Is this Course Right for Me? Considerations to Make When Choosing Online Courses
Posted on 10/20/20 By Lorman Team
With the recent boom in online activity, the internet has become even more flooded with online courses, webinars, and learning materials due to the cancellation of in-person events during the pandemic.
This is a good thing, as online learning offers a level of flexibility that traditional learning cannot offer. However, online learning also comes bearing its own cons.
The availability of all this information has made it increasingly hard to figure out which online course will give you the most value for your money.
Here are some ideas that will help you pinpoint the most lucrative option and reap the benefits of professional development courses.
9 Questions to Ask Yourself When Choosing Online Courses
These questions will enable you to draw up a shortlist from the millions of courses available. With the shortlist, you will find it considerably easier to pick the courses that you will derive the most benefit from.
1. Is This Course Relevant to My Job or Industry?
Before you spend your valuable money and time and fully commit to any continuing education course, go through its description. Read in between the lines because providers craft descriptions persuasively.
Look for critical points in the description and look for reasons that make the claims made check out. If they say their course is the best out there, why is it better than the rest?
Also, read the course content keenly and ensure it provides enough information on what to expect. If you don't find it satisfactory, the content itself will probably have the same effect.
2. Will the Course Help Me Advance My Career?
We know that selecting a course that will help your online professional development is no easy feat. Consider discussing your options with your employer or colleagues to help determine which qualification will benefit your career.
Check whether people talk positively about the course provider online and how the course has advanced their career. It's only reasonable to expect that professional development courses connect students to better opportunities.
3. Is the Instructor an Industry Expert?
According to the Observatory of Educational Innovation, there has been a recent spike in professionals opting to learn online. With the sudden boom, many individuals offering workshops or webinars have entered the market hoping to make quick money.
As a precaution, it's best to research the instructor to ensure they are qualified. You could:
- Search them on Google
- Visit their LinkedIn profile
- Skim through their blog
Their online activity will help validate their credentials and help you make a concrete decision.
4. Does the Course Meet any State or Industry CE Course Requirements?
It's a good idea to make sure the course you are eyeing is accredited if you want to list it as one of your professional achievements. And it should be certified by relevant agencies to add relevance to your certificate.
To do this, check if the course you are interested in taking meets trusted agencies' continuing education requirements.
Lorman, for example, works with nearly 100 accreditation agencies to provide CE credit to licensed professionals nationwide across numerous industries. This way, it is easier to earn credits and advance your career.
5. Does a Reputable Content Provider Provide the Course?
A course's legitimacy is indicated by the host that provides it, and whether the host is reselling the course or not.
Do some background research on the provider to confirm their credibility. It will also help you determine whether their services will optimize your experience as you go through the course.
6. What are the Course Requirements?
If the course requires some level of expertise that you feel you haven't achieved yet, we advise you to build up your expertise slowly and get back to the course later. The best thing to do is take other related courses from the same provider.
Also, be wary of online courses that require you to buy a lot of additional reading materials. You may find that all you do in the course is just analyze the requested materials and gain little new information.
7. Is the Course Flexible Enough for Me?
It is vital for you to be realistic when choosing your course so as to manage your job and other social activities. This will prevent you from either burning out or feeling like the course is more of a burden than a learning opportunity.
While it will be necessary to make some sacrifices after taking on your course, strive to have a work-life balance so that the online professional development you gain will be a positive addition to your work later on.
8. Will the Course Structure Help Me Upskill?
Courses out there will offer great content, but content alone is not enough to fully develop your skill set, especially if you are learning something complex.
Providers should structure content in a way that facilitates meaningful lessons and provide multimedia content so learners can continue to reference material after the course is over.
9. Is it Cost-Effective?
During these trying times, it is advisable to have a budget for your online training. Try to stay within its limits to avoid overstretching yourself, especially when a course looks very inviting.
Gauge whether you will have access to other classes and obtain other resources if you do pay for membership. Remember, you get better value if you aren't just stuck to one single course.
Finding the Right Course Provider
Lorman Education Services offers professional-level online training in our robust Learning Library with 13,600+ courses and resources.
For more than 30 years, Lorman has delivered relevant, timely, and high-quality, professional-level courses that cover a broad range of business and technical skills, meet the continuing education requirements of nearly 100 accreditation agencies, and give professionals the training they need to stay productive.