Getting the Most Out of Virtual Learning

Has learning virtually been tough? I know, webinars just aren’t the same as everything you get out of an in person class. The energy and audience feedback don’t translate, and nothing feels totally like the real thing.

Between kids going back to school, all of the virtual conferences this Fall, and NAR kicking off this week, I’ve been thinking about digital learning a lot lately.

At first, I was mainly focused on what I could do as an instructor to help improve the digital learning experience. I’ve managed remote companies for a long time and delivered countless webinars, so I had given this a lot of thought already. I kept going down this route exploring new ways to take what I’m doing to the next level, because I think there’s always room to adapt and evolve as people and technology do the same.

Lately though, I’ve been thinking more about the student experience, and how to improve what  we’re able to get out of an online course. I realized that no matter what I do, online learning will never be able to replicate all the benefits of an in person class, and just like my teaching must be adapted, so does the way we, as students, absorb information and implement concepts.

So, I’ve outlined the top 4 strategies that I’ve seen agents adopt to get the most out of their online learning experience for you below. 

1. Treat The Course Like It’s In-Person Learning

I see people make this mistake all the time, and it’s something I’ve even fallen into myself as well, but when we’re attending a class from home, it’s easy to let distractions take over and lose focus on the course entirely. Somehow when we’re not physically in attendance we devalue the experience, forgetting that this investment in ourselves with education, is one of the best possible uses of our time and energy – as long as you’re focused.

To do this, you’ll want to make sure you have a remote workspace set up for success, but when it comes to online courses you’ll want to take a few extra steps to treat the course like you’re really there. These include, turning off any notifications on your phone, closing any tabs or programs that aren’t related to the course, and letting the appropriate people know that you’ll be busy and unavailable during that time (like those in your household who might also be working/learning remotely). 

If you think about it, this is exactly what you do to get in the mindset – and show respect – for an in person class, and you’ll get more of the same benefits when you treat your digital courses like you’re really there.

2. Ask Questions and Give Feedback

One of the most challenging things for any instructor during an online class is to gauge the audience’s feedback. When we’re in person, it’s easy to see when people need more clarity on a subject, or if a joke lands and then adjust accordingly, to give the best presentation. 

Online however, even when we do our best to ask the audience questions and get engagement, it’s not quite the same as an in person class. I think I say this for all instructors out there – please give us a little help with your feedback in chat so we can do our absolute best to deliver courses you enjoy and take a lot away from. 

If you feel confused at all, or even just need a better explanation, don’t be afraid to ask. If you giggle at something, put a “haha” in chat. If a concept really resonates with you, let the speaker know. Personally, I never think a course should just be someone lecturing at you. The best learning experiences include dialogue and feedback.

3. Only Take Relevant Notes

When you’re attending a class in person, you may take really detailed notes so you can reference them later… because it’s not like the class is being recorded. However, one of the biggest benefits to online learning is that you are often provided with a recording and/or the slides, so you should make the most of the class by getting engaged during the session, rather than taking copious notes ;). 

If you’re being provided with a recording, you don’t really need all the detail because you can reference back to it later. What I do recommend, is taking note of key concepts that you want to remember, and action items that you’d like to take afterward. 

4. Book Time After The Class

Another great benefit to online learning is that you have a little more control over your time immediately after the class. If you can, book some time when the class ends to debrief and assemble your action items.

One of the biggest challenges I see agents face is the ability to focus their efforts after a class or day of events. It’s really easy to get excited about all of the opportunities you just learned about, but in trying to do all of them, end up actually doing none. 

Make sure you book at least 30 minutes after each class – or 60 minutes after a day of events – to plan out which 3 things you want to add to your business, and the 1 that you’re going to enact within the next week. By taking time to do this while your course is still fresh in your mind, and picking 1 thing to do while you’re still motivated by what you just learned, you can really capitalize on that opportunity.

Invest In Yourself

Remember, when you focus your time on education, you’re making an investment in yourself. Do whatever you can to maximize the time you spend on yourself. If you’re looking for a great place to try out these online learning skills, the NAR® Annual Conference kicks off this week (woo hoo!!!) and I’ll be moderating a panel of amazing young REALTORS® on Monday, Nov. 16th, on what it takes to survive and thrive in the first 5 years in this business.

2 responses to “Getting the Most Out of Virtual Learning”

  1. Pat Avatar

    Though I no longer sell real estate, I DO help with recruiting and mentoring new agents in our office. As I AM now 80 years old, I find your advice here spot on for my DVD Great Course on Understanding Art and the Coursera Yale course on the Psychology of Well-Being.
    So…thank you for the reminder on how to get the most out of each of my learning experiences!

    1. Alex Camelio Avatar

      You’re very welcome Pat and congrats on an incredible career!

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