COMM0011 Blog Post #1: Get the most out of your e-learning

You are taking a class and something comes up that you aren’t too sure about and you REALLY want to raise your hand but you don’t because you fear sounding like a fool and the last thing you want is for your peers to think that about you. Your palms are sweaty, you can’t focus, ‘oh no did he just say pop quiz, what is going on, I wasn’t listening!

Sound familiar?

We have all had at least one of these moments in our lives and the worst part is we forget absolutely everything we learned in class. Who loses out, we do and that’s not right! The older we get, the harder it becomes to take classes, not only due to time and money but to the simple fact that we don’t want to fail. Last fall I had to get my First Aid/CPR certification, easy right? The minute the course started the instructor said that there would be an exam at the end of the course. What was my initial thought? Panic! ‘What! An exam…I haven’t written one of those in years! What if I fail!’ I felt anxious for the whole two-day course because of this. Don’t worry I passed with flying colours 😊

E-Learning is about wanting the learner to succeed!

The point is, how can we help professionals develop those career skills that they need to thrive within their industry and have them use what they learn on a daily basis? For starters let’s take away that stress of shame. Now let’s take away the pressure of ‘oh well you missed it, tough’.

This is the best part about e-learning – there is no classroom, there are no other peers, there is just you and the course. This helps to reduce stress and anxiety and lets the learner concentrate on the course material. If you need to go back and watch a lesson again or review the course notes, you can. If you don’t feel like you are ready to take the test, no problem, take the time you need. After all, is it about “evaluation” or is the true purpose of training actually “education”?

We know what the advantages are of incorporating e-learning into your organizations training and what the benefits are to both the employer and the employee – cost effective, convenient, effective, etc.  So, the question now is how can we maximize our learning? Now that we have removed the stress and shame from the picture, how can we make it work for YOU?

You want to make sure that you are getting the most out of what you are learning, if not, what is the point really? Here are some tips for you to keep in mind when you are participating in e-learning training.

1. Take what you have learned and put it to practice

Once we learn something new, whether it be a new skill or technique, if we don’t put it to practice we will lose it. So, once you have completed an online course, try to incorporate what you have learned, at least once a day for six weeks – then see if it becomes natural!

2. Build on what you already know and have an interest in

Select courses that are right for you – that will help you gain new insight into a skill or technique that you have an interest in. If you don’t have a computer science background, you wouldn’t take a course in coding, would you? I mean you could, don’t get me wrong, but you wouldn’t be able to put it to daily use and you wouldn’t be building on existing knowledge, making it twice as hard to follow and risking the chance of losing everything you’ve learned.

3. When you catch yourself wandering, take a short break, then go back

One of the most common writing tips that people will tell you to do, is to step away once you are done writing, go and do something else, and then go back to it. Why is that? Because sometimes we are so focused that we miss a lot of what is right in front of us. Taking that short break and coming back fresh will help you to retain more of what you are learning. E-learning lets you learn at your own pace, so if you notice your mind wandering, step back and take a break and then go back when you are ready. You wont miss anything

4. Learn in an environment that you are most comfortable in

How much stress can the brain handle? When things get tough a normal reaction for most people is to shut down. If you are in a learning environment where you often feel stress and/or anxiety, it makes you uncomfortable and most likely it will be all that you can think about. E-learning helps to elevate this stress and anxiety that a classroom can make some of us feel.

Source: E-Learning Infographics

Don’t let stress and anxiety stand in your way of reaching for the top of that corporate ladder! Make sure you are getting the most out of your #elearning by following these simple 4 steps!

 

 Some simple tricks to make #elearning work for YOU!

COM0014 – Blog #2: How do you tell your story?

Storytelling is part of our every day life. Whether we are doing a presentation for work, telling a friend about what happened at the ball game last night, or writing a blog post – we are all telling a story.

