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7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Webinar Recap

Image of a glass with water. Text on the image says; 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Half Full? Half Empty? Don't let your current perspective define who you aim to become.
Steven Covey’s classic book can be applied to many situations, including taking education online.

Introduction to the 7 Habits Webinar

Every one of you has obstacles in life, whether it be:

  • Taking care of family and loved ones;
  • Working a job while attending school; or
  • Financial difficulties (but are trying to better your future to change that).

No matter what the obstacle, each and every one of you could benefit from “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, if you’re willing to accept it in your life. The 7 habits are not a part-time job; it is a lifestyle choice.

I spent some time recently reviewing the 7 habits in a live webinar with some students at the Centre for Distance Education. It was such a great experience I thought we could share it on the blog, as well!

The habits in this webinar are based on a book written by Stephen R. Covey. I welcome each and every one of you to seek out this book to learn more on this topic and how to apply it to your whole lives. Here, we are covering how the seven habits relate to everyday school life for online distance education.

Below is the recorded video, along with some of the highlights from the transcript.

When attending an online distance education school, there are certain benefits, such as:

  • Not having to travel, but instead, working from home in your pajamas.
  • Sending email and calling on the phone for support, rather than raising your hand 10,000 feet in the air screeching and crying for you to be picked out of the many peers beside you so you can have your question answered.
  • Or how about my personal favourite, you don’t have to face the evil… oh please don’t make do it… stand up in front of the classpublic speaking!!! (buuhh buuuhh buuuuuhhhh).

However, with all of these benefits to online distance education, there must also be some problems that all students may face, such as:

  • You may miss that face-to-face interaction which can truly prepare you for the real world when introduced to various social experiences.
  • Consider another scary but affective means to keep yourself on-track. Showing up to class with your homework not done and your instructor asks, “Why is your assignment not done”? Unfortunately, “My dog ate my homework” just won’t cut it in today’s digital age. With online distance education, you may find it difficult to keep-on-task and meet your deadlines with so many distractions at home.The truth is, there is no difference between the two, except one has more consequence by possibly causing you to be embarrassed in front of your peers. I’d like to ask each of you to consider something should you be late on an assignment, ask yourself why you took this course in the first place. If your answer was to better your future, then why not do your hardest to truly make an impact on your future, starting with those very assignments.

Now to get started on “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” and how they may relate to your online distance education:

Habit 1: Be Proactive

Don’t let your current perspective define who you aim to become. There is no right or wrong answer on how one should perceive themselves or others, but if we can dig deep and change some of that negative energy into positive, then perhaps we may have a less stressful day. This is typically known as the “Glass Half Full” method. There are too many external forces to keep us from reaching our goals, make today a better day by nulling out those negative influences.

How does this affect online distance education?

  • You get up in the morning, and treat each day like it is better than the previous. Chances are, if you say, “Ugh… not another assignment” then that is going to be a loooonnngggg day. But! If you return back to the question, “Why did I spend all this money to enroll in the first place?” Then, you may continue to remind yourself of what is important and instead of feeling negative, go ahead and turn that frown upside down. P.S.: coffee helps. Since we are speaking about online distance education, how about decorating your work area with motivation photos, action figurines, inspirational quotes, and please please please consider using Pinterest; that social media network is packed full of motivation!

Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind

Some of us work best in chaos, others need a great deal of planning. Regardless of how our personalities work, setting some sort of goal in mind can keep us on track and motivated to succeed. A fellow instructor sent me this quote last week, and fits well to this situation. “Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going”.

How does this affect online distance education?

  • Day 1 of school, you have two options! Either plan out your first week, and/or plan out the entire year. Life happens and we can’t always control it. But if we create a schedule to follow a specific routine, we at least have some sort of structure.
  • Have you heard of brick walls? Not the hard kind, but rather the metaphorical kind. A brilliant college professor by the name of Randy Pausch who taught at Carnegie Mellon University hosted an assembly called “The Last Lecture”. I HIGHLY encourage each of you to look this video up. I can’t count the amount of inspirational insight I’ve received from this video. He speaks for a part of the video about brick walls and how they are put into place to keep those who don’t want something bad enough, out. Jumping back on topic here in regards to “Begin with the End in Mind”, sometimes, it may take one brick at a time, but in the end if you push hard enough, those bricks will fall and you will be a graduate.

