Successful Online Learning – Part One: Eat That Frog

In his book Eat That Frog, Brian Tracey says we can get more of the important things done by ‘eating that frog’ as one of the first tasks for the day.  By that he means do the thing you find most unsavory for the day ahead.

For many Reluctant Learners that frog is working on their Online Learning Program, and it is well established that online learning programs have very high non-completion rates – some as high as 97%.  One cause of this is the perception that online study can be done any time, and many online learners put it off, usually in favour of tasks they perceive as more urgent or important.

This causes them to delay study until they get so far behind, they simply cannot catch up, and ultimately don’t complete the work.  In other cases, they simply watch the videos or listen to the podcasts and don’t do the exercises or take time to put new knowledge and skills into practical use.  The result then is both their wasted time and no real performance improvement benefits.

So, what’s the ‘Eat That Frog’ Lesson?

Simple really, make learning or study one of the priorities for your day, make it the frog you’ll eat first.  The morning is also when your mind is at its freshest and is the best time to learn.  This may mean waking a little bit earlier than normal, which can also be a nice quiet time to focus. Make your studies one of the first tasks of the day, before things get away from you.

The Path to Success in Online Learning

If you’re doing Online Learning, it is vital to commit to doing some of it each day. With my online MBA students, I recommend they commit to an hour each day, which equates to the time a classroom student needs to put in each week – 3 hours in class plus 3 hours external research study and putting new knowledge and skills into practice.

Online learning programs are generally designed in bite sized modules, which makes them perfect for this approach.  At the start of the week, map out what you’ll work on each day, and put it in your online calendar, with a reminder alert on when to start it.  Be sure to build in time for the suggested exercises, and map out what actions you will take to put your new knowledge and skills into use.

Don’t put your study off, and don’t try to ‘blitz’ it in long study sessions.  Slow and steady wins the race.  An hour each day is almost always more than enough to get the most from an online program, and when you do that in a disciplined and consistent way, the learning really sticks.

And when you complete your study early each day, you’ll have eaten that frog, and the rest of the day will flow better.  You may even be able to put your new knowledge and skills into immediate use.  Take it from me, this approach works and will give you the ability to excel.

Want to learn more about the Reluctant Learner, and how to become a Super Studier?

For more details on how to significantly improve the ease and quality of your learning, and overcome Reluctant Learner Syndrome, watch for Bill’s next article.

Leadership’s Role in Successful Online Learning

If you’re in a leadership or L&D role asking people to complete online study, you must read Bill’s upcoming article on six leadership tips for ensuring your people, team, and organization gets full value from the online learning you’re paying for.

Bill Jarrard, Mindwerx International

[email protected]

Bill is a Fellow with the ILP, and the ILP Regional Advocate in Victoria

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