All stories should start with a beginning, have a middle and an end that ties it all together. The beginning grabs their attention ‘oh, this sounds good, tell me more’. The middle lays the ground work, and the end sums it all up in a clear and concise manner. This is important, you do not want the reader to feel confused or mislead in any way. Leave out any unnecessary information that does not tie into the story, ‘I had a chicken taco for dinner. Did you see Jake’s amazing catch? It won us the game!’. What you ate for dinner has no impact on Jake making that catch and winning the game.

Ever hear someone use the phrase ‘he has a memory like a goldfish’?

Research shows that people have around an 8 second attention span – a goldfish has a 9 second attention span. This means you have exactly 8 seconds to gain someone’s interest. After those 8 seconds if what you had to say is of no interest to them, they are moving on.

Keep things short, sweet, and to the point.

First thing you want to ask yourself is: why am I telling this story? You want to make sure that your readers are walking away with a clear understanding of why you were telling them that story. Are you trying to sell them something? Are you reviewing a product? Are you sharing an experience? Make it known early on what it is exactly that you want them to get out of this story.

Have you ever opened an email and at quick glance you know this is going to take you forever to read?

For myself, when I see a long email come in, the first thing I do is skim it over, picking out the key words to see if it will be worth my time to read. Same goes for a blog post. A neat trick I learned while taking a copywrite course, is to bold key words. This not only helps with those skimmers, it will also help you out when you are reviewing it. If you just read the words that are in bold, you should be able to get what your message is. Try it out next time you write something and let me know if it helps!

COM0014 – Blog #1: Our first family vacation!

My husband and I are not much for taking vacations. Even for our honeymoon 4 years ago we just took a couple of extra days and went to Montreal and Mont Ste Sauver. We are not very good flyers, like AT ALL! We have gone places over the years, for our first wedding anniversary we drove to New York City and then in the spring we drove to Boston. We are HUGE baseball fans and we want to visit all the ball parks. We plan to one day do a California trip and visit all 5 MLB teams, for that we will have to fly!

Last summer, we did not travel very far, we went to the Toronto (from Ottawa) to catch a Jays game and visit the Aquarium. Doesn’t sound like much, I know, but it was our first family vacation so it was a very memorable trip. We have twin boys, who are currently 17 months –when we went to Toronto last summer, they were 5 months old. Let me tell you, travelling with babies is crazy! The boys themselves were fantastic, it’s the amount of stuff you have to bring with you that is crazy. We were exhausted by the time we got home, but we did it and it was a lot of fun.

Let me tell you about our Blue Jays experience. We bought amazing seats, just up a couple of rows from home plate. It was a beauty of a day – the sun was shinning, it was warm, a perfect day to have the dome open. We were staying only a couple of blocks from the Skydome and having a double stroller we decided to put the boys in carriers and we each wore one. They had Jays jerseys to wear and we bought them those sound proof ear muffs because it can get very loud at sporting events. Those were a great investment and they had no issues wearing them which was good! We get to the park, walk around for a bit, find our seats, I sit down with one while my husband goes and gets us each a beer. Oh, and keep in mind we also had a backpack full of stuff for the boys. Now, remember I said we had awesome seats and it was a sunny day?

Let me paint this picture for you. We had 2 seats only for pretty much 4 people and a backpack full of stuff, sitting in a busy section at a sell out game, with dome open and the sun just beaming down. I don’t even think we made it through the first inning before the boys started to fuss because they were so hot!  So those super awesome seats that we had, spent maybe about 15-20mins sitting in them. We spent the reminder of the game just walking around up top where it was shaded. We did make the whole game though, which I was VERY surprised at!

First time parents for sure, holy moly! We quickly realized that vacations have changed now that we have kids, and that is totally okay, we just need to make the proper adjustments. Like for the Jays there is actual seating that you can get for a stroller or even get an extra seat for some room and make sure its covered and in the shade! I wanted to go back to another game last summer, just so we could do it right, but we just didn’t have the time. It was a pretty funny experience looking back, one that we will never forget, that’s for sure!

If you are thinking about travelling to a baseball game with your little one(s), check out this article from Today’s Parents for some great tips – something I wish we had done!