With students having the option of learning and acquiring certifications from the comfort of their homes, education has become more flexible and accessible. There has been an increase in the demand for cost-effective, innovative learning methods, resulting in the growth of the eLearning industry. Currently growing at a CAGR of 5%, the eLearning market is expected to touch over USD 300 billion by 2025!
If you are planning to opt for an online learning college course, here are 6 essential tools and requirements to ensure a smooth online learning experience –
No points for guessing – the most important tool you need to pursue online learning is a reliable and efficient laptop. Being portable, laptops are a better fit as compared to desktops.
it is imperative that you pick the right type of laptop that best suits your needs. A few features you should consider are a fast internal processor, good RAM space, and powerful video resolution.
You will also need accessories to complement your laptop such as a pair of headphones/earphones, webcam and microphones because some lectures and group projects might involve video conferencing. You can either opt for laptops with built-in headphones/earphones and microphones or USB-connected accessories.
In addition to the basic hardware, software plays an important role in the completion of online assignments and projects.
- Microsoft Office – ensure the latest Microsoft Office version is installed in your system to ensure the documents sent by the online tutor are compatible
- Adobe Reader – there will be instances when you might need to open a PDF document which is only possible via Adobe Reader
- Adobe Flash – many online courses might involve videos which is where this program comes into use
Considering all your coursework happens online and you are required to download multiple files from various sources, it is important that you protect your system from cyber threats that can affect data security.
The good part is that many antivirus companies offer a student discount. So, do invest in a reliable antivirus because it is worth every penny. Some examples are Emsisoft Anti-Malware, Bullguard Antivirus and Kaspersky Internet Security among others.
Apart from purchasing an antivirus program, make sure you maintain safe internet surfing habits and regularly update your system’s software.
As part of your online course, you will be required to submit researched and well-written online discussion posts. A note-taking app will help you jot down your thoughts, record your brainstorming ideas and streamline your posts.
You can also use note-taking apps to organize your to-do list for increased productivity and efficiency. While you can use Microsoft Word for taking notes, having a dedicated note-taking application like Evernote or OneNote is certainly recommended.
Apart from the basic note-taking features, they allow you to categorize your notes, are accessible across a variety of devices and let you share data with ease. What’s more, you can also seamlessly attach images, PDF files and recorded audio notes.
Distractions come very easy for students of today and if you are an online learner, it is all the more tough to stay focused considering you are in charge of your own learning.
Well, there is a solution for this too – distraction-blocking tools/apps such as Cold Turkey Blocker, Focus, Hocus Focus and Freedom among others.
Whether it’s blocking certain sites, sending gentle reminders to not waste time or letting you view one window at a time – these apps help put distractions at bay and let you study when you are supposed to.
Having a planner app or organizer helps you keep track of your online lectures and assignments. As you are dealing with multiple tasks and deadlines, you need to be at the top of your game.
You can turn to calendar apps such as Any.do, TimeTree, and My Study Life which will help you manage your time and stay organized.
These calendar apps help you keep track of your lectures, schedules, submissions, and will ensure you don’t miss any deadline through in-app notifications, alarms, and notes.
While the above tools and technologies are a necessity for online learners, the biggest asset students need in order to succeed in an online learning environment is self-motivation.
Unlike a physical class where you are bound by attendance and strict agenda; online courses rely primarily on the student. You are expected to repeatedly motivate yourself to concentrate and complete your online course with sincerity and dedication to succeed and make the most of it. So, get these useful tools today and set yourself up for online learning success.
About the Author:
A writer and artist, Adela Belin is passionate about sharing stories with a hope to make a difference in people’s lives and contribute to their personal and professional growth.