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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Training and Continuing Education

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Tips for Web Learners



Tips for Web Learners


You can achieve success through online learning, but it may require a few changes in how you do things, as compared to traditional classroom experiences. The following tips are aimed at helping you achieve a successful and rewarding online learning experience.

  • Get comfortable

Spend enough time on your computer and on the Internet to make you comfortable with the process.

  • Be prepared

Read the course materials carefully to make sure the course offers what you want and you have the required prerequisites. Make sure you know how to get help – both technical and content related – if you need it.

  • Plan ahead

Log onto the web course site before you actually plan to spend time working on the course. This will allow you to download any necessary software or plug-ins and make sure you can establish a good, working connection.

  • Get organized

Set aside significant blocks of time for online course work. Working through an online course can often take just as long as going through a traditional course, and setting a regular schedule will help keep you on track. When you sit down at the computer to work, make sure you have all supplies you will need (i.e., pen and paper).

  • Depend on yourself

You must provide your own motivation. Use the tools available to you in the courseware, including help sections and e-mail comments links. Be aware of how far you have progressed in a course, including what you have completed as well as what lies ahead.

  • Develop good habits

Take notes for your online course just as you would with a traditional course. Take advantage of e-mail to stay in touch with the instructor or course administrator. Make sure that those around you know you need blocks of uninterrupted time to complete your online course.

  • Communicate

Let those around you know you are working on an online course. This can offer several advantages. Co-workers won’t be as likely to interrupt you if they know you are participating in valid training. Peers and managers can often help motivate you to complete the course. Peers and managers may also be excellent sources of assistance if you run into difficult course material.

  • Ask for help

Don’t hesitate to take advantage of support systems that are set up for course participants. These should include technical support for computer problems, access to subject matter experts to answer your content-related questions, and a contact person to answer administrative questions

  • Don't isolate yourself

It’s easy to feel like you’re by yourself when you take an online course. If you run into any kind of difficulty, reach out for assistance. It’s likely that someone else taking the course may have had the same problem, and help is available.

  • Don't wait until the last minute

Plan ahead to start your online course, and expect to spend as much time completing it as you would for a traditional course.

  • Don't get in over your head

Make sure you are ready for online learning by answering the "Are Web-Based Courses for Me?" questions. Also make sure that you meet the stated prerequisites for the course you plan to take.