Whenever I mention Coursera (the Massive Open Online Course) to anyone, the response is usually, “Yeah, I signed up for a couple of courses….but I’m yet to complete them.” I too signed up for courses, but I’m actually able to finish these. Here’s what you can do to ensure that you actually utilize this learning resource — and complete the courses.
1. Time Management. You won’t find time for learning if you can’t manage your time. So set a fixed time in the day for learning, and follow a strict routine.
2. Get away, find a place. Tear yourself away from all the distractions at home or in the office. Sit at a Cafe or club and plug in your Internet dongle and headphones.
3. Take notes: I find that the best way to learn is to take notes — by hand. I make my own notes and refer to the last lesson’s notes before proceeding to the next.
4. A lesson a day.Coursera courses are modular, and each module has lessons. The lessons (video tutorials) are usually upto 10 minutes in duration. Take a lesson a day and take your time to understand it. Repeat the lesson if you have to. There’s no need to rush to complete the course.
5. Do the assignments and quizzes religiously.
6. Don’t oversubscribe for courses. While you may be tempted to register for many courses, try to be realistic. How many will you be able to complete for the time you have budgeted for learning?
7. Certificates. Coursera also offers certificates on completion of some courses (at cost). These certificates are from the affiliated universities that provide the course material. I’m not sure if your employer will recognize these certificates. But these will certainly motivate you to learn more. Go ahead and pay for that certificate (usually $25). Pin it to your workstation. Frame it.
8. Update your resume and LinkedIN profile. Go ahead and mention the course in your resume after completing it. You should tell the world about your achievements, and it is good for Personal Branding too.
I hope you will now be able to complete your online courses. Remember, if you do not continuously re-skill, you will be left behind. In this dynamic age, you are a student for life and continual learning is the way to career success.