September marks the beginning of a new academic year. Usually, this brings a hopeful energy of a fresh start and new experiences, but with all the new challenges we’ve been facing this year already, this September feels a little different.
Throughout all the changes we've been facing this year, we have been finding new ways to control and adapt to the never-ending change around us. It is important to continue learning, working, creating, and pursuing new knowledge– learning must go on.
Among these changes, we’ve seen an explosion in online learning. More students are learning remotely than ever before. Beyond academia, professional development has taken on a renewed importance, with more employees learning online to improve important skills for the job from home–and upskill to find new career opportunities.
As a professional, rarely are these opportunities given to you; you have to seek them out! Here at BitBakery, we think it’s important to consider the benefits of online learning and have done so as a team since we started. Here’s why:
Now more than ever, we’re taking advantage of the fact that you can access education from home. There’s no need to travel, no physical enrolment capacity, and you can access expert knowledge right from your home office (or kitchen table).
We recently saw this play out as we attended the Collision From Home conference, a traditionally large-scale, in-person event. After building out a full online conference software system in just two months, we were impressed to see this showcase received with such a positive outcome.
Online education opens up so much for you to learn wherever you are, and from anywhere the course is being offered. Who knows, maybe you’ll take a course from Harvard while sitting on your couch in Kitchener? The options are endless.
Not only will you save on travel costs associated with a typical workshop or conference, you can also save 100% of costs with the amount of free courses available online. Thanks to the vastness of the internet, this can be a daunting task– how do you know if you’re getting the best, most up to date information?
There’s one great local resource that has pulled together a great list of free resources– all you need is a library card. Kitchener Public Library can help you access anything from databases which can help you discover your family's history, learn a new language or skill, or read the latest product reviews before making that next big purchase. Waterloo Public Library also offers a similar list. We highly recommend you check them out!
You’ve heard it before and you’ve definitely experienced it– everyone learns differently! Online learning, In addition to being more flexible, gives you the opportunity to totally customize your learning experience. Choose from workshops, webinars, lectures and more– you decide!
At BitBakery, we have a policy that supports continuous learning, and are committed to partnering with team members to offset the expense of work-related training and education.
As a team we’re continuing to learn and grow together virtually through a monthly lunch and learn series we call Knowledge Nibbles. We share lunch from our favourite locals and take turns presenting a subject to the team. Individually, our team members have been customizing their learning experience online through Juno College courses and more!
The flexibility online learning offers can be a blessing and a curse. On one hand, you can tailor your schedule in your own time, giving you freedom to learn at your own pace and simultaneously complete other tasks. On the other hand, this also means you need to increase your self discipline. If you struggle with this, we have some suggestions:
- Set a schedule
While you have the freedom to choose when you learn, if you struggle with self discipline, a set work time can be beneficial to get your work done.
- Set up your learning environment
Often, the space we’re in puts us in a certain mindset to do a task. If you’re struggling to get in the right headspace, try setting up a dedicated workspace at a desk or table to get in the mood to learn. (While working from your bedroom may be comfortable, it may also put you in a relaxation mindset).
- Find a friend
If you have someone holding you accountable for your work, it can be a great motivator and a great option to bounce ideas off of a friend dealing with the same challenges you are.
- Use the resources available
Whether that’s office hours, discussions forums, weekly announcements or emails, try to engage with the course as much as you can to enhance your learning experience.
Whatever industry you’re in, there’s bound to be one thing you can count on– change. Teammates come and go, policies change, technologies change. While change is inevitable, the important part is how you react to it.
Advocate for your professional advancement and strive to grow and learn. Being thirsty for knowledge can only benefit you in the long run as you gain new skills you can apply on the job. Opportunities are endless, so look around and see what you are interested in!