Habit 3: Put First Things First

We all need a balance between work and personal life. Too much of anything can drive us crazy! Understanding that as humans, we need certain forms of entertainment, friendship, work, and of course education. Responsibilities such as family and friends are crucial to one’s successes in life, just so as long as you maintain that balance, like on a teeter totter.

How does this affect online distance education?

  • Clearly, your job is important, but so are your studies. Create a chart that will allocate precisely what needs to be done for the week and do not reward yourself until specific tasks are met. For example, submit a tutorial assignment and then take the family for a nice drive to the park. Perhaps video games are your thing. No problem, just be sure to complete what is clearly more important first. Think about it: if you spend thousands of dollars on education, why would you put TV or video games first? That would be an example of putting Last Things First.

Habit 4: Think Win / Win

Pursue mutually beneficial situations where both parties have a positive gain. In circumstances where both parties cannot meet an equal arrangement, consider agreeing to a draw or both parties walk away from the situation. Some may call this, “agree to disagree”, or perhaps it is a business decision that just doesn’t add up. Without an equal arrangement, there is room for Win / Lose behaviour that may have problematic consequences.

How does this affect online distance education?

  • When working on a project that just doesn’t seem to be cooperating, perhaps you are having a mental block. In these situations, walk away from the assignment and take a look at it from another approach. This may consist of creating a mind map, or even percolating while working on another activity such as doing the dishes. Avoid watching TV or playing video games, these can serve as a distraction and should instead be used as a reward system for yourself. When faced with a problem that you simply cannot solve at your current mindset, go for a nature walk. When you complete your assignment and submit, reward yourself!

Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, then to be Understood

When having a conversation with your peers, we may all have great ideas and stories to tell. The problem with this is we all want to tell our story, as it is important to us. But we don’t realize that our peer may have an equally important story that they feel is important to them. Listen to what they have to say, consume that information, and offer a conversation based on that story. When the time comes, you will have your turn to share your story. In the meantime, do not interrupt or direct a conversation elsewhere when the current information is still relevant.

How does this affect online distance education?

  • With online distance education, asking questions can be difficult because we are not face to face. This answer is a little more untraditional with this habit, but still relevant. Before asking a question or submitting an assignment, pretend you’re the instructor! Carefully read through the assignment instructions, and do a little more research on the topic at hand. Upon carefully evaluating your own work, give yourself some constructive feedback and then apply that feedback to furthering your work. Once you’re satisfied, go ahead and submit – I’m certain you will be far prouder of yourself.

Habit 6: Synergize

When entertaining an idea or solving a problem, the creative cooperation of teamwork and freedom of speech from other’s personal experience and expertise may lead to a solution.

How does this affect online distance education?

  • Unfortunately, online distance education limits students from speaking with their peers. This weakens the social interaction for each student who may wish to synergise with their fellow peers, whether it being for questions about an assignment, or starting a study group. To get around this, there are various social media networks such as Facebook, and LinkedIn. We have a Facebook page at CD-Ed, and also a Student Forum when you login to the LMS. A great feature we offer on the front page of the LMS is Common Rooms. Common Rooms are a list of available discussion areas for each course. This is a fantastic place to ask questions and even receive feedback from other students regarding your work. These resources may be a good way to connect with your fellow peers.

Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw

Doing the same thing over and over again can cause us to forget some of the important things that define who we are, and who we aim to become. Always practice and re-evaluate your physical, mental, social, and spiritual health.

How does this affect online distance education?

  • One day, each of you will become graduates and move onto a successful future of your field of study. What you may not realize is that the learning carries on when you graduate. It is your responsibility to continue practicing these skills so you don’t forget. For example, Graphic and Web Designers need to have a portfolio when they graduate. What they learned in the 1st month compared to the 12th month is completely different. So two years after starting the course, their work should be on opposite sides of the world different. That is because they’ve evolved as designers and are now pushing out better work.


This concludes a brief summary of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” in regards to online distance education.

But!!! I have one task for each and every one of you: Take a few moments of your time to research “The EIGHTH Habit of Highly Effective People”! This is for your own personal gain, and I welcome you to continue this positive journey.

Thank you all for reviewing this webinar, and I truly appreciate each and every one of you for listening/reading; I hope my brief summary was clear and understood.