5 Ways to Predict Whether You’ll Succeed in Your Online Class

Have you ever searched up an online class on something you wanted to learn?

And have you felt overwhelmed by the options, the time commitment to complete them, or the uncertainty of whether to make the investment not knowing if you’ll succeed?

Well – what if before you even signed up for a course, you could tell that you were going to succeed?

With these 5 ways to predict whether you’ll succeed in your online class, you can do just that!

Table of Contents

1. Have “How to Learn” Strategies for Any New Learning

2. Control Over Your Learning Pace

3. Use Brain Science-Backed Learning Chunks

4. Cater to Your Learning Style

5. Track Your Progress with Actionable Strategies

5 Ways to Predict Whether You’ll Succeed in Your Online Class

1. Have “How to Learn” Strategies for Any New Learning

5 Ways to Predict Whether You’ll Succeed in Your Online ClassSchool teaches you what to learn, but not how to learn it.

And a lot of people go through school, college and work-life finding new learning harder than it has to be as a result.

One of the reasons this happens is because you don’t know how your brain learns best. You’re simply given what you need to study, but not the tools you need to work this information into your brain and long-term memory.

Brain-based strategies which teach you how to learn are like a master key that lets you unlock your access to any new knowledge.

Even before you begin a new learning adventure, you already know you’ll succeed because you have a “how to learn” blueprint of how your brain processes, retains and recalls information best.

In fact, having these “how to learn” strategies help you sift through all the online class options available to you, because you can tell apart which best align with how your brain learns best even before you start the course!

You’ll find all these brain science-backed learning strategies in Total Recall Learning. This is a ten-day course full of strategies which have helped my students double or even triple their learning and recall speed over the 30 years that I’ve been teaching individuals how to learn.

The best part is, the benefits are lifelong – once you complete the 10 days, you will know that you’ll succeed in advance in any new learning because you know how to learn!

2. Control Over Your Learning Pace

5 Ways to Predict Whether You’ll Succeed in Your Online ClassOne of the “how to learn” strategies that you might not know about is how your brain doesn’t learn well in long continuous sessions.

You might have concluded that you’re not a great learner because no matter how many hours you spent at your desk studying, you couldn’t remember what you were learning, or easily forgot.

Or perhaps you noticed that your attention tends to wander halfway through a class or a meeting, or you stop retaining what you’re reading midway through a chapter or report.

This has nothing to do with how good you are at learning, and everything to do with how your brain learns best.

Rather than take in information in a long continuous string, your brain prefers to learn in shorter sessions.

Hermann Ebbinghaus, a German psychologist, illustrates how this happens with his curve of forgetting.

This curve shows how, the longer the time between the beginning and end of your study sessions, the more you’re likely to forget what’s in the middle if you make no attempt to retain this information.

Here’s why this happens, according to neuroscience – when you’re learning something new, your brain is using a temporary type of memory, called working memory.

Your hippocampus holds on to this short-term memory, waiting to review it and make sense of it in the context of what it already knows. By doing this, your short-term memory converts into your long-term memory.

But because your working memory has a limited capacity, the longer you spend without giving your brain a break to process what it has learned before taking in new information, the more you end up being unable to retain.

It’s like continuously pouring water into a glass without emptying it out first. It ends up overflowing, and you end up losing both what you already had and what you were trying to retain.

If you ever blank out in the middle of learning or work, this is why – your short-term memory simply gets overwhelmed and you’re unable to absorb any new information no matter how much you try.

Choose Courses that Let You Take Brain-Friendly Breaks

5 Ways to Predict Whether You’ll Succeed in Your Online ClassThankfully, the solution is simple. Neuroscientists find that shortening the gap between the beginning and end of your learning session helps you retain more of the middle.

Short learning sessions, around 20 to 25 minutes long, followed by a 5-minute break, helps you keep your working memory recharged and allows you to retain more of what you learn.

This is why it’s important to consider whether you can control the pace of your learning when signing up for an online course.

Does the program have fixed time slots, where you have to make sure you’re present and have to stay for a specified time period to reap the benefits of the class?

Or does it let you pause a study session when you need to, to take a brain-friendly break that lets your working memory recover?

As you can tell, the latter lets you better predict your learning success in an online class, because you control the pace at which you’re learning to better guarantee you get all the benefits out of it.

The best online courses also have in-built review sessions that recap the information you’ve already covered.

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memory skills made easy

When you learn, your brain creates connections between its neurons or brain cells to store this information. The more you review and apply this information, the more active these neural connections get.

Like exercising often helps you build muscle, reviewing what you learn exercises your neural connections and creates a stronger memory of what you learn!

So, when looking into an online class, make sure you check whether it allows you to learn at your own time and pace, take brain-friendly breaks and review what you learn!

3. Use Brain Science-Backed Learning Chunks

5 Ways to Predict Whether You’ll Succeed in Your Online ClassThis is another “how to learn” strategy you might not know about – breaking your learning tasks down into smaller tasks can boost your productivity, motivation, memory and learning!

