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:
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:
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:
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.