successful online learner

5 Tips to Become a Successful Online Learner

Various Education & Technology Online Education

Whenever we talk about success of online learning, we emphasize on the skills and capabilities of an instructor. It never strikes us that even learners have an equally important role to play.

In this post, Rosmery Ribera – an expert in teaching English language and a CO16 presenter shares her tips on ‘how to be a successful online learner’. Educators must take notice of this as this would help them turn their learners into successful learners.

Online learning is here to stay. Whether we take advantage of this ongoing education process is up to each of us. We just need some time and much determination in order to be rewarded.


Some skeptics might argue that knowledge gained on MOOCs is not recognized by their employers nor help them build their professional C.Vs. These people have the impression that the certificates obtained do not have the support of “important” educational institutions. And therefore, they are not “valid”.

Nevertheless, that will change sooner than we think. So, if we start learning online now and we start “collecting” certificates, we will be way ahead of those who doubted about the value of MOOCs as a professional development tool.


How to Be a Successful Online Learner

Online courses are challenging for rookies. The first hurdle is procrastination. We tend to leave tasks for the last minute, which is not a good idea when you study online. Remember that the most valuable learning will come in the form of peer-correction.

#Tip 1: Open your course page on Mondays, complete as many assignments as you can, and post them to get feedback.  Being one of the first ones to present papers will give you the chance to have an improved work for the next phase of the course.


The second difficulty is understanding technology. Nonetheless, this is only challenging at the beginning.

#Tip 2: If you are a visual learner, use YouTube videos or just watch the great tutorials that every platform provides. Explore everything, be curious, experiment. You won´t break it!

#Tip 3: Next, time management is something you need to be a successful online learner, too. Set aside 30 minutes a day to visit your course. On Mondays, you will need at least 1 hour since you need to read and research. Make it a goal turning in your work no later than every Wednesday. On Thursdays, give feedback to your classmates.

#Tip 4: To continue, an online learner must use social media to build a solid PLN. In my own experience, it was not easy at the beginning, four years ago I would sign up for courses that got my attention but I was not able to finish any of them It was frustrating because the technology and the methods were new to me. The best thing about my failure was that I got to build a strong PLN.


#Tip 5: Finally, it is crucial that you become an independent learner. The knowledge you get during a MOOC should not stay in a theoretical state. Make sure you apply, adopt and adapt, and reflect on it.

For example, I make sure that I select a real problem I have in my classroom and I try to find creative solutions during the course. I am currently taking a course called “eTextbook Teachers” offered by TESOL and its Electronic Village Online (EVO). This session’s mission states:In 5 weeks (Jan. 11th – Feb. 14th, 2016), collaborate with over 500 teachers worldwide to design the 1st chapter of a digital textbook that meets your students’ needs. Receive support from 18 moderators with experience in publishing, editing, and materials design.”  What I learned during the #ELTEbookEVO allowed me to create my first electronic book! You can take a look at my creation here:



Discovering online courses turned me into a lifelong learner, connected me with awesome people, and has helped me in my teaching career. Now, I have better students because I am a better teacher. I can´t wait for my next MOOC adventure!

I presented an online session  on ‘how to be a successful online learner’. Click on ‘View Recording’ to watch it.



Rosmery Ribera

Rosmery has been teaching English as a second language at the Centro Boliviano Americano - a ni-national center, for about 6 years now. She believes in learning as a way of living and teaching as a way of giving back to the community.

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