine a specific career objective and keep it front of mind as they learn.

Of course, that benchmark will change as you develop. Learning is a career-long process. After you achieve one big goal, set your sights on the next one. That’s how you make learning a part of your normal routine. The more you do that, the less likely you are to stop.

For additional thoughts, you can view the original article here: https://hbr.org/2018/01/4-habits-of-people-who-are-always-learning-new-skills

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