What to Consider When Looking at Online Courses

What to Consider When Looking at Online Courses

Whether you are looking to make your resume stand out or you are looking to explore a new career, it is now possible to acquire new skills and expand your knowledge by signing up on online courses. 

Unlike the traditional classroom setup, online courses allow you to learn wherever you are. You will just need an internet connection and you could already start attending classes or study the online course in your own free time. 

On top of this, buying online courses from different online learning platforms is a practical choice. According to a study, 69% of Class of 2019 college students took out an average loan of $29,900. And the scarier part is that Americans owe $1.71 trillion in student loan debt.  On the other hand, buying an online course doesn’t have to be expensive. You can buy an online course for as low as $20. 

But this also doesn’t mean that you should just take all the courses that you can take. It is important that you also consider the right course that matches your needs. Here are a few tips on how to find the perfect online course. 

 Who made the online course?

The first thing that you will have to look into is who made the online course. Was the course made by some random guy online who claims that he or she has an understanding of a topic? Or was it made by someone reputable in the niche? 

It is common for bloggers and reputable YouTubers to offer courses online. These are experts who you can trust. Aside from individuals, it’s also common to find institutions offering online courses. What this means is that there is a team that made the course. 

Remember that credibility matters. If it’s made by an individual, it’s better if you can run a quick background check. Check their history to see if the topic is covered well. 

Requirements When Taking the Class

You also want to know the things you will need when taking online courses. Some online courses will require certain hardware and software. For example, if you’ll take a graphic design course, you will most likely need a drawing tablet and software that will let you make art on your tablet or your laptop. Also, the specs on your computer are also important in some courses. Editing videos require fast computers with at least 16GB RAM and a high-end processor. 

Interaction with the author and other students?

How do you interact with the author and other students? Is the online course offered via Zoom? Or are you going to just get the modules and read on your own? Depending on the person taking the course, some learners prefer learning via lectures on Zoom or a virtual classroom while others prefer to learn via modules that they can read on their own. 

The good thing with a virtual class is that students get to interact with their instructor and other students. Questions are answered in real-time. On the other hand, a virtual class will also require that you follow the schedule. 

This is also the reason why a lot of learners today choose platforms such as Coursera, Udemy or A Cloud Guru where they can just buy the modules and learn during their free time. This makes so much sense especially for those who will also have to work and will not be able to commit to a fixed schedule of classes. 

Does it offer certification?

A lot of people tend to care about the certification that they get after completing the online course. Certifications can sometimes be a good way to boost your resume and it is considered proof that you’ve updated your skills. 

Unfortunately, not all courses offer certifications. And even if you get a certification after completing the course, it is also true that a lot of employers don’t care. Ultimately, you will still have to prove your skills during the job interview and when you start working for your employer or client. 

Check the review 

It is also important to check the reviews of the online course. How many people bought the course? What was their experience when they finished the course? What are the common problems that people experienced when they were taking the course? Did the instructions help them get a new job or improve at work? 

Check the Content

You also want to know the content of the course. How was the course divided? Sometimes, more parts/chapters could mean that the course is easier to absorb. Also, does it have both reading materials and videos? Or maybe, it’s just video or plain texts? 

Some of the most popular courses on different platforms include the use of different materials that range from PDF files to videos. These types of courses cater to different types of learners. 

And also, you need to consider if the course offers any kind of support for those who will have questions. Some courses offer forums where individuals can discuss the chapters and ask about the topics. In this kind of setup, both instructors and other students can answer the questions making it easier to exchange information. 

Next, you need to know whether or not the course is getting regular updates. At times, online courses have a short shelf life. Some practices become obsolete after just a few years. Given this scenario, the one who made the course must give updates making sure that the one reading or watching the videos will learn useful practices. 

Check the price and compare it with other courses

Next, you will also want to evaluate the cost of the course. Once you know its price, you want to compare it with similar courses. If a course is relatively cheaper than other courses online, try to figure out why. Maybe, it doesn’t have the same content as other courses in the market that are sold for a higher price?

Final Thoughts

There are lots of online courses to choose from. Unfortunately, some are made better than others. And if you don’t want to regret your decision, it’s always advisable that you don’t buy an online course impulsively. To get the best bang for your buck, you need to be smart on how you select the right course.  

With these tips, you can update your skills without going for a student loan. Plus, some courses can match your learning style. 


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