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Your First MOOC: Key Tips for Starting to Learn

Are you considering learning with a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course)? Here are 5 tips.

Your First MOOC: Key Tips for Starting to Learn
Picture: startupstockphotos/pixabay

You probably already know what a MOOC is. (Read a brief overview here.)

The digital video courses are a modern form of e-learning where interactivity is encouraged. Within a few weeks, you can learn everything about your area of interest.


Countless Topics and Providers

MOOCs are now available on many topics from various providers. In our directory, you will find thousands of online courses (many in the MOOC format) that cover 22 subjects.

If you have found that your area of interest is included, it's time to get started!


Millions of MOOC Fans Worldwide

Even if it's your first MOOC, you are in good company. Countless enthusiastic participants around the world are already expanding their knowledge through this form of digital learning. 

MOOC participants are university and secondary school students, professionals, and people who are looking to continue their education. The two largest MOOC platforms (Coursera and edX) alone account for more than 30 million learners from around the world.


What should you know about MOOCs?  


Tip #1: Invest Some Time in Choosing the Right Course.

You probably already have an idea of a topic you would like to learn about. But even if you find an online course that intrigues you: take some time to look through all the course offerings. It would be a shame if you discovered later that there was an "even better" MOOC!

And how do you do that?

During the course search, select the appropriate filters and enter any relevant search terms. Or browse through the MOOCs in your field of interest. Then you can put the best online courses on your watch list in the Course Manager.

Also, be sure to look at the course pages of the MOOC provider! Often, there are introductory videos along with a description of the content. 

After all, you will be spending several weeks with the MOOC – so it’s definitely worth taking the time to find the course that is right for you before you begin.


Tip #2: What Exactly Do You Want? Set a Goal.

Be clear about your goals for the MOOC.

- Are you merely curious and want to get a taste of the topic?

- Are you only interested in a particular sub-topic within the MOOC?

- Or do you actually want to work through the entire course from beginning to end in order to get a certificate?

It’s best to set some precise learning goals. The MOOC provider will list the course duration and the time it requires each week. Make sure to reserve specific learning times for the MOOC:

"Tuesdays from 5-8 PM" would be a concrete learning plan. As part of our Course Manager, your Learning Planner can remind you about the course.

You should be as disciplined as possible about your learning. Actually, it's like any learning activity: "I’ll catch up later" is very rarely the right strategy.

By registering for a course certificate, you can commit to your goals even more strongly. And that will automatically raise your probability of success.

For example, the international MOOC platform Coursera found that 70-80% of participants who were seeking a verified certificate kept going to the end.


Tip #3: Learn Actively.

Although it can be very easy just to watch the video content, the best results always come through active learning!

These are the most important methods for active learning:

  • Take notes: Take notes (digital or on paper) during the video sequences. You can then look at them again at the start of the following week and before the tests, and you’ll immediately be "up to speed".
  • Be active: Use the digital tools that are provided. Jump forward and back in the video sequence or watch individual sequences several times. All of these activities will bring you even closer to an optimal learning experience.
  • Read more: Look at the supplementary course material. Often, articles or other resources are recommended. Take the time to really look at them. 
  • Take tests: Take all the tests! That means seriously answering the questions rather than "clicking through" the tests. After all, each assignment and multiple choice test is there to improve your learning outcome!

Although MOOCs offer many opportunities, your are still responsible for your learning outcome. "No pain, no gain" applies even in the world of digital learning! 


Tip #4: Interact With Other Participants.

Opportunities for interaction are typical of MOOCs. Usually, an accompanying discussion forum is offered. You can exchange ideas with other MOOC learners, and sometimes the teachers or their teams actively participate, too. Ask any questions you might have about the course materials! 

Read the forums and also answer others’ questions. You help others that way, and you consolidate your own knowledge.

If meetings or study groups are organized near you, they can be a good option. Or use Facebook groups and Twitter for a particular MOOC course.


Tip #5: Just Get Started!

Get started as soon as possible, and get to know the MOOC world from personal experience. Take a look at courses when they start and discontinue them if you don’t like them. Be brave and experiment a little. It might work better than you think.

Of course, you should take some time to select the right MOOC (Tip #1). But don’t be afraid of possibly discontinuing a course. You can switch online courses much more easily than traditional classroom courses. The rule here is that "Learning by Doing" is often the fastest way to progress!


Your First MOOC: Key Tips for Starting to Learn
Picture: geralt/pixabay


Will You Be Successful with These MOOC Tips?

Your chances of becoming another enthusiastic MOOC fan are quite high. If they have carefully considered their course selections, most learners are convinced of the value of MOOCs.

After all, MOOCs offer an opportunity to participate in high quality education from top universities worldwide. And most of the time, it’s free to learn.


So what is the greatest obstacle to a successful learning outcome?

Participants sometimes feel that the biggest difficulty in online courses is their learning discipline. Hence Tip #2 (set goals!). And the more active you are (Tip #3) and the more involved you are (Tip #4), the greater your success will be.

As soon as you start, you will become part of a worldwide learning community that is working together on the same subject. For further motivation, take a moment to look at where your fellow learners live.

And now just get started! Nothing will stand in the way of your learning success with MOOCs.


Edukatico Is Your Search Portal for Online Courses

In our course directory, you will find thousands of online courses, MOOCs, and video lectures from 22 subject areas. Sign in to the Course Manager to organize your individual online learning.

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