5 Must-Have Skills For Online Learning

Online learning can enrich your professional career and business. Here's a look at five skills you'll need to succeed as you further your online education.

More and more professionals are turning to online education to further their careers and gain the skills they need to succeed in business. A Sloan Consortium and Babson Research Group survey revealed “the number of students learning online has now surpassed six million, with nearly one-third of all students in higher education taking at least one online course.”

These numbers have risen steadily over the past decade. Online learning can enrich your professional career and business. Here’s a look at five skills you’ll need to succeed as you further your online education.


1. Prioritize time management

Managing your time while running a business and taking online courses is a major key to success. As you improve your ability to plan how you spend your day to effectively accomplish your goals, your business and online education will reap the benefits.

For example, keep a bullet journal to make time management fun instead of a chore. A bullet journal allows you to create efficient lists, pages, and trackers instead of using a traditional planner or calendar. While there are many different bullet journal styles, creating your own and discovering how to make the most of your time can make this unique planning system even better.

You can also practice time management skills by devising short and long-term goals for each week and month. Using a task management app and separate strategic and brain dead tasks for work and your courses. This approach works because, “High value strategic tasks are what companies and clients pay for – coming up with new product ideas, ways to reduce cost and other improvements. However, it is difficult to deliver creative insights all day long.”


2. Collaborate

While most higher learning institutions require some degree of independent work, online learning can be especially challenging in this regard. When you take online courses you have quite a bit of freedom when it comes to how you complete your work, but it is still important to remain motivated.


Photo: Wes Hicks, Unsplash
Photo: Wes Hicks, YFS Magazine

When your schedule becomes daunting, avoid procrastination and collaborate by:


  • Creating a small network of fellow students to offer support when you need it most. Talking to other people who share your challenges can remind you that you are not alone.

  • Breaking down large assignments into smaller, more manageable tasks. This approach can keep you motivated, especially with larger projects.


3. Improve typing proficiency

So much of today’s business communication is done online. Improving your typing skills will not only help you with business related tasks, but it will help you complete assignments more efficiently.

Take a free typing test online and track your progress as you complete assignments. Meanwhile, if you spend a lot of time on a desktop computer invest in an ergonomic keyboard to prevent wrist or finger pain that may lead to tendon and muscle damage.


4. Practice communication skills

As entrepreneurs we may not really take the time out to hone our communication skills. However, communication skills benefit you in several ways. From finalizing business management courses to negotiating with vendors, effective communication gives you the confidence to express your ideas clearly and get results.

Focus on listening, speaking, reading and writing. While online courses focus mainly on written communication, look to improve your spelling and grammatical skills. Poor spelling and grammar can impede your ability to communicate your thoughts and ideas. Apps like Grammarly, Hemmingway and Ginger are great tools to help improve your writing.


5. Get organized

When you take online courses and run a business simultaneously, you have a lot on your plate. Learning how to plan your life, define actionable goals and tackle whatever comes your way requires strong organizational skills.

A lot of entrepreneurs struggle with disorganization … it doesn’t come naturally. However, it can hold you back, block creativity and add to overall daily stress. Spend 15 minutes at the beginning of each day to get organized. Also create an action area on your desk or in your notebook. This area (physical or on your task management app is for projects you’re currently working on that require action. As soon as you complete each action, clear the area and prepare for your next task.


An online education can offer many advantages when it comes to building your business skills. Gain knowledge in a way that is convenient and impactful for you.


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