Starting studies again while working full time can be a daunting task whether the course is online or in a classroom setting. Both require a great deal of dedication and time from you. Are you sailing in the same boat? Well if you are, I know how it feels. I was in the same boat a year ago. Somebody, once aptly said that it doesn’t matter how big your boat is, what matters is how you sail it. Coming back to the point, I also took the Certified Expert in Microfinance in 2015 and struggled a lot meeting the challenges that the course brought and trying to arrange my life around the e-learning course. After finishing my MBA, working and following an online course sounded easy, but it was quite challenging! I would like to share with you a few of my tips on how I overcame some of the aforementioned struggles, which helped me a lot.
When thinking about an e-learning course, many benefits come to mind such as, studying anywhere: the park, a café or even while lying on the beach. At the beginning of the course, 6 months can seem like an eternity. You think you know exactly how to plan your schedule, studying after work and during the weekends, but that sounds easier than it actually is! During those 6 months, all unimaginable, unexpected things might happen exactly at the time you were planning to study: Family duties, extra hours at work, friends wanting to meet you or just lack of motivation.
Schedule – In order to effectively complete the course, it´s necessary to set a certain amount of deadlines for yourself. There is no rule of thumb for this as it depends on your own private and professional schedule; however, creating a schedule and synchronizing it with your work calendar forcefully reminds you to complete the course on time to tackle those unexpected obstacles. A tentative general schedule, which if followed with dedication, definitely helps completing the course on time.
Forums – One of the major drawbacks in e-learning is the lack of physical presence of teachers and students which proves to be a real challenge to provide the required learning stimulus. Some participants even hesitate joining an e-learning course due to this very reason. Luckily, many e-learning courses have incorporated a forum into the programme. If your course has a forum, utilize it by interacting with your peers and colleagues. It is often difficult to take the first step to post something there, and at the beginning you might be hesitant on how and what to write. Will my question sound silly for others? Maybe everyone else knows the answer and only I do not? What if nobody answers? My advice is: Just go for it! You are not alone and many others might have the same question. Besides, it is a great opportunity to virtually meet your peers and your tutors.
Learning materials – Normally, e-learning courses include different training materials. Some of them can be downloaded and some cannot. It is helpful to carry the materials with you, either printed or on your tablet or Laptop. You never know when you will have to que for 45 minutes, wait for the bus or have a large break. Having the materials with you on hand gives you the opportunity to access them anytime you want.
Motivation – If you don’t have the motivation to complete the course, you can put all the tips mentioned above in the recycle bin. It’s easy to lose interest in the online training again due to physical absence of classmates. At the beginning of the course, motivation is always at its highest level. You have the feeling you will manage without any problems but with time (or the lack thereof), work and family duties, motivation can reduce and even get lost on the way. The secret is: don’t give up and keep on track. Try not to lose motivation before you have lost it. If you regularly spend some time studying and reading the training material, you will get so fascinated by the content, that you would want to keep reading and keep studying. Without taking much of your precious time from your learning schedule, I hope these tips prove beneficial and motivate you to sign up for one of our courses in development finance. So, see you in a virtual class soon!
Following my own tips, I am going to start with the Digital Finance e-learning course this September.
Ciao, Tschüß, Bonne Soiree, Namaste!