eLearning dos and don'ts: get the most out of your training

John Sherman

Some people hear the word “eLearning” and they might assume that it’s a “passive” method of studying. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Being a successful online learner means applying discipline to yourself and being in control of your own motivation. Here are some eLearning dos and don’ts to keep in mind when studying online.

Being in control of your own motivation doesn’t mean that eLearning should be a grueling challenge in self-discipline, though. You simply might need to adjust your strategy a bit. For a successful eLearning journey, there are some basic eLearning dos and don’ts that will ensure you get the very best from your effort and motivation.

1. Do Shift Your Attitude Towards Learning 

Numerous studies have already proven the power of positive thinking and just how effective our minds can be when it comes to altering our entire perception on things. As an eLearner, the first and most important thing you can do is to shift your attitude towards study from thinking of it as a chore and turning it into something you enjoy.

Some simple ways to improve your study mindset, as recommended by psychologist Dr. John M. Grohol, include:

  • Avoid catastrophic thinking, and always try to find the upside in a situation.
  • Always think positively as you study, and if you’re not feeling positive then step away and do another task until your mindset has changed.
  • Don’t compare yourself with others, whether it’s students or peers, as this approach never helped anyone to succeed.

2. Do Have A Reliable Internet Connection 

It might seem simple, but it’s also one that slips a lot of people’s minds. When you study online, you should imagine your computer and internet access just as important as the physical settings in a typical classroom.

Would you be able to succeed in studying effectively without notebooks, textbooks, pens, paper, or a chair to sit in? Then you should consider your internet access equally critical. Have this organized before you begin studying so that you’re not left with any distractions if the internet decides to cut out mid study session. Avoid opening multiple tabs and watching cat videos and you’ll be way ahead of the game.

3. Do Take Study Breaks 

Absolutely crucial to any student’s success, but even more for the eLearner is the necessity of taking regular study breaks. When we attend college or school our breaks are already planned out for us, but when we’re forced to make our own schedules we can forget how important these are.

Set yourself some smaller study breaks and plan towards them. According to guidelines set out by MIT, a 10-minute study break every 50 minutes is ideal. After this you can add a larger break of 30 minutes or more every couple of hours. These will not only be great goalposts to work towards, but they’ll help you feel refreshed and rejuvenated for your next study session.

4. Don’t Be Afraid To Seek Out Help From All Avenues 

Being an eLearner can feel isolating at times. Rather than interacting face to face with fellow students and speaking directly to your instructor for help, the online learner might find themselves feeling a little lonely. This is normal with an online setting, but it doesn’t mean there aren’t other ways for you to communicate with others.

Most respected eLearning providers will have this covered with a range of communication methods designed to keep you in touch with students and teachers. These are here for a very specific reason, so make sure you reach out on discussion boards, emails, and in group settings whenever you can.

5. Don’t Just Assume You Can Study Anywhere 

One of the best things about learning online is that you can do it from just about anywhere, but you still need to be smart about where you choose to study. Any area filled with distractions such as a TV room or loud cafeteria filled with rowdy people probably isn’t going to be conducive to studying.

If you like to study on the go, think about breaking up your lessons to suit different times and places. Read your notes on the train ride home each day, save online quizzes and assessments for when you’re home and at your desk, and watch educational videos when you have your headphones handy. Being an eLearner means you have a world of possibilities for where and when you study, so you need to use them wisely.

6. Don’t Proceed Without A Plan 

When you’re an online student, you can often feel left to your own devices when it comes to planning your study schedule. For those who attend college or training seminars, the days, weeks, and even years have been planned out for you so you know where and when you’ll be learning new modules.

It’s extremely important for the eLearner to spend some time each day and week to reassess their schedules. When you begin your study session, you should plan the modules out to the best of your ability, and then adjust these each day and week to suit your availability. Have a daily checklist of what you want to achieve, and a clear outline of when assignments and other important milestones are due. As an eLearner, nobody is going to be doing this for you so it’s crucial to develop strong organizational skills for yourself.

7. Making eLearning Effective For You 

Although these form some blanket rules for effective eLearning strategies, there might be some that work uniquely for you. Just like anything worth doing, it will take time and patience to understand how you best work with an eLearning schedule and what times and methods work in your favor.

With so many benefits to be had from eLearning, whether it’s in a corporate setting or for your own personal educational goals, it makes sense to give it the very best shot. Understanding what makes this style of learning so unique and using it to your advantage will put you miles ahead of other students.


Go1 helps millions of people in thousands of organizations engage in learning that is relevant, effective and inspiring.
Latest stories and insights