Effective learning: How to get the most out of PowerUp courses

Cartoon image of a woman with gray hair taking a DEIB course on PowerUp

This article addresses the following PowerUp FAQ question: "I’m having trouble studying. How do I improve my performance as a student?"

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Learning to enjoy your learning journey

Most of us never had the chance to find pleasure in the learning process. But being a student again, as an adult, can actually be fun. With that in mind, we've decided to optimize the PowerUp experience by making it engaging and, most importantly, worthwhile.

Every time you take a new course on PowerUp, you will encounter a dynamic experience with different mediums, approaches, and pathways. On one hand, our original content focuses on developing skills and is organized to take you on a learning journey. On the other hand, you will come across a well-defined structure that is consistent throughout all courses on the platform. This combination of impactful content and cohesive structure makes learning and studying a pleasant experience, not a taxing one. When we learn, our brains appreciate impactful narratives and familiar structures so that we can recognize and navigate the content more easily.

The big secret to becoming a lifelong learner and, most importantly, enjoying the process, is creating pleasurable and rewarding connections during your moments of study. With that said, we've prepared seven tips to help you get the most out of this journey; and hopefully, help you fall in love with studying and become a lifelong learner. After all, learning has no end date. Even after diplomas – from basic education, college, masters, or PhDs — an open attitude toward knowledge is key. So let's dive in!

7 ways to maximize your learning on PowerUp

1. The journey starts with you: Setting the environment

The first thing to do before sitting in front of your screen is to set up a study environment that makes you comfortable. It doesn't have to be anything major. Think of things that you enjoy, such as a cup of tea or coffee, slippers on your feet, incense, or instrumental music. Minute adjustments can make a significant impact in creating a better learning environment. By including this step before taking a course, you are teaching your brain and body to associate learning with feelings of pleasure and ease. The more you do this, the more fear and procrastination give way to eagerness and satisfaction of learning.

2. Pay attention to the course overview

All PowerUp courses start with an Overview page. Look at all of its parts (modules, lessons, assessments, takeaways, resources) and try to make sense of the course structure. What is implied by the way modules are divided? And the lessons within each of them? Try to identify the general messages covered in each of them. The Course Overview and introduction video are like a movie trailer. They give you clues on what’s coming next and why. Although it may seem like a spoiler, this part has a fundamental function in attracting your attention and giving insight into the journey to come. So take some time to watch and think about it.

3. Writing to remember: Take notes

Most of the things we listen to aren’t stored in our long-term memory. As the saying goes: If you don't use it, you lose it. Taking notes is crucial to help our brain remember important stuff. It’s also a good way to start putting what you’ve learned into practice — and it will help you organize your thoughts so you can more easily locate them in the future. Try to make connections to your reality and think critically about what you watched or read.

Good note-taking doesn’t mean writing down everything you hear. Copying down information doesn’t engage your brain and is not a strong strategy for learning and retaining concepts. So write notes in your own words. Or try to do it from memory. If you are taking notes digitally, you can use apps like Evernote, OneNote, or Google Docs to make it easier. And make sure to keep them organized using bullet points, folders, highlighting, or any other strategy.

4. Finding your flow: How to take the course

Now that you’ve set up your learning environment, understand the course structure, and are ready to take notes, it's time to start taking the course. You don't have to take lessons according to our proposed order. It's up to you. Just pay attention to the content map in the course overview. You can decide if the lessons are independent or ordered sequentially. This can change from course to course, depending on the subject.

We strongly recommend that you do not leave the lesson texts and assessments to the end. As you finish each lesson, read the corresponding lesson texts and answer the Knowledge Checks. These steps are designed to reinforce your learning process.

Some lesson texts also link to resources at the end. Resources can have different purposes. Some present more in-depth content on a subject addressed in the video lesson. Others have a more practical dimension, presenting tools, templates for implementing actions, lists, and prompts. Take a look before moving on to the next lesson and assess whether it's the right time to break the course flow to delve into a specific topic or if it's something you can return to later.

5. Keep track of your time

There is no rule or limit for course completion time. Although all PowerUp courses have the same structure, with very similar lengths, the time dedicated to completing a course can vary significantly from person to person. And don't be fooled by the idea that the faster, the better.

The biggest challenge is being attentive as you take the course. With your full attention, the more time you dedicate, the more effective and intellectual your involvement with the content will be. Don't hesitate to watch a lesson video twice if you feel the need, or reread a text, take a detour to research something relevant on the topic, or access interesting references suggested in the video or text lessons.

As long as you stay focused and know how to measure your limits — of time and energy — everything will be fine, no matter how long it takes you to finish.

This is not to say drop out of the course for weeks, as this will hinder your learning. Other than that, take your time. And enjoy.

6. Assessments: Testing your learnings

Many of us get the chills when we hear the word ‘assessment.’ Memories of school days can be traumatic. But don’t worry. The assessments prepared by our team were designed to function as an evaluation instrument through which you can understand your level of knowledge acquisition. Knowledge Checks and Module Quizzes occur at the end of each lesson and each module, respectively. Try to answer without looking back at the lesson. Trust your memory and your ability to understand complex subjects. If you get them wrong, you might want to review and go over the basic concepts to improve your understanding. If you took notes, it might be enough to go over them. If not, go back to the lesson and clarify any questions.

The Final Assessment is more in-depth. If you feel unsure about it, do a brief review before starting. And remember: assessments are a tool for you to evaluate your performance. Don't be too hard on yourself if you didn't pass on the first try. Take the opportunity to understand what you can improve on and expand your learning.

Another form of self-assessment that is of enormous importance within the learning structure of the courses is the Reflection Questions. The idea here is to encourage you to reflect and take notes on applying what you learned — either in your personal life or your organization. We have prepared brief comments to help you bridge the gaps along with the questions. Every question has space for notes, where you can write down your thoughts and ideas at the end of the course. This is another opportunity to use your notes.

7. Make the most of what PowerUp has to offer

In addition to course materials, our platform has a number of features to empower you through DEIB knowledge and skills. You can follow the latest news related to DEIB in the News tab. Our team expertly curates these titles to keep you up-to-date on what has happened in the DEIB world.

The PowerUp calendar is another feature that can be very useful, especially to guide your organization's DEIB programming. You can access the calendar through the Resources Menu and find a complete list of dates related to DEIB globally, access definitions, general information, and related resources. On the PowerUp homepage, you will also find a carousel dedicated to upcoming events and calendar highlights, so you know what's coming up.

Apart from the course resources, we offer you a vast set of resources covering different subjects ranging from reports to templates and short videos called Quick Takes, among others. You can use the search bar and find the ones that most interest you. Many were made in connection with the PowerUp Calendar and courses, bringing essential ideas and information for your DEIB programming.

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We hope you now have a good idea of what awaits you on PowerUp. Now, you can navigate through the platform, take the course of your choice, and make the most of it. Are you ready to become a lifelong learner?

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