The meteoric rise of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) has made higher education from the world’s best Universities available to anyone with an Internet connect. However, apparently there is a cost to free. That cost is inaction. Over 90% of people who start MOOCs don’t complete them.
The persistent problem of the human condition is that so few people actually follow through on their goals and dreams, particularly when faced with constant obstacles and difficulties. And when most of us have little financially invested in our education, we often don’t fully commit ourselves.
Fortunately, there are a number of easy ways to create a self-directed learning plan that commits you to scheduling and managing the workload so you can finish the MOOCs and other online courses that interest you.
Here are some best practices for creating a self-directed learning plan:
1. Begin with why you really want to learn a new skill or course material.
2. Set clear goals about what you’re planning to learn and how you will track your progress.
3. Structure your time and set reminders to watch video lectures and do the course work each week using a scheduling tool.
4. Create a weekly timeline when starting a new course that outlines the required activities for the entire length of the course.
5. Start a study group (online or offline) so you can stay accountable, ask questions and maintain your motivation.
To make it easy to creating a self-directed learning plan, I’m going to go over the best apps for the web, iOS and Android for organizing, scheduling and streamlining your self-directed learning efforts.
These web apps can sync up with your iCal, Google Calendar, Microsoft Exchange Calendar and other calendar platforms.
1. ToDoIst (Free)
The most fully-featured and robust of the many to-do list and scheduling apps that I’ve found. Use ToDoIst to create projects, set individual tasks, create reminders for due dates and visualize your productivity.
2. Any.Do (Free)
Another excellent option for to-do lists and reminders that integrates scheduling with their additional calendar app for scheduling your time on-the-go.
3. MyStudyLife (Free)
This excellent app allows you to track study tasks like homework, schedule your assignments and create reminders. You can also manage a timetable and get notifications for unfinished tasks and upcoming events or due dates. It works on the web through a Chrome extension.
Organize your schedule and track your task completion on your iPhone or iPad.
1. Study Habits ($0.99)
Created by a Doctor of Education (Ed.D), this app is much more than a typical calendar, organizer, planner, or to-do list. It helps you create a study plan for each of your assignments and tests, then shows you study strategies to practice and learn. An indispensable tool for self-directed learning!
Choose from 36 study strategies to address 6 important areas: memory, writing, reading comprehension, motivation, time management, and stress/anxiety. I use this app to keep track of my online learning, it keeps me from procrastinating and gives me the motivation to finish online courses.
2. GroupMOOC (Free)
An excellent app for iPhone (no iPad version yet) that makes it easy to:
2. Organize each of your MOOCs with an overview of the hourly workload, deadlines and key events across all your courses. You can also mark tasks complete when done and set up important reminders as push notifications.
3. Connect and collaborate with others by creating groups of friends so you can keep each other accountable and share your MOOC experiences. This alone will have a huge impact on maintaining your focus and motivation over time.
2. Omni Study ($4.99)
This student planner and organizer helps you manage and prioritize different classes, assignments and events. You can add the class times to your calendar, create repeating events, set aside time in schedule blocks throughout your week, see the trend of your grades over time, get push notifications reminders for events, create goals and sync everything with your iCal.
3. ToDoIst (Free)
The iPhone and iPad apps for ToDoIst are excellent for tasks and scheduling on your mobile devices.
4. Any.Do (Free)
Track your tasks on-the-go, create reminders and monitor your productivity with Any.do’s great iPhone and iPad apps. Integrates with their other app Cal.
1. MyStudyLife (Free)
Track your self-directed learning tasks, schedule your time and create reminders with the MyStudyLife Android app.
2. ToDoIst (Free)
One of the best cross-platform to-do list and task scheduling app. Allows you to create projects, individual tasks, set notifications for due dates, reminders and visualize your productivity.
3. Any.Do (Free)
Plan your daily agenda, set reminders and keep track of your schedule anywhere on your Android device. Integrates with the Cal app.
If you have any mobile apps or tools you use to stay organized and schedule your self-direction learning, please feel free to share them with everyone in the comments.
check out diygenius! lots of great learning opportunities..