How To Learn Online: A Complete Guide

learn-onlineThe best way to further any career is to commit to a lifelong learning approach. All industries have been, are being, or will be changed as technologies develop, and not staying on top of these changes and trends will be a determent to your career progression. You cannot hope that you will learn as you go, you need to take advantage of the online, digital resources that you have now so that you always remain ahead of the curve. That is what leaders do. That is what successful people do. To get started yourself, then you will want to follow this complete guide:

Invest in Quality Subscriptions

It will take some time to get into the habit of learning day after day. Before you commit to more serious strategies, like undertaking an online MBA, you will want to get accustomed to just reading more often. By investing in more quality subscriptions you can benefit from well-written, well-researched content that will boost your career or just enrich your life.

Magazines and Newspapers

There are plenty of newspapers and magazines that you can read online, but if you really want to stay ahead of the curve, it is worthwhile to invest in pro subscriptions. For news-based agencies, this will help support journalists writing the quality content you enjoy. For more industry-specific resources, high-quality research is hidden behind a paywall. Though irritating, it is absolutely worth investing in a subscription for this content.

Podcasts

Podcasts are free to listen to, but finding quality podcasts can be a challenge. Don’t just assume the best are the ones created by known agencies like the NYTimes. Though they are certainly worthwhile to look at, do put some effort into finding high-quality podcasts created by any publisher.

Books

Non-fiction can be a great way to get an in-depth overview of topics. By buying digital books or listening to audiobooks you can easily incorporate reading into your daily commute.

Online Education Options

By getting used to reading and learning every day you are learning and preparing yourself for more hands-on education options.

Short Term Free Courses

There are plenty of free online courses today that are designed to give you a decent introduction to a topic. They are created by universities by academics as well, so that you can be assured that the content you are learning is quality. Use these options to expand your knowledge and get a stronger overview of your field or fields associated with yours.

Webinars

Webinars and video talks are great ways to hear from the experts. Think of them like digital lectures. They can be free or paid. The issue of course if finding webinars that are worthwhile. Unlike video lectures, which are created as part of an online degree, these webinars can be created by anyone. Therefore it is important to research the speaker and ensure they are a leading expert in their field, especially if you are paying for it.

Dedicated Online MA

The best way to advance your career through online learning is with a dedicated online Master’s program. Unlike with a Bachelor’s program, which takes much longer and really should be conducted in person, an online Master’s allows you to specialize in accordance with your career. By taking it part-time or remotely you can apply what you are learning directly to your job, and use what you know to further your career simultaneously.

Why Wait to Choose Your MA

You should wait at least five years after you enter your chosen field before choosing a Master’s. Even if you want to achieve an MBA, you want to be certain of what you want to get out of it. There are specialized MBAs, certificates you can acquire on top of your MBA, and so on. By waiting you will also solidify your career so that your MBA can launch your career further.

How to Know You Have Chosen a Great MA

A great MA is one that directly improves your skillset in your chosen career. It is one that is created with your industry in mind and one that can be completed ideally on your own time. A one year online MBA is entirely possible with the right commitment, allowing you to power through the degree and really propel your career forward at the right time in your life.

How to Study and Work at the Same Time

In order to acquire this degree in a year, or even part-time in 18 months, you will need to build up some really strong habits and commit to a strict work ethic that will allow you to take on two different workloads at once.

  • Build Up Healthy Habits
  • Choose a Dedicated Time Slot Every Day to Your Degree
  • Work in the Same Place
  • Schedule Social Breaks
  • Commit to the Recommended Reading Lists
  • Put What You Learn to Work

An example you might want to adopt:

  1. Go to bed and wake up at the same time
  2. Prepare healthy meals for breakfast and lunch at the start of the week
  3. Read from your recommended reading lists during your commute
  4. Revise during lunch
  5. Find a great café or co-working space after work to study
  6. Go home and prepare a healthy meal
  7. Relax for the rest of the evening
  8. Plan friend outings so that you can maintain a healthy balance
  9. Put theories and skills you learn to use at work
  10. Don’t be afraid to ask for help

How to Easily Take Notes Online

A lot of the resources you will be using are online. The only exception is if you are requested to buy textbooks or other physical copies by your course. As most of the coursework you will be using will likely be digital, however, you will want to use these tips to take better notes online:

Digital Note Taking Apps

Evernote and similar programs like Microsoft’s One Note that are free to use are a great tool because they work right within your browser. You can clip segments with ease and put them within a note. You don’t have to copy-paste it into a text document, you can clip right from the page.

Add References as You Go

Always remember to keep track of where you found information. With digital note taking apps this might be done automatically but is not always a guarantee so check beforehand.

Use Metadata on Your Notes

Another great tip is to add meta tags to your notes. This way you can easily search and bring up topics to review without having to scroll through huge amounts of text.

How to Do More With What You Have Learned

The best way to make the most out of what you have learned is to put it to great use. Otherwise, you run the risk of forgetting it entirely. You don’t want to forget, because everything you don’t remember and put towards your career is a waste.

Thankfully there are many ways you can boost your career and reaffirm what you have learned. The two best methods you can start right away include:

Reaffirm What You Have Learned

The best way to start reaffirming what you have learned is to put it to good use in your workplace. If you learn a great method to manage customer information that your business is not currently using, bring it up to your supervisor. Go the extra mile and create a proposal and send it in. Make it apparent that you will need to be the supervisor on this project, so that when it comes to a promotion you can showcase expert knowledge and the ability to lead.

Start Your Own Niche Website

Another great way to further your career with what you are learning is to share in that knowledge. By starting a niche website and creating exceptionally researched, high-quality articles (or in some cases just reformatting the essays you need to write) you can solidify yourself as an industry leader.

To really make your website work for you, of course, you will need to learn web design, marketing, and SEO. This can easily be learned on your own and tweaked as you work out a great strategy that works for you. By investing this time, effort, and even money you can:

  1. Solidify yourself as an industry leader
  2. Show marketing skills
  3. Show digital marketing skills
  4. Show brand-building skills
  5. Show an understanding of SEO

Doing this can help you diversify your income by giving you a captive audience you can use to make money. You can sell a webinar so that people in your field can also benefit from your knowledge, or you can partner with relevant companies in sponsorship deals.

Most of all, however, is that your website will be a great addition to your resume, and can help you get new, better positions in your field.

Learning online needs to be a lifelong commitment, especially with how fast tech, trends, policies, and more change in every industry. If you want your career to thrive, then learn something new every day.