Project Management

Boost Your Career From Home: How to Get the Most Out of Online Learning

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Boost Your Career From Home: How to Get the Most Out of Online Learning

By Yasmina Khelifi, PMP

As the world works to return to some sense of normalcy, you, like many others, may find yourself spending more time on your digital devices than ever before. Whether it’s completing work tasks, communicating virtually with project teams or staying in touch with family and friends, we’re all relying on technology more than ever to stay connected.

But are you making the most of it?

If you find yourself with gaps of free time throughout the week, now is the time to consider taking an online course. Not only is it important to boost your project skillset during this crisis, but many organizations—including PMI—are now offering a number of courses and learning resources at no cost.

I know from personal experience how beneficial it can be. A few years ago, a friend of mine became a data scientist thanks to online lectures. I decided to try out online learning for myself, and it changed my life. I enjoyed the freedom of taking the helm of my professional development and the flexibility of having my learning at my fingertips. I also enjoyed challenging myself to learn something new, interacting with international cohorts and gaining a fresh perspective through peer reviews while developing my critical skills.

Online learning is a convenient way to build your knowledge and skills, but it’s not a cakewalk—you only get out what you put in.

Here are some lessons learned that I have gleaned from the experience:

1. Define your objectives

First, consider your goals. Are you dreaming of:

  • earning a project management certification?
  • acquiring or improving technical skills?
  • mastering project management software?
  • learning a foreign language or another key asset to help build stronger global bonds?

Setting clear and reasonable objectives will help guide you through the labyrinth of online learning choices. Think about what skills you want to learn and how they can be applied to your work in the future.

2. Choose your methodologies

The formats, length and duration of courses—as well as the personal and financial investment—vary across platforms. Before taking the plunge, ask yourself these crucial questions:

  • How do you learn?
  • How many hours can you dedicate per week to learning?
  • Are you ready to enroll in a four-week course, or would you prefer to gain insights about a topic during a two-hour webinar?
  • Do you prefer on-demand, self-paced courses over live courses?

The answers to these questions will guide you to the most appropriate courses—and help avoid wasting time and money.

3. Stay the course

Now that you’ve enrolled, the real work begins. Here are some tips to keep you moving forward:

  • Write your learning goals on a sticky note, and keep it somewhere you’ll see it often.
  • Create a study plan.
  • Dedicate time in your schedule to completing homework.
  • Evaluate the progress you’ve made, rather than what remains.
  • Exchange notes and commentary with your classmates to amplify learning.

Organization and perseverance will help guide you to successful outcomes.

4. Practice what you’ve learned

As you progress through your coursework, jot down learnings you can apply to your projects. Take the time to consider how to turn new knowledge into actions.

Exploit any opportunity! For instance, I completed an online communications course from a business school on how to craft messages for presentations. I now rehearse more for any project presentation, taking into account that new knowledge.

Online learning can provide stunning benefits—if you’re willing to put in the work.

Leave a comment below sharing your experiences with online learning and how you’re taking charge of your professional development.

Posted by Yasmina Khelifi on: May 15, 2020 03:09 AM | Permalink

Comments (17)

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Hi Yasmina, in addition to what you've already mentioned I would suggest also adding some form of a cost benefit analysis to assess whether you will be able to use knowledge gained from the course to recoup your investment (time, money etc.) in some way.

It would be great if you could point to some leading online learning resources such as Coursera and Udemy to guide readers.

Hi Joy,
Thank you for having taken time to read the post and your feedback. Cost benefit analysis is not necesarily part of the criteria I use for my personal learning but it is a new angle to look from and definitely worth adding. Well, there are many online courses and platforms around the world. I used many and could not quote them all. Stay safe! Yasmina

Good article Yasmina!

Hi Drake thank you for your time to read my blog post. I hope it is helpful for you. Stay safe! Yasmina

Good post Yasmina. The only problem i see is the practical appliance without opportunities to apply what you learn it could be a waste of money the certification (not of knowledge) is better to keep for online free education.

Thank you, Yasmina. Taking advantage of the plethora of available content is great for one's professional development.

Hi Andrew thank you for your insightful comment. Thank you for your time ans stay safe!

Hi Alexandre thank you for your feedback and for your time. Well, it depends the angle from where you take it. I have to admit I am not very objective: yes perhaps sometimes I waste money and do not have a return on investment. I have written from my personal experiences and this great to see othzr viewpoints.Stay safe! Yasmina

Great points and solid advice Yasmina. Thanks for sharing this great piece.

Thanks for you have shared this post. I read it and it is useful. I took in to cosideration for using the ideas (the steps outlined). So, I hope I can get the most from my online learning endeavors.
Engdaw Admasu

Hi Rami, thank you for your kind comment and time. Stay safe! Yasmina

Hi Engdaw thank you for your nice comment and for taking the time to read the post. I hope it can be useful to you. Stay safe! Yasmina

I continue to get frustrated by people who want to change the course. Plenty of people to strategize and pontificate. Very few to do work.

Great. Thanks Yasmina

Hi Joshua, thank you for your comment and your time to read the post. Stay safe! Yasmina

Hi S. Gino Ariel, thank you for your kind feedback and your time. Hope it will be of help. Stay safe! Yasmina

Great post! Thank you for tips. Fully agree that having a study plan is key. I had one when I did my pmp certification, I was very rigorous and worked.
Now, I'm trying to learn about IoT in my "free" time, and doesn't work...can't find time.

So, thank you thank you for the reminder, I will need to block my agenda or something.

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