Video: Effective Learning

Effective Learning Strategies

This video provides some helpful information about learning to help you be more successful in the program. There is sound, so please turn on your speakers or plug in headphones to listen to the narration.

Study Blocks

To learn complex concepts, our brains need to focus then take regular breaks to process what we're learning.  This is called the Pomodoro method, and it takes advantage of focused and diffuse modes of thinking.  When you're studying: 

  • Work in half-hour chunks of time with 25 minutes of focused learning and 5 minutes of break away from the material
  • After four chunks, take an extended 15-20 minute break, completely away from the material.
  • There are many free timers you can install on your computer or smartphone to help with this.  We use an app called "Tomightyā€¯.

Suggested Weekly Schedule

We suggest the following rough schedule for the weekly modules, which may help you manage the pace:

  • Review the week's module structure and assignment, then start with the first activity or reading and write down any questions about it for posting to the discussion forums.
  • Review the discussions and continue with the readings, samples and templates, and post any questions about the concepts.
  • Review the discussions and complete the practice activities with the readings in mind, but only for the recommended amount of time for each activity. 
  • Again, in half-hour chunks with 25 minutes on/5 minutes off.  Post your activity results and any questions you had about the activities.
  • Review the discussions, review your previous assignment feedback, review this week's assignment with particular attention on the tips for completion, start the assignment (many of the assignments can be split in half easily). 
  • Complete at least half of the assignment and post your work to the discussion forum for feedback/input.
  • Complete the remainder of the assignment and post it to the discussion forum for feedback.
  • Review your assignment, comparing it to the assignment instructions, grading criteria and tips for completion to fine tune the submission. 
  • Submit your assignment.
  • Reflect on what you learned.  What do you know now that you didn't the previous week? 
  • Post your assignment debrief.
This is only a guideline.  You are free to adjust it as necessary to fit with your availability and schedule, but it's important to remember to take regular breaks to help your mind process what you're learning.  There is proven research behind this, but we won't bore you with the details.

Please recognize that it is very difficult for us to provide last-minute support.  We try to respond as soon as possible, but if you anticipate that you're going to need extra help, it is better to arrange a time a day or two in advance, so that we can schedule around it.  In an asynchronous online course, the instructors are not on-call.  We are assisting dozens of students, so we rotate our work schedules to maximize our availability, and advanced booking appointments with us helps us manage our time and students' expectations.