9 factors to consider when choosing an online course

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If you are still considering learning a new skill but are confused about where to start, good news! This article will give you some tips that can help you narrow down to a few options.

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Photo credit: Tima

We bet you have read several articles on what to do while at home, you may have seen “learn new skills.” While this is a great suggestion, it may not be helpful if you do not know how to pick one from the sea of options online.

If you are still considering learning a new skill but are confused about where to start, good news! This article will give you some tips that can help you narrow down to a few options.

1. Current needs

What do you want the most right now?  This seemingly simple question is dreaded by many because it forces them to think deeply. But it is worth considering because it is the determinant of how you will proceed.

Do you want a push in your career or simply a fun activity to ward off boredom while at home? Once you get clear at this level, you will have walked half the distance. The options will mainly fall into two main categories; career-based and hobby-based. The former is designed to give you a competitive advantage in the market and the latter for making your personal life more delightful. Proceed to choose a specific field in the selected category.

2. Future needs

After finishing the first task, the categories may still be broad, which is why you need to set more parameters to reduce the options. You may consider the question: Do I want a certificate after completion?

This will narrow down your options further. If you need a certificate after completion, you may need to learn directly from institutions such as colleges or universities, accredited learning platforms such as Future Learn, or reputable firms like Fuzu. If a certificate is not necessary, you may learn from authority personnel running educational businesses.

To reduce the options even further, check the quality of content to see if it will meet your knowledge needs. Some of the guiding questions would be:

  • Who is the main target audience?

  • Are you part of the audience?

  • Does the content answer your most pressing questions?

If the course outline does not offer enough information, you may contact the educator with your query. He or she may be kind enough to offer a tailored solution, offer suggestions, or refer you elsewhere if there is a possibility of your needs not being met.

3. Learning design

We have different learning styles. Some prefer theory, visual presentations, and other practical experiences. Which category do you fall under? Look through the list of courses available and choose a design that meets your desires learning style.

4. Expenses

Online courses are an investment in the future. Whether you are taking one as a hobby or career progression, you should not render yourself penniless in the process. Since online educators are free to set prices for their courses, setting your budget will give you a few options to consider.

In addition, check the affordability of learning materials needed to complete the course.

5. User-friendliness

How is the course designed? Does your technical knowledge allow you to take the course with ease?

You wouldn't want to spend a large chunk of time handling technical difficulties instead of learning a new skill. In that case, using user-friendliness as a differentiating factor will shorten the list of options.

6. Duration

How long is the course designed to last? Do you have the time for it?

Although time is often an estimate by the educator, considering it will help you include the course in other personal and professional commitments easily to avoid leaving midway.

7. Learning options

There are different learning options for online courses. Some, once purchased, are accessible for an infinite duration and others for a certain period. In some, all the chapters are accessible at all times, while in others, they are unlocked after a specific duration.

Consider these aspects before paying.

8. Educator

In a world where anyone can pose as an expert in any subject, scammers may penetrate into the market. This is why you should perform a background check on your soon-to-be educator.

First, does the educator have what it takes to offer the course? The qualifications of the educator have a major influence on their teaching style and quality of content.

Second, what do others say about the information provided? You can learn more about the educator by checking reviews from other students.

9. Data security

To purchase an online course, you have to share some of your personal details. If such data falls into the wrong hands, there is a risk of fraudulent activities being carried out behind your back, which can damage your reputation. Note that not all edupreneurs will care about data safety. This means that using this as a differentiating factor will allow you to focus on a small group of a category that is likely to meet your learning needs.

Final words;

Online courses are booming. They have taken the stress out of learning by allowing us to set our pace and time. As a result, knowing how to sift the options available and identifying the best choice is important.


About the author.

Catherine Wanjiru is a writer, author of Layers of a Human and a personal development enthusiast.

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    Lameck H | December 02, 2020 08:42

    That's great news

    Lilian muli | November 28, 2020 10:04

    Interested in joining

    Emmanuel | November 26, 2020 08:37

    Cost benefit of using online course. These are costs for access to online classes in relation to the benefits attained in enjoying it.

    Kisabila | November 21, 2020 12:51

    I'm going to join you soon

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