Featured Video Play Icon

Good Online Learners: Making Online Learning Work

What makes a good learner?

Motivation, participation, taking responsibility for your own learning, sharing with your peers, bringing your own pen? Of course the traditional ideas of what makes a good learner can still apply in the digital world but learning in an online environment brings with it several other aspects to being a good learner. This section gives you the opportunity to explore the skills and characteristics that a digital learner needs in order to be successful online.

What makes a good online learner?

Studying online offers the opportunity to work anywhere you can access an internet connection. This opens up the possibility to work from home, in a coffee shop on the bus or in the park. However, this expansion of the working environment brings with it the problem of boundaries. Finding space and time to work online can actually be a challenge in itself if you are battling with interruptions from children, chores or other commitments.

One key characteristic of being a successful online learner is to have a strong time-management strategy. Other aspects of online learning success are that:

  •  students need to set aside regular time to study when they can focus
  • they need to find a place to work that is as free from distractions as it can be – the beauty of online learning is that this can almost anywhere
  • without a fixed class timetable it can be easy to lose track of deadlines so using a course calendar or setting reminders can help

Joel Engish offers these ten pointers for students to make a success of the time they spend lerning online:

SOURCE: Plugged In, 1st Edition Joel English — Centura College

Global Digital Citizen Foundation also have an excellent short guide on what skills learners need to get the most from their educational experiences: The Six Step Guide to Becoming a Better Learner

Use the links below to explore further and in more detail what factors make a good online learner.

Featured Video Play Icon

Participating in Webinars

What’s a webinar you ask?

A webinar is… an online seminar. This post has all the information needed to get you started. Watch the video above for a quick introduction and then read on.

You can participate in a webinar when it is live – either you can ‘lurk’ by simply watching and listening to what’s going on – or you can get involved by asking questions and sharing information.There will be a host or speaker(s) who will lead and direct the webinar and there will also be attendees who form the audience. All the participants will be present online at the same time.

One major benefit of attending a webinar are that there is no need to travel to a seminar location since you can access a webinar from virtually anywhere. Another positive is that you can collaborate across time-zones and countries with people you may not normally be able to work with.


Best practice webinar participation
  1. It’s considered bad etiquette to use a webinar as way to promote or advertise something. Try not to get off-topic in the discussion board either.
  2. If possible, use a headset rather than a built-in microphone as this reduces feedback and noise as well. If you rely on your built-in microphone, other participants can hear you typing and lots of background noise from your location.
  3. Remember to mute yourself if you are not speaking to minimize noise and disruption for other participants.
  4. Use the comments section for any questions instead of interrupting the speaker.
  5. If you are going to ask a question or comment on something verbally, identifying yourself first is seen as a common courtesy. Also, use the ‘raise your hand’ function when you want speak (if your webinar has this function).
  6. Orientating yourself with the webinar layout and functions before the webinar starts will help you get a lot more from the experience.
  7. Log-on 15 mins early to make sure all your equipment is working. check your camera and microphone if you intend to participate.
  8. Always try to give feedback after the session – the presenter can’t see you during the session so has no idea if you were bored, overwhelmed or interested.


Featured Video Play Icon

Google Hangouts Updated

Using GoogleHangouts 

Google Hangouts is a free way to communicate online with other people. There are three main types of hangout.

  1. You can communicate by text chat which is similar to MSN or text messaging.
  2. You can start or join an online video call where you can talk to and see the others in the call – this is similar to Skype.
  3. You can have an online video call which is recorded and broadcast live on the internet – this is called Hangouts on Air.

Michelle Martin (Social Media for Workforce Development) explains the differences between a Hangout and a Hangout on Air:

The major difference between a Hangout and a Hangout on Air is that a Hangout on Air is broadcast publicly through your YouTube channel. That makes it perfect for things like orientations, workshop presentations, etc. And with the recording feature, you’re able to run the presentation once, record it and then embed it in your website, a blog, etc. for later viewing.

A regular Hangout on the other hand can be public, but usually it’s used for smaller, private groups. Also, you are not able to record a regular Hangout, nor will it broadcast through your YouTube channel. It’s a great tool individual career and job search coaching, allowing job seekers to participate from home or another location. This is particularly good for people who may have transportation or mobility issues.

According to Michelle, it’s main advantage is as a small group tool to connect with one or several learners at a time, sharing information,and allowing them to connect to and collaborate with each other. She goes on to say that is possible to videoconference with between one and ten learners simultaneously.

Hangouts can thus be used. for example, to connect to a classroom of people at another location using overhead display on a single connection, or to organise a group chatwith learners at different locations. In addition, while using Hangouts, it is possible to do the following during a live session:

  • share screens
  • chat and instant message
  • share files and documents
Update Sep 2016: Google Hangouts  has moved to YouTube Live  

There are no differences in use except that it is no longer available as part of the Google suite of accounts, as this video explains:


[ts_fab authorid=”07″ tabs=”bio,latest_posts,twitter,facebook,googleplus,linkedin”]

About the Author

Laura Heap