e-Learning is doubling yearly. Classes, e-courses, e-books on how-to and what-to appear by thousands online weekly. In-person seminars and workshops are limited to location and access. e-Learning allows easy access, creation, and international distribution to a whole new world of experiences -- negative and positive.
Avid learners now feel like there is a smorgasbord laid out before them. It’s like having teachers and trainers crowded into your den. Yet, no sooner do you buy one e-learning material, start reading, and another enticement grabs your attention that is suppose to be even better, even grander. The flow of new material never seems to end -- a high percentage poorly written.
Online learning is now starting its climb up product maturity bell curve. This means that buyer’s dollars are voting, demanding, more well thought-out and written material. As an avid on-line reader, I let out a deep sigh of relief and look forward for this next wave to occur across board.
Studying on a computer screen requires different uses of mind and eyes. Normally we read in a scanning method when browsing Net. Now, with studying, reading will require more deliberate and careful. This increases material understanding, comprehension, critical evaluation and practical application.
Adults who have been away from educational studying for awhile, will need to review again scope of skills needed to study again. Ones they learned back in school. For some just thinking about studying again makes them crawl under bed covers. Those with less break time since their studying days, skills will return much quicker. If good study skills were not previously learned, there will be some struggle or frustration that might be experiences while learning correct methods and creating new habits. For them it will be like creating a cake from scratch instead from a package mix.
Save your printer ink. Don't print out material, rely on your notes and your memory. Taking ink-created notes is just as important with e-Learning as in any other type of learning environment. Yes, I did recommend using good old ink and paper. Note taking isn't just set aside because learning material is online. Taking handwritten notes is a key element in moving new short-term information into long-term accessibility.
If you would like to have a checkpoint or a measuring stick on what you are retaining, take note taking to next level. You will want to preview material, as mentioned next, then begin reading and taking notes. After this, take a break, return, and then type up your notes. While you are typing add information that you remember from material or what you have learned from other sources. Add whatever is swirling in your mind. This is best way to measure what you have retained and what is still missing. If there is something in your notes that doesn't make sense, then you will know what you need to reread and start process again within that smaller scope. You can even ask further in-depth questions (see below).
Review and scan all material. If material is large, scan entire area, then return to one smaller section at a time and chunk it. Read titles, subheadings, and spend a few extra minutes on any diagrams or memory aids. Look for patterns in material. If material is well-written you will always discover one or more patterns. Patterns help mind-visual-understanding associations. Is there a quick summary at end of each chapter? If yes, read this during your preview. Previewing is important whether new material feels comfortable or is stretching you.