Online classes typically provide a great deal of flexibility in terms of when and where you complete the coursework. However, with greater flexibility comes increased responsibility. To be successful in an online CME course, some key steps must be taken. You must provide yourself with the structure and organization that a traditional classroom provides, as well as hold yourself accountable for your work and studies.
Online CME courses are popular now more than ever. This popularity is thanks to factors such as utmost flexibility. Now, any physician, pharmacist, and other medical personnel can earn real CME credits anytime, anywhere. What’s more, they’re not subject to travel or time restrictions put in place due to pandemics such as coronavirus. Online CME programs are also pretty cost-efficient. While there’s no denying the incredible benefits of an online CME program, your success is your responsibility. That is why we’ve outlined tips to help you get the most from your online CME course even when working full-time.
Tips for Success in Your Online CME Course
1. Choose a Format that Works for You Best
Online CME courses are not a one size fits all. They come in different formats such as text only, live recorded lecture courses and interactive courses among many others. What works for your colleague may not work for you. Before you sign up for any of the mentioned CME formats, take time to analyze each one, to see which one suits you best so you can get the most out of it.
2. Familiarize Yourself with Online Learning beforehand
To set yourself up for success when taking an online CME program, familiarize yourself with online learning practices first. If you’ve chosen the live recorded lecture courses, take the time to know what is expected of you. For instance, what software do you need? In a nutshell, learn all the technical as well as non-technical requirements of the program beforehand, so things can be smooth sailing once you start.
3. Eliminate Distractions
Nothing stands in the way of success in e-learning like distractions. You cannot fully immerse yourself into the lecture if your chatty workmates surround you. Neither can you get anything out of your online class if you’re at home blasting loud music.
In other words, online learning is all about self-discipline. Start by creating an excellent workspace. For instance, if you’ve decided you’ll be taking your online CME course from home, create a home office where you can lock yourself up to prevent any distractions from loved ones. If you’re going to take your classes from work, find the best space where your co-workers can’t distract you. Let them know you’ll be unavailable at a particular time, so they don’t disturb you. Turn off phone notifications or even better, turn your phone off.
4. Identify Your Goals
The earlier you decide what you want out of the course, the easier it’ll be for you to work towards it. For instance, are you just trying to earn CME credits, or are you trying to improve your knowledge and get promoted at work? Knowing what you want from the word go will motivate you to stay dedicated to the learning process.
5. Don’t Hesitate to Ask for Help
Most online learners often make the mistake of failing to ask for help when they need it. Don’t be among them. Online CME instructors are there to propel you to success. Always reach for help whenever you feel swamped or overwhelmed.
6. Be Aware of Your Available Resources
Read the syllabus as soon as you receive the introductory email from your professor! It will most likely have all the information, websites, due dates, and so on that you will need to excel in the class. After you’ve found the web platforms you’ll be using to complete your coursework, bookmark them on your computer so you don’t lose them. Also, if there are web or library resources available to you, be aware of where they are in order to assist with assignments throughout the course.
7. Make Sure to Record Your Previous Work
This is an important part of staying organized in an online class. If you have a technology problem, whether with the class platform or your internet connection, make sure to save a copy of all of your completed written work. A smart way to keep track of this is to write anything you need to submit on a different platform first (for example, Microsoft Word or Google Docs) and then copy and paste it later. This way, you’ll always have your completed work and won’t have to worry about losing it if something goes wrong.
8. Have a Good Time Management
Just because no one is reminding you of due dates or when you need to finish your assignments doesn’t mean you don’t need to study! At the start of the course, go over the syllabus thoroughly and write down all due dates in whatever organizational system you prefer. Set aside blocks of time on days when you know you will have free time to work on your online classwork. This way, it will not conflict with your other traditional classes or your career.
9. Introduce Yourself to Your Professor
Knowing the professor is a good idea in any traditional, in-person class. If you are unable to do so in person, send them an email introducing yourself and expressing your eagerness to succeed in the class. If you’re going to be on campus, stop by their office hours and say hello so they can put a name to a face. They’re unlikely to know you in an online course, so if you have the option to introduce yourself right away, it may help your grade in the future!
10. Try to Problem-Solve on Your Own First
As you get used to working online, keep in mind that most questions can be answered by carefully reading instructions and going over each module. Though professors are ready to answer your questions, it may be more productive to first try to resolve the issue yourself by reading or surfing the internet rather than sending multiple emails throughout the day for each problem you’re facing.
While it’s true online learning is advantageous, trying to juggle between a demanding full-time career in medicine, personal commitments and now e-learning can prove challenging. However, over 14 million people are doing it successfully, and you too can be one of them by following the tips above and enrolling in the best online CME courses available on University Learning.