Just as a small update, I recently passed my Lean studies that I started in February, as per my earlier article on Learning Lean in ’17 It was more challenging than expected completing self driven distance learning.
On reflection from my online studies this year, I have a few learning points for self directed online work.
Here’s what I learned about online learning this year:
- Online solo learning is a hard graft. Set yourself a small target of one qualification and a benefit/motive for doing it (Mine was to broaden my Agile knowledge, with the fundamentals behind modern process management and software development, as I am a bit of a tech nerd and like frameworks like Lean and Six Sigma, and I like self improvement)
- Set yourself a target for when you want to complete the course (Mine was 2017 – nailed it! Towards the end this spurred me on to complete the darn thing)
- Be prepared that life may intervene and you may need to extend the time you need. Ask your provider about costs for extending (I got sidelined and went overtime – it would have been cheaper to buy a longer course than restart after timing out, but ‘people suck at estimating, due to an optimism bias’ as ironically mentioned on the course)
- Work towards creating your pack of legible study notes for afterwards from Day1. If it’s an Open book exam these really help on the last leg
- Do allow time between finishing the units/online modules and doing the exam. You need time to consolidate those notes, organise, rewrite and do past papers. I underestimated the time for this
- Do the past papers (they help and get you in the zone, do them obsessively to reduce risk/repeat study costs) this is also a good form of positive mental rehearsing for exams. Practise passing the thing!
- Get ‘momentum’ for the exam. It’s hard to get motivated when there’s no deadline if it’s open ended and your the only Candidate. Life with no homework motivated me and I get joy from completing things) a frenzied rewrite of my notes also got me there!
- Do celebrate when you finish, you deserve a reward after the solo effort. Print your certificate if you are a visual type
- Thank the course admin/tutor, if helped you get there
- Thank anyone else who supported you or cheered you on. You deserve a moment to bask in your glory
- Do update your LinkedIn profile, make it pay you back if it was for career progression.
I’ll confess I’ve also planned and researched my next qualification.
For me this worked as closure on the Lean studies and incentivised me to finish. Self awareness and knowing what motivates you goes a long way with distance learning.
Finally, have a rest before you start again, take some time to reflect on what you learned from the process as well as the content you’ve consumed.
Good luck with your next qualification or learning initiative.
Keep up your personal Kaizen for 2018. Continual small-step improvements are always possible!