8 steps to online learning success

Nov 02, 2020

Leo Norris, Head of Education Delivery at Chartered Accountants Ireland, shares his eight tips to help students get the most from the Institute’s new online education offering.

At the time of writing, Chartered Accountants Ireland’s online education delivery model is up and running for CAP1. CAP2 is scheduled to follow soon after. In this article, I will share eight tips to help you get the most from your online education experience. Take these on board and discuss them with colleagues and fellow students.

  1. To be successful in online education, students must take a proactive, committed approach. The student is responsible for their studies and overall time management. The Learning Hub will record your activity on the platform to ensure no-one falls behind, and you will receive email reminders to complete a session – but it is ultimately up to you to manage your progress. Remember, this is your learning journey to career success. Own it!
  2. Make the most of live webinars. They are your chance to connect directly with the Institute’s team of lecturers. These webinars have a particular function, which is to explain the practical application of a teaching concept and demonstrate how that topic might appear in an exam. Webinars are not there to explain basic concepts, that is done in the recorded lectures.
  3. Your attendance at live webinars will be recorded from November and will cover both your attendance and engagement. These records will be passed to training firms, which are eager to monitor their students’ involvement. Deciding to watch recorded webinars only is therefore not an option.
  4. Give yourself enough time to undertake the self-study sessions before live webinars. The pre-read material is short (e.g. a series of ten-minute lecture videos). Much of the content is “gated”, so some material will need to be viewed in sequence. For example, Management Accounting Session 1 must be completed before starting Management Accounting Session 2. It also means that students must open and engage with the preparatory materials to have access to live webinars.
  5. Take care of yourself, as we are all working through exceptional circumstances right now. Most students are balancing work with professional education and exam preparation in the middle of a pandemic, so schedule time to relax and recharge. Keep in contact with friends, take up a hobby, and make the most of your professional network.
  6. The flexibility of online education is great, but it also has some pitfalls. Do your best to minimise distractions, which could include disabling notifications on your phone or studying during typically quiet hours in your household. Time management will be a crucial element of success, so set short sprint targets (e.g. to view two recorded lectures and take notes in the next hour).
  7. Understand what motivates you and plan a reward for overcoming a particular study milestone, but not the summer exams – they are far away! That way, you will stay energised and focused.
  8. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that online education isn’t the real thing. It is as real as it gets, with real exams to prove it.

We will reach out regularly with surveys to hear what’s working for you, both at a subject level and across the broader programme. Please take the time to respond, as your feedback will help us improve our teaching, education delivery, and course material throughout the academic year.

Contacting us couldn’t be easier. Visit the ‘Contact Us’ page on the student section of the Institute’s website. But first, please read the relevant Student FAQs as they may have the answer to your question. In the meantime, good luck from the Education Delivery Team to all new and continuing students!