Online Firefighter Courses
It is hard to deny that there has been a huge shift in education over the last five years. Many students are turning to online educational methods. The fire service is no different.
There are many benefits to doing your Firefighter courses online, and at Couch Courses, we offer a plethora of courses to help you advance your career in Firefighting.
All of our courses are approved by the Bureau of Fire Standards and Training. In this article we will discuss what we believe are 10 of the best tips for being successful in your online learning.
1) Set up a successful learning environment
Working on assignments from a slouched position and streaming Netflix simultaneously is not ideal if you aim to be productive. Dr. Hatten, faculty of USF, who specializes in online teaching and learning, recommends that students choose an area in their home that’s free from common distractions.
“The couch is probably not the best place to be,” Dr. Hatten says. “Get up and go to a place in your house that you can make your workplace.” Source
We like to have a dedicated space to work, free of interruptions. Setting up a specific space in your home for learning helps you psychologically set up and frame your mind to be more productive.
2) Practice time management
One of the major features of taking online courses, especially firefighter courses, is that you get to fit the education into your schedule. The problem that is sometimes seen is that people wait until the last minute and cram as much as they can in. This does not do well for actually absorbing the information and learning.
We recommend scheduling time on a calendar, and blocking off periods of time to dedicate to reading, studying, and performing your coursework so you are not hit with the last minute “oh crap”.
3) Figure out how you learn best
Are you a morning person or a night person? Do you have children who require your attention throughout the day? Whatever will work best for you, work around that strength or commitment.
Are you a visual learner? Print out the video transcripts, and write down flash cards. If you are more of a visual or audio learner, spend more time on your class’s video and audio content. Maybe find YouTube videos with related content to display the ideas in a variety of ways.
4) Limit social media
“Oh, I am just going to check this ding on my phone. ” 4 hours later, “Oh gosh. I forgot to finish my class.”
Part of my routine when doing online courses is to put my phone on silent and leave it in another room. It is too easy to get distracted and fall into the social media one-more trap. This can quickly kill that study time you blocked off.
5) Use online resources
It is not cheating to use other online videos and resources during the study period of a course. There are many articles, blogs, videos, and graphics online around many concepts that you will find in your online firefighter courses.
Taking a Fire Officer Class? There are some great videos of some amazing Fire Officers throughout the United States that are available to learn from. Do not think of an online course as an end all be all. Think of it more as a guideline to help you dive deeper into the subject you are learning.
6) Take notes
I enjoy taking notes, and as a visual learner, there is value in writing something down and re-reading it. You hear or read something, write it, and then have a study book of your thoughts.
The repetition helps solidify thoughts. I enjoy using my iPad Pro and note-taking software. Some outstanding notes can be taken.
The software I use, Good Notes.
7) Make studying enjoyable
I recommend light study music; I cannot personally study when there are loud distractions of lyrics or too heavy of music. I do, however, love listening to classical or chill vibe hip hop while I study.
If you are a coffee drinker, maybe a nice cup of joe as you sit down may be a part of your learning ritual.
8) Take breaks
Take short breaks often, especially when you start to see your mind wandering, or you find yourself re-reading a paragraph a bunch of times.
Set a timer for 5-10 minutes, and get up, stretch, or walk outside to get the blood flowing. It can do wonders for your studying. Stay away from the cell phone or other technology that will hook your attention and be hard to break away from.
9) Ask questions
It is extremely important if you are not grasping a concept to contact your instructor so that we can work on helping you find a way to make the content make sense. Your Couch Courses instructors are always available via e-mail.
Ask early, as many subjects build off each other, and try to stay ahead of the confusion if it were to appear.
10) Virtual interactions
Studying with a group of peers in the library or simply receiving on-the-spot clarification from classmates is obviously not possible during online self-led Firefighter courses.
However, forming virtual interactions through platforms such as GroupMe or Microsoft Teams is a feasible action you could take to maintain that sense of collaboration and community.