Top 5 Ways to Maximize Learning in Virtual Classes

In the past couple of months, I’ve been an instructor for numerous virtual Agile classes. The outcomes are outstanding. I’ve discovered that the people who get the most out of training do these 5 things. Here are some key tips to maximize learning in a virtual environment.

  1. Do the pre-work.
    Any reading, videos, or other material provided by your instructor to view before class, take the time to go through it carefully. Even though many instructors will cover some of the same points in class, we know that the brain requires repetition to learn – this is particularly true for things that may be very new for you where your existing “patterns” may not always apply.
  2. Be an engaged and active learner.
    Choose a class that is interactive and uses virtual tools that allow you to work in breakout groups, have discussions, interact on a virtual whiteboard, etc. Be an active participant if you want to learn.  We learn much more by doing or discussing than we ever do from hearing or listening.
  3. Take breaks, stand up, and move around.
    Practice self-care. Even during class, get up, stretch, and move. Sitting for long periods is hard on you and doesn’t put your brain in the most receptive mode.  On breaks, don’t just check your phone or emails – move around, step outside if you can, maybe do a few jumping jacks.
  4. Don’t multitask or have lots of programs running on your computer.
    Close extraneous windows on your PC or laptop. Not only does multitasking hinder your learning, but having too many things running can cause performance problems on your machine. Some of the new tools like Zoom and Miro or Mural are amazing but can take up significant machine capacity. It’s also a good idea to reboot your machine before a class to make sure everything is running optimally.
  5. Remember that classes are just the start of the journey.
    Connect with classmates and the instructor to continue discussions following the course. Many times, classmates are a great source of networking in the future. Reviewing key ideas from class sometime in the first couple of days after class helps cement concepts in your brain. Most courses come with a list of references, or other suggested reading – check those out and continue the learning process.

We’re all in a difficult time right now as we deal with the pandemic, but happily, learning is something we can still do effectively. If you have available time, now is a great time to consider a class. Choose your providers wisely and then enjoy being immersed in new ideas and ways of doing things.

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