Learning patterns/Balancing work life and online learning
What problem does this solve? edit
Work demands have become pervasive due to technological advances that allow work emails and other forms of communications to get to workers outside of the workplace and hours. The COVID-19 crisis further exacerbated the situation as working from home during the pandemic when there were lock-downs and then taking work home when offices, schools and other workplaces opened up again became part of the new normal.  This tends to deplete the rest hours of workers, create unhealthy work environment, low employee morale, and could generate tension that can lead to anxiety, irritability, stress, depression or burnout if not properly managed. Also, with the availability of online courses which workers subscribe to in order to keep up with new information in their fields, switch jobs or to gain additional skills. This piles up the pressure on workers and it has been noted that organizations could lose much in healthcare when there there is no work life balance 
There is need for mitigations and avenues to create a balance between professional development, work in the workplace, at home and personal life. This would enable workers to better take on online courses, participate effectively and gain new knowledge and skills without jeopardizing their work as well as mental and physical health.
What is the solution? edit
Flexibility in designing online courses especially in the areas of delivery, submission of assignments and deadlines, accessing content and multiple feedback pathways is critical. This will give participants choices that are based on their individual circumstances which will give them room to balance work life and their personal situations even as they learn online.  This is important in Africa where countries or communities Internet is costly, unstable and may not always be available due to infrastructural challenges and shutdowns. 
- Time Management
Time management skills including how to choose priorities, use the calendar to plan activities, delegate duties at the workplace and smart study plans should be integrated into online courses for workers so that they can successfully combine learning and working without undue stress. This will help them to apportion needed time and space to the course, understand the importance of deadlines and the dangers of allowing assignments to pile up and acquire the discipline to successfully balance work and online learning.
- Blend study and workplace processes
Assignments in online courses for workers could be centred around their workplaces or office work. This will provide the participants with great opportunities to let their workplaces know what they are doing, as well as showcase the skills they are acquiring from the online course within their organizations and receive support. It will also lessen the stress generated by work and learning and create more work life balance.
- Manage goals and expectations
Benchmarks, expectations and goals of online courses for workers needs to be toned down by managing assumptions of participation, time, digital skills and infrastructure including Internet access. High unrealistic online course goals and expectations may affect the work life balance of participants and may lead to low productivity in the workplace and non-completion of the course.
Things to consider edit
- Personal circumstances of online course participants differ and it may affect their performance.
- It is possible that some workers can only access the required digital infrastructure for an online course and the internet at their workplaces.
When to use edit
This Learning pattern can be used when designing and/or implementing an online course for professionals that work full-time. 
See also edit
Related patterns edit