5 ways to get the most from a MOOC

Kelly fisher's (1)


I have started my online learning journey since 2013. The first course I took was Gamification on Coursera. I still remembered how I was awed by the new concept and the new learning method. Since then I have gone through over 20 courses. Most of them were finished, some of the not. I mainly hang out tudied on Coursera but I learnt programming on Codecademy and Khan academy.

Here are some of my experiences of how to get the most from a mission open online course (MOOC).


  1. Find out what works best for you

You can now consume the course on your mobile devices anytime and anywhere. What may work for some people may not work for you. I once fascinated to watch the MOOC videos in a nice cafe, with a iced Latte in hand, just like the others. It may work well for you, if you can be immune to all the distractions around you. However, if it is not working, which means you are constantly distracted and cannot let in a single things in your brain, you may want to switch your learning routine.

You may consider:

  • Wake up an hour early pior to work to go through the MOOC (that’s me!)
  • Download the mp3 and listen while you are on your way to work
  • Learn at lunchtime
  • Carry you laptop to bed and watch the videos until your eyelids drop

Try everything, anything that work for you.


2. Write you own notes

I mean a pen and a notepad, not typing notes on computer or electronic device. You could jolt down the key ideas from video lecture, real life examples that help you remember the materials, graphs, charts, mind maps, summary,  anythings that help chunk the ideas in your brain. It’s really helpful for mastering the learning materials.


3. Be a active learner

Do all the optional quiz, participate in discussion, do the assignment, review from time to time.

Sometimes I think I have already committed the ideas in my heart after finishing the video lecture. But it’s another story when I start doing the assignment. I find it hard to explain the ideas in my own words and very often I have to go back the lecture and watch again. Doing assignment is really a good way to test if you have really mastered the ideas, or you think you have.

Moreover, you would be surprised what you would learn from the discussion forum. Participate in discussion help you evaluate what you have learnt and the replies from classmates always offer a new prospective and invaluable insights. It’s not compulsory to participate in order to pass the course but you certainly want to make good use of it.


4. Read the recommended book

knowledge from videos.jpg

The MOOC is only the tip of a iceberg, and the recommended books are the ice under the sea.

I brought Content Chemistry An Illustrated Handbook for Content Marketing by Andy Crestondina ,  a book recommended in Social IMC, and I have gained much more just from a 10 minutes video. It’s loaded with practical tips that a content marketer should be aware of. Highly recommended.

If you are really interested in the topic, you should read the textbook. It’s not hard to reserve one from local library.


5. You don’t need to finish every course but never give up!

The idea seems contradictory. What I really means is that you are not obligated to finish every courses you have started. You may find the course not really that intriguing you thought it is along the way. Or you have hard time understanding what’s the lecturer is trying to deliver. It’s okay to drop it and search for a new one. Just don’t give up on learning. Be persistent! There are many hidden gems in the sea of MOOC that would be beneficial to your personal and career growth.


How is you online learning journey? I hope to hear the experiences from you!

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