Learn how online education differs from traditional classrooms while you develop your own personal plan and strategies for online learning success.

In this five-week course, you will explore the fundamentals of the learning process and various models of online courses to determine your learning preferences and which forms of online learning are best for you. Activities address common misconceptions, frustrations and fears about online learning, and introduce techniques to help overcome such obstacles and gain confidence as a learner.

Throughout the course you are guided through an interactive and reflective process by a team of online learning specialists, with the opportunity to join in live sessions with leading researchers in online education.

Learning to Learn Online is entirely free and open to all. This course is offered by Athabasca University and Contact North | Contact Nord. It is intended for students who are learning online for the first time or want to improve their approach to online learning. LTLO is also open to teachers or educational professionals who want to support their students in learning online. Watch our introductory videos below.


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ScheduleJanuary 18 to February 21, 2021 (5 weeks)
RegistrationOpen until February 21 · click here
Intended audienceSecondary and post-secondary students, as well as the teachers who support them, from Ontario, across Canada, and around the world
Workload5 hours per week (25 hours total)
Challenge levelBeginner

On completion of this course, you will be able to:

Each week includes about 5 hours of readings, activities, and discussions. If you pass all five quizzes, you will qualify for a Certificate; there is no charge for certificates.


MODULE 1: What is learning? What kind of a learner are you?
In this first module, we will focus on the meaning of learning and knowledge and discuss questions such as "How do people learn?" and "How do we know if learning has occurred?" Different types of learning preferences will be explored, and you will follow a process which leads to discovering your own personal learning preferences and what this means for you as a learner. By the end of the module, you'll be able to:

  • describe the meaning of learning and knowledge,
  • explain how people learn and how to determine if learning has occurred,
  • identify various learning styles and preferences, and
  • recognize and describe personal learning preferences.

MODULE 2: What can I expect in the online learning environment?
Module 2 material aims to help you understand the dynamics of online learning and to begin to identify possible areas of adjustment. Later in the course, we will discuss these adjustments in more depth and provide you with the tools and resources to carry out your strategy for success. After this module, you will be able to:

  • list the primary benefits of online learning,
  • describe common attributes of online learning,
  • outline the differences between the online learning environment and face-to-face learning, and
  • clarify some common myths and misconceptions related to online learning.

MODULE 3: Becoming an online learner
We will now take a look at some of the distinguishing factors among online learning environments. This module will also explore the common tools used in online delivery of education such as Learning Management Systems, social media and the internet in general. The material in Module 3 should help guide you in your decision as to what type(s) of learning environment(s) are most suitable for your learning needs. By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • describe the distinguishing factors among online learning environments,
  • recognize different types of online courses and identify the purposes of these models,
  • identify and explain the use of common tools used in online learning,
  • explain the benefits of using a Learning Management system, and
  • describe how the internet and social media are used in online learning.

MODULE 4: What do successful online learners do?
In Module 4, we will take a look at practices of successful online learners and discuss the concept of role transition: "Where am I now and where do I need to be, and how do I get there?" This module should take you a step closer to formulating your strategy for adapting to the online learning environment. At the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • describe the role transition from face-to-face learning to online learning,
  • identify practices of successful online learners,
  • explain the dynamics of communication in online learning, and
  • reflect on your personal areas of adaptation and how to approach making these adjustments.

MODULE 5: Your personal strategy for success in online learning
Now that you have spent some time exploring your personal learning preferences, online learning environments, and the habits of successful online learners, you should be able to finalize your areas for adjustment and strategies for making the transition to online learning. By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • thoroughly describe yourself as a learner,
  • describe the benefits of an online learning community,
  • explain the concept of the personal learning network (PLN), and
  • apply knowledge and skills from this course to develop a personal strategy for success as an online learner.

Athabasca University is Canada's Open University and provides learning for life. Through the achievements of its students, faculty and staff, AU stands out as a provider of high quality post-secondary education. Learning to Learn Online is offered through the Centre for Distance Education in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Contact North | Contact Nord is Ontario's Distance Education and Training Network. As a community-based organization, Contact North | Contact Nord helps underserved Ontarians in 600 small, rural, remote, Indigenous and Francophone communities get jobs by making it possible for them to access education and training through online learning without leaving their communities. Click the map to view our service area.

Dr. Martha Cleveland-Innes is a Professor in the Centre of Distance Education at Athabasca University where she is heavily involved in the research and practice of blended and online teaching and learning. She holds a PhD in Education with a concentration in higher education and the social world. She joined Athabasca University in 2001 and teaches leadership, blended and online teaching and learning, and MOOC design and delivery.
Dan Wilton has over fifteen years' experience as an online instructor. As Course Inspirer and lead facilitator for LTLO, he will be your guide to making this MOOC enjoyable and rewarding. Dan is a doctoral student in distance education at Athabasca University and is a developer and research assistant for the Centre for Distance Education, where he is involved in the design, development, and analysis of several MOOCs and other educational initiatives.
Sarah Gauvreau is a Research Associate at Contact North | Contact Nord in Ontario, Canada. As a Course Facilitator, she is here to help answer your questions, support, connect and engage with you during your learning journey in LTLO. Sarah has been in the field of education for over 18 years in both the face-to-face (K to 12 and adult ESL) and in online learning, as a teacher and researcher. Sarah has completed her Graduate Diploma of Instructional Design and Master's degree in education, specializing in distance education.

"This course ignited excitement in me to learn again! I will now be taking some special interest courses in Indigenous Studies and Psychological First Aid."

"The course provided better clarity with regards to what an online learner looks like and helped me to evolve as an online learner."

"I appreciate their well planned and precise instructions and commitment to reading and responding to all participants' submissions."

"Showed me the learning experience from a student's point of view - this will help me deliver a better online experience for my students when I have to teach them online in the Fall of 2020."