“Online learning is not the next big thing, it is the now big thing.” The quote by Donna J. Abernathy narrates the changing face of education that has taken a transformation from traditional classrooms to virtual classrooms.
Is eLearning a new concept? Has digital learning been the latest trend in the education industry? No! It was born way back in 1999 when the term was used at a seminar of CBT Systems in Los Angeles. However, the concept is 170 years old but the shape was given in recent years. Even today recurrent waves of new technologies, improved use of the internet, and innovative digital platforms are pushing the concept of eLearning harder on the path of success. Needless to say, the pandemic has taken the world by a storm and has intensely precipitated this transformation from the centuries-old chalk-talk to the tech-talk of the new today.
In the current scenario, distance learning has become a synonym to technological and pedagogical developments. In addition, the economic uncertainty imposed due to corona lockdown has empowered professionals to diversify their skills and gain new qualifications through online skill development courses with a view to competing strongly in the job market.
With all these considerations, it has become imperative to adopt new skills aligned to the needs of virtual learning experiences. Some may have soaked themselves into this learning environment but for many, virtual learning is a completely new concept to understand and embrace. With an assurance to have a realistic vision, it is important to develop some skills and learning strategies.
For students, job-seekers, and professionals, here are some of the top skills for effective online learning experience:
- Persistence: When learning in the virtual environment, many technical glitches and challenges are certain to arise. Students have to prepare themselves to tolerate these problems and persist through challenges. This can happen only when they develop persistence, a master skill to success.
- Time-Management: Meeting the pace with online learning, students often juggle with other commitments. Hence, effective time-management skills become critical. This, in turn, will help learn more in less time with completely focused attention. It also plays an integral role to meet deadlines for homework, graded assignments, and group activities.
- Communication Skills: Written or verbal communication, the dynamics and importance of online communication stay at a high in a virtual learning environment. Students have to learn to communicate their understandings as well as their doubts with the instructors or else they will stay lost in the translation.
- Technical Skills: There is no way to rule out the importance of technical skills. The online learning environment revolves around a computer system. Students need not gain a master degree in computers but the basic skills like email communication, navigating the web, using office applications, communicating through discussion boards, uploading assignments, viewing recorded presentations, and downloading course documents are the prerequisites.
- Self–Motivation: Online students are not guided or driven by any physical teachers or instructors. Students have to stay self-motivated with a certain level of independence, maturity, and responsibility towards learning and fulfilling the course they have opted for. When determined and self-motivated, nothing can cease the growth of students. Thin in turn, will result in the successful completion of an online course.
So, what are you wondering? Look beyond the clouds, go deeper into your brains, and start developing these skills to stay attuned to this changing face of education, the ‘New Today’.