8 Tips to Get the Most Out of Online Learning

As an entrepreneur, you’re not interested in a degree, just to put it on your wall and name drop when applying for a job. You’re focused on the practical knowledge and skills you get through online education. So while the less motivated are skating by, you’re paying attention, so you actually retain and apply the material. You see the connection between what you’re learning and your personal and financial goals. But to do that, you need to know how to get the most out of your online education.


1. Set Up a Winning Work Environment

You already know you’re more productive in a specific work environment. Adapt that to your study set up to succeed in online education. Find a clean, organized, and ergonomically sound space to work. Avoid a spot where you slouch or have distractions from work, TV, or family.

2. Put Online Education on a Schedule

You appreciate the flexibility of getting your online education through an organization like University of the People. You can complete your coursework anytime it works for you, so you can focus on your startup or growing a business.

But be careful! If you don’t prioritize your studies, they continually get pushed to the back burner.

You’ll end up putting less quality time into your education, and that means less retention and more time wasted. Instead, block off time on your calendar to get the bulk of your studying done. And if you need more time, work that in around your other entrepreneurial responsibilities.

3. Network, Network, Network

Networking is critical for any entrepreneur. You can’t do it all on your own as much as you would like to think. Build up a network of peers taking the same courses or pursuing the same program as you are. These become invaluable sources from which to bounce ideas, study, and deliver the best work to your professors. You also gain the invaluable skill of helping others succeed, which will build and maintain productive teams in the future.

And who knows? These may become long-term partners in your business success.

4. Set Smaller Goals

Instead of saying, “I’m going to write this whole 10-page paper over the weekend”, break it up into smaller attainable goals. The result? A much more productive work time. Now, you’re spending less time staring at a computer screen wondering how to proceed. You have clearly defined objectives for each block of time. This one also works well in your work life.

But beware: If you block off too little time for a goal, you may find yourself having trouble revving up your thinking process for the project, leading to productivity loss that happens when people multitask.

5. Increase Your Interest Level

Depending on the type of certificate or degree you’re seeking, you may have to take courses that don’t interest you. This can lead to a lack of productivity and inability to retain the information. Instead of putting studying off because it’s boring or studying while disengaged, find ways to make the information more engaging.

Use your creativity and imagination to gamify learning. You may respond to small rewards for completing certain studying tasks. Or try simple mind tricks that release your brain reward hormones, such as deep breathing, stretching, walking, or some quick push-ups while studying.

6. Think in Terms of Application

It’s hard to learn something if you can’t see how it applies in your own life. One of the roles of professors is to help you see these connections. But you can use this same tip to enhance your own learning. Instead of staring at a page of algebraic equations, think about how that math would apply in a natural business setting.

Everything you learn in online courses is applicable. But where it applies varies by person. So it must be your personal choice to figure out how it applies to enhance learning.

7. See Yourself As an Expert Expanding Your Knowledge

The growth mindset with which you approach learning can significantly impact how well you retain that information. Instead of approaching a subject you know little about as a wide-eyed amateur, think of yourself as an expert who expands your knowledge in a specific area. This will change how you see the information and how it applies to your entrepreneurial career.

8. Focus on Self-Care

When you’re trying to expand your education while also working a full-time job, it’s easy to say I don’t need sleep right now. I can eat fast, unhealthy meals for a couple of years and be okay. It’s only temporary. I don’t need exercise or downtime for mental and physical recovery.

But the truth is you do. You will function better when you are attending to your self-care needs. Life will feel less stressful. And you’ll have a greater capacity for personal relationships, work, school, and self-care. Choose one over the other to succeed in online courses as an entrepreneur.

About Carson Derrow

My name is Carson Derrow I'm an entrepreneur, professional blogger, and marketer from Arkansas. I've been writing for startups and small businesses since 2012. I share the latest business news, tools, resources, and marketing tips to help startups and small businesses to grow their business.