8 Essential Soft Skills Your Online Learners Need For 2017
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Soft Skills In eLearning: What Your Online Learners Need For 2017

eLearning courses are an excellent way for individuals to acquire knowledge from anywhere in the world. However, this delivery method comes with its own unique challenges and considerations that eLearning professionals and online learners must consider. Here are 8 extremely important soft skills that online learners need so as to get the most from your eLearning course and their day-to-day lives.

1. Mental Clarity And Focus

This might sound deceptively easy, but it's one of the toughest soft skills for many online learners to fine-tune. eLearning gives online learners the flexibility to choose where they learn. While this is often seen as one of the perks of eLearning, it can also be one of the pitfalls. Encourage your online learners to create a dedicated learning space where they can focus completely on the class without external distractions. You can also de-clutter your eLearning course design to enhance their mental focus.

2. Active Communication

Online collaboration and communication is a crucial part of the learning process. Online learners must be able to ask questions and express themselves throughout the eLearning course. While they may be used to raising their hand and asking a question directly, they will need alternative channels to get their message across in an eLearning course. Creating virtual office hours or giving online learners the option to email you questions can go a long way toward enhancing their learning. Make your online learners feel comfortable asking for help when they need it. Fostering a supportive and communicative learning culture is also of the upmost importance.

3. Time Management

Time management is essential in asynchronous learning environments where online learners can go at their own pace, as each individual must allocate their time effectively and stay on top of organization. Encourage online learners to use productivity apps and set milestones for important goals and projects. For example, break long-term goals into smaller tasks so that online learners can track each phase.

4. Self-Motivation

Online learners often assume their virtual courses will be simpler than a standard class. It is best to dispel this myth early on and clarify expectations. Let them know what's required in order to complete the eLearning course and intervene when necessary. For example, a particular online learner seems to be falling behind or failing to meet critical deadlines. This may be due to the fact that they lack intrinsic motivation or they are unaware of the benefits that your eLearning course brings to their everyday life. Encourage them to participate more actively and foster a positive learning environment that keeps them engaged and motivated. You should also give online learners the opportunity to explore the subject matter on their own, which fuels their internal drive and increases knowledge retention.

5. Team Building

Traditional classroom environments typically have built-in teams that learners can rely on for support and guidance. However, when the face-to-face aspect of the classroom environment is removed from the equation, learners must find other ways to interact. Set up a message board or social media group so that online learners can get the peer-based support they need. Online learners have the ability to exchange ideas and information remotely. They can also collaborate on online group collaboration projects and build crucial leadership skills.

6. Lateral Thinking

Lateral thinking is the ability to look at a problem from a multitude of angles. It involves a whole host of sub-skills, including creativity and critical reasoning. You can promote lateral thinking in eLearning by hosting virtual brainstorming sessions via social media and online discussions. You should also encourage online learners to challenge and reevaluate their personal cognitions. For example, beliefs or opinions that may be limiting their true potential.

7. Independent Study Skills

eLearning environments are the ideal place to build independent study skills. Especially asynchronous or self-paced eLearning courses. Online learners must use all of the resources at their disposal to complete online assignments and achieve the desired outcomes. Create a clickable eLearning course map that allows them to explore on their own, as well as a microlearning library where they can get the "moment of need" support they need to boost comprehension.

8. Patience

Some online learners want to rush through the eLearning course. They may be busy with other obligations or simply want to put the "mandatory" training behind them. Online learners need to remember eLearning deserves care and effort, which takes time and dedication, as is the case with any educational pursuit. However, patience is one of the most difficult soft skills to develop. In fact, it's more of a personality trait. You can foster it in your eLearning course design by stressing the benefits of active involvement. Actively engaging with the eLearning content requires dedication. Online learners cannot simply go through the motions or rush through each eLearning module. Instead, they have to take their time to absorb and assimilate the information. You can also conduct eLearning assessments after the fact in order to identify areas for improvement. As such, online learners are able to track their progress and see that their patience has paid off.

Ultimately, online learners must take the initiative to build these 8 vital soft skills. However, online instructors and Instructional Designers can certainly foster a positive learning environment. Allow your online learners to get creative as they learn, and work with them to find their strengths. Often, eLearning just takes a bit of flexibility and willingness to adapt. Your online learners will catch on quickly if you help them to adjust accordingly and cater to their specific needs.

Lateral thinking is a soft skill your online learners should conquer, but do you know how to foster it through your eLearning course? Read the article 7 Tips To Improve Lateral Thinking Skills In eLearning to discover 7 tips to improve lateral thinking skills and offer your online learners the opportunity to approach everyday challenges from different angles.

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