An online class that breaks a big topic down into a series of smaller sessions works to keep you motivated and focused, and helps you build your knowledge in a more systematic way.

Here’s why.

You know that warm, glowing feeling of reward and satisfaction you experience when you accomplish something?

Like when you finish a marathon, hit your target weight, get a compliment at work, or score well on a test?

No matter how hard you had to work to accomplish what you did, you feel like that effort was worth it, right? You even feel motivated to keep going so you can experience this feeling again!

This happens thanks to the work of the brain chemical dopamine – the secret to your motivation.

When your brain anticipates that something important is about to happen, like you achieve something you want to, it releases dopamine. This is what keeps you motivated and driven to keep going.

On the other hand, when your brain anticipates a reward, but doesn’t end up getting it, your dopamine levels flag. This makes you feel demotivated instead.

So, you can see why online courses structured into systematic smaller sessions covering a topic or task works better than a long, ongoing session.

When you complete a shorter session, your brain experiences that dopamine high and this keeps you focused and motivated to move on to the next session!

If you have to sit through a long, uninterrupted session instead, even with your brain-friendly breaks you might have trouble wanting to keep going because your brain doesn’t receive that same sense of reward frequently enough.

4. Cater to Your Learning Style

Have you ever wondered why you might be good in one subject but not another?

Or why, even if you successfully learned what you needed to, you had trouble applying it and showing it in a written exam?

One of the biggest reasons why students sitting in the same class, learning the same things, perform differently is because schools don’t cater to your unique learning style.

What works for your peers may not work for you because how you prefer to learn is different from how they prefer to learn.

And then, when your learning style doesn’t match the style you’re tested in, you’re unable to show what you do know as effectively.

But when choosing an online class, you have the flexibility to find an option that perfectly aligns with how you learn best – and this lets you predict your learning success.

For example, if you’re a strong visual learner, you prefer to read over listening to lectures. You process visual information like images, diagrams and graphs a lot faster. So, you’d prefer a course that presents information with text and visuals, instead of just a person talking to you on the screen.

If you’re an auditory learner, you’re better able to remember what you hear than what you read. You’ll like a class that presents information in an audio format, because this will stick in your mind more easily.

If you’re a kinesthetic learner, you prefer moving around and engaging physically with the learning material and with the environment when you learn.

A course that includes a lot of interactive tasks for you to do will keep you engaged and build up your memory of what you’re learning!

Here’s an Important Tip

5 Ways to Predict Whether You’ll Succeed in Your Online ClassAlong with catering to your auditory and kinesthetic learning strengths, make sure your course also presents information to you visually – with engaging graphics, animation, illustrations and so on.

This is because your brain recalls and processes images much faster and more efficiently than text!

Compared to strings of words you read or hear, a lot more of your brain participates in visual processing – about 80%!

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memory skills made easy

Images activate both cognitive and emotive channels and regions of your memory involved in processing both factual and concrete information as well as abstract ideas and concepts.

This is actually what gives visual learners an advantage in written exams. They’re able to naturally convert what they learn into images, and recall these much faster than text, sound, or actions when they need to.

By presenting information and associating it with vibrant, meaningful, and memorable images, the perfect online course can double or even triple your learning and recall. Not only do you process and respond to images faster, images go directly into your long-term memory, bypassing your short-term memory!

5. Track Your Progress with Actionable Strategies

5 Ways to Predict Whether You’ll Succeed in Your Online ClassWhat type of turnaround is a course you’re considering promising you?

Is this course only effective after you complete a full 30-day program?

Or does the course provide actionable strategies you can try out from Day 1, which let you experience the benefits first-hand and chart your progress?

Your time is valuable, and with all the other things you need to balance in your life, you don’t want to commit yourself to a course that doesn’t let you see the benefits right away.

In Total Recall Learning, for example, I give you strategies you can try out for yourself to test the difference they make from Day 1.

While you can’t of course master an entire class in one session or one day, an excellent online course distinguishes itself from the rest by letting you chart your own progress and growth as you go along.

When looking into an online class you’re interested in, take a look at what it’s promising you.

Does it define the result you can hope for in vague terms? Does it come with an in-built system where you can track your own progress, milestones and checkpoints?

A course which has a clear roadmap laid out for you, and lets you know in advance what benefits you can experience from each session with actionable strategies, helps you predict your learning success.

With these 5 ways to predict whether you’ll succeed in your online class, you can sign up for the right online class knowing it’ll be worth your time, effort and investment.

To make sure you have all the strategies you need to succeed in any learning situation, not just limited to online classes, check out Total Recall Learning!

Pat Wyman is the CEO of HowtoLearn.com and an internationally noted brain coach known as America’s Most Trusted Learning Expert.

Pat’s superpower is helping people learn, read and remember everything faster. She has helped over half a million people in schools and corporations such as Microsoft, Intel and Google improve their lives with her learning strategies, learning styles inventory and courses, inclluding Total Recall Learning™. 

Pat is the best-selling author of more than 15 books, a university instructor, mom and golden retriever lover!

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