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How to get the best out of our online courses (7/8)

  Image 1 - Clear a learning space for yourself.
Spacer Image 1 - Clear a learning space for yourself.

Online learning means that you can watch at any time of the day or night, but things can get in the way! Here are tips that will make your learning much more effective.

Make sure you have reliable internet access

Different parts of our homes and offices have different wifi speeds, set up in a place where coverage is best. At busy times, others can slow your connection significantly.

Create a dedicated study area

Wherever you study, ensure it is quiet, organized, and distraction-free. A quality study environment is critical; make sure that it supports your learning routine.

Set a fixed time

Try taking the Modules at a fixed time every day, or even once a week, just as if you were in class. Before starting the next Module, try replaying the previous Module's review to help bring you up to speed.

Save tutorial notes onto your computer, or a smart device such as a phone or a tablet.  

Image 2 - Tutorial notes work on your
computer or smart device.

Minimize distractions

Ask others to respect your study time. Turn off phones and log off social networks to prevent constant pings from affecting your quality of learning.

Keep music low, and without words

Play music in the background if it helps. Be aware that loud music, or music with words, tries to insert itself into your brain, making learning harder, particularly when wrestling with difficult concepts.

Try listening to classical music or soft instrumentals. WQXR (, a public radio station in New York, plays classical music 24/7, worldwide, for free.

Download the PDF tutorial notes

Download these notes to your computer AND smart device. This way, you always have them with you, whether at home or when out taking photos. Do the same with the user manual for your camera.

Take one Module at a time

This course is made up of distinct Modules that follow each other, but you need time to absorb each one to be fully ready for the next.

It is best to take a single Module at a time, then let that sink in for a day or so. The learning process does not benefit from cramming everything at once; our brain needs time to digest properly.

  Image 3 - Handwriting notes is a proven way to help recall.
Spacer Image 3 - Handwriting notes is a proven way to help recall.

Pause, rewind, rewatch

Get into the habit of pausing the video. Even if you think you understand the topic ask yourself "Do I fully understand that?" Then rewind a few times to make sure. Later on, rewatch the entire Module.

Handwritten notes help, a lot!

Buy a special notebook, just for photography (image 1, right), and print out these tutorial notes to write on.

Handwriting notes is a proven way to help recall, as you have a record of critical things to look back on. With handwriting, our recall can be so effective that we may not even need to re-read them.

Fight procrastination

Keep procrastination at bay by taking short breaks every 25 minutes or so. Set a timer and focus intently for that period. If your mind wanders, you can force yourself back with the promise of the upcoming break.

The break is also necessary because our brains need time to let all of the information sink in.

Try not to cram

Our brains are not good at taking in a lot of information at the same time; binge-watching is for entertainment shows; it is not as good for the learning process. Generally, we can focus hard for about 4 hours a day.

Have your camera with you

Your learning will be further enhanced if you keep your camera within easy reach. Regularly pausing, finding where a specific thing is on your camera, and then starting again will benefit your learning process.

Use your camera phone!

When you do not have your big camera with you, try using your phone. While many of the technical aspects discussed in our courses might not be possible, all of the compositional and creative ones are!

Photography is hard to learn, so be kind to yourself

Photography is challenging, particularly the technical side, so go easy on yourself. You would not expect a friend who took a half-day course in car mechanics to be able to fix a Porsche. Apply the same logic to photography.

If you have been away from formal learning for a while, keep in mind that the learning process can take a long time to become familiar again.

Want to know more?

1: About Us
2: How our Tutorial Notes are structured
3: How our Recorded Courses are structured
2: IOP-Online, a broadcast quality training channel
5: How our Training Videos are structured
6: How our Learning Management System is structured
7: Join the special Community Forum for your course, get questions answered
>>8: How to get the best out of our online courses<<

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