How to complete self-paced courses


Did you know that most online courses are never completed?  The Open University suggests the completion rate is anywhere between 0.7% and 52.1% and yet, I bet you've bought some (possibly from me).  Do you have a pile of them somewhere sitting unfinished?  The good news is you're not alone and the even better news is that you can complete them!  Harvard Business School's online programs are completed 85% of the time.  


It's not just courses, is it?  I bet you've got piles of books, podcasts, videos, challenges, webinar replays that you've not got around to completing?  If you could complete 85% of the courses and resources you thought you would this year, what difference would that make to your performance as we end 2019?


What do you need to help you complete those courses (or books or replays)?  The three most common answers are:


TIME

There's never enough of it, but especially when it comes to self-paced learning.  There always seems to be other priorities competing for your time and attention.  Some people find blocking out time for their learning helps - you'd do that if you had to attend a live class, so why not try it?


SUPPORT

You might have signed up for a course because it was really interesting or important for you, but was it important for anyone else that you completed it?  Have you even told anyone you registered?  Letting those around you know that you are prioritising course work can help them to understand that interruptions are not helpful.  Try talking to your manager about the support you need and no doubt, they'll be delighted to support you.  They might even know of a project you could get involved in to help you practice what you learn.


LEARNING SKILLS Most people think they know how to learn, but how do you make sure you're really learning it and not just skimming through the content enough to pass the quiz at the end?  How do you know that the way you're taking notes is actually helping you to learn?  Try discussing what you've learned with someone else.  To do this, you'll need to put what you've learned into your own words, perhaps including a relevant example to help the other person understand.  A great side-effect of this is that by processing what you've learned this way, you'll understand it better too and will be much more likely to remember it.


There are so many other tools, tips and techniques you can use to help you complete self-paced courses (and actually learn from them).  


What would help you complete and get the most out of self-paced courses?




Sources:  http://oro.open.ac.uk/43566/ and https://www.thecrimson.com/article/2014/11/4/hbx-expansion-completion-rate/

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