(SKIP TO THE “5 Points List” below if you wish not to read the Intro, Point number 5 is Important.)
For the last two years, I was more focused on my studies online and I was following the pattern as suggested by the Edx or Coursera style guides. That is to give like not more than 4 to 5 hours per week, watch the video, read the material or slides and then give the end of the subject exam, pass with flying colors, show the certificate of completion and then forget all that you have learned within days of your study.
Even using the above method, I discovered that more than 70% of people who are even paid subscribers quit their learning mid of the course. At the start of the statistic learning, I felt pity for those quitters as I firmly believed that I am not one of them. I was so confident because in all my degree one on one learning, I never quit any of the courses I started. Thus it came as a shock to me when on after paying 11 months ongoing subscription to Coursera, finally I stopped my payment on Jan 2022 without completing the course I started. I literally joined the team of 70% who quit and I have my own pile of reasons why.
But I know internally I am not a quitter. There was like Cognitive Dissonance on my own belief system when my actions did not match with my own thinking. Thus I began the journey to understand the actual reason why? and for me, the answer came not in all the excuses, but in the fact of the statement, ” I am actually studying the wrong way.”
The first and foremost step will be to acknowledge and accept that online studies are way different than one-to-one or university studies. This is a simple statement and we all superficially use it, but no one goes into deep thinking of what it means to learn from these two ways of learning.
In the book, “The Social Animal” by David Brooks, the author in some lines explains that the physical touch of parents is important for a newborn and the physical presence of the teacher is important in early learning for the development of neurons. It is like monkeys see monkeys do, humans also learn the subject mimicking the nature, thoughts, and other ambiance produced in a classroom.
I won’t argue that online learning is then a no-go at all, but we do have to change or implement a few of the things which we use to do in classroom teaching.
To list a few would be:
- Use carrot and stick model: Give yourself a reward which will release a positive harmones in your neurological system to associate the happiness with your studies. Also, provide yourself with a significant punishment if you fail to complete a task or studies. Though I prefer the Carrot (rewards) over the stick (punishment) but I would like to emphasise their should be a consequence of our ether actions or attitude towards our studies.
- Do not sign up for Multiple Course: We might sign up as the course is cheap, or trendy and keep on adding the list as it is convinient to do so. But remeber its easy to add coursces on your bucket list or shopping kart, but it is difficult to put that course material inside your brain. It requires a lot of hardwork.
- Motivation is a Myth: This comes form Ali Abdaal teachings and you can search on Youtube from the author itslef if you want to learn more about what that point is stating, “Motivation is a Myth”. But in short it means that we should never postponed our studies for a time when we are in right mood for it. It is like going to a job or movie. Fix a time, start the show, the motivation will kick in after 5 to 10 mins into your studies.
- Communicate with other Learners: This is one of the big mistake I have done in the past. Remember the story of the Deaf Frog who climbed the Mountain ? I also made a video on it few years back. It says like 1000 frogs one day decided to climb the mountain, 10 quit at the start as the journey was difficult, they motivated 100 to quit as it was so cold, they motivated 500 to quit as they forgot to bring food, they motivated remaing ones to quit as the journey and idea seems impossible except one. The reason was he/she a Deaf frog. Deaf frog was not able to listen the reasons of the quitters and thus did not join the 70% club. (In this story 99% club of quitters.)
- Repetition is Important: This last point is the main reason of my motivation to write this blog post. And 5 mins before I started this draft I talked with one my friend “Asad” who has recenty completed two Microsoft Asure two certification in last two months. And now I will be going against the Rule 4 mentioned above. His way of learning is (A: Exposure) to go throught the whole material of the whole course, not just one or two sub subjects, but the whole course like Binge Watching a Neflix Series. We retain only 10 to 40% of the content explained in this first run of going through the material. (B: Retention Detailing) Then 2nd time we go through the material in bit detail and slow paced. This is the time we absorb more as we already know the main storyline thus we are well aware where to focus on and where not to. (C: Memory) The 3rd run will be with slides or notes as most online cources have them, this is again a faster approach as we are aware of the content we are in a little bit kind of memorisation state at this stage. (D: Active Reacall) In the fourth or finall run of the whole material you go through the whole content of the course with pausing at each start of the heading/video/slide and asking youself “What is the authour going to say in this content?”. This is the testing phase. The fourth reading is to be done without even looking inside of the content or only go through the content if you are not able to recall what is being taugh. Remember Testing is a Part of the Learning Process. And Testing is to be done before appearing for the main End of Subject Exam.
The above 5 points, if followed with devotion will make the online journey of studies worthwhile. Ya point number 4 is a bit arguable but it also depends on what kind of personality you are. As Steve Jobs has observed and said, “A players like to stay with A players” and “B players like to stick with B”. Thus if you really want to jump from being a B player to being an A player then you do have to put in enough energy to break the threshold. And understand yourself is that journey really worth it?
I will sign off for this post with an open mind to learn further and keep recording my journey on this blog post as well as my Youtube Channel. Hope to see you in the next post, next video, or next life whichever comes earlier.