Studying is one of the key components of human life. We learn something all the time. At school, at work, leveling up our qualification – we learn something new to gain skills and knowledge we did not have before.
Nowadays permanent self-development and extension of knowledge is a core issue to stay relevant and demanded on a labor market. In turn, online studies becomes a conventional way of gaining new knowledge and skills by for dedicated and busy people. The advantage of online studies is that important information is presented in a structured view within short time frames, normally along with practical cases.
One may find plenty of online courses online. The issue is how to choose a particular course that will be fruitful, not just taken. Here are five hints to choose a quality course.
One should precisely define a sphere of studies and a depth of the course (basic course, advanced course, case studies etc.). The amount of hours to be taken should also be considered. When one is about to take a course to gain new profession from a scratch, and the profession is quite complicated (e.g., accountant or designer), we believe 10-20 hours will not suffice.
Check out the course syllabus to find out training sequence. The syllabus has to be clear, logic and explicated. You should also consider the proportion of practical and theoretic modules. It is preferable that practical modules were overwhelming.
There are several forms of online studies:
- Text materials with assignments to be further checked by a tutor;
- Video tutorials;
Some of the courses may combine few forms of studies.
Webinars will mostly fit people who value cooperation with a tutor and adversary studies with their fellow students. The issue is that one should take lessons on time and do homework (if provided by the course) timely.
Text materials and video tutorials mostly fit people with permanent time shortage, yet self-motivated and disciplined with an ability to efficiently manage limited time options. An advantage is the opportunity to create an individual schedule to study on occasions – either today, or tomorrow, or in a year. Moreover, the cost of this type of studies is normally less than the previous one. One should also consider a disadvantage of lacking feedback – if questions arise during the course of studies, most likely, you will not receive a feedback immediately. You will have to arm yourself with patience and wait for an answer, or see into a matter yourself.
Regardless of the form of studies you picked, the access to the study files should stay available even after conclusion of the course. It is important to have ability to refresh your knowledge any time. Meanwhile, some online courses update study materials from time to time.
One other test to choose is the size of groups of students. The bigger the group is less time shall be paid to each student by a tutor. The smaller the group is, the more individualized coaching a student will get.
- Information on the course, the author, the tutor
In view of the high demand for online studies these days, there appear offers on the market promising to provide for a new profession shortly; meanwhile, such offers are not supported by necessary certificates or licenses in field of education. Normally, a license shall prove a particular course syllabus to comply with present requirements and formal regulations. You can always find out if a particular educational institution has a long history on market – the longer its lifetime is, the trustworthy it is. It is also worth checking what type of certificate shall you be granted upon completion of an online course (if any).
Once you are interested in an online course by a particular educational institution, find some time to check their schedule, amount of new courses each semester, amount of students. Assessing above may show is a particular course provider in demand on the market.
A tutor to hold the course is required to be an expert in his field. You should consider the scale of his success, e.g. how many success cases does he have. One of the benefits of online studies is that most usually the tutors are rather practical specialists than the theorist. To be sure about whom do you choose, visit some of the free webinars of a particular tutor, or find a way to have a live chat. Most of tutors do offer free trial study guides in the form of books or video tutorials to get closer to the topic and way of studies.
When choosing online courses one should also consider reviews by those who already completed the studies. Those by your friends or family are most valuable. When people you trust liked the course, it is most likely you will love it too. Moreover, when you have a competent opinion around, you will hardly be trapped by “paid” reviews. When you lack friends able to recommend you a particular course in your field, try to find graduates of an educational institutions you are looking at. You may attempt to inquire details directly from those who went through it prior to you.
When assessing the reviews you should consider practical aspects rather than emotions. For example, “the course resulted in increase of my monthly wages”, or “upon completion of the course I found a dream job” etc. That type of feedback may evidence that the knowledge gained during the course were helpful and useful.
The place where you see the reviews also matters – you will hardly find negative ones on the tutor’s or schools website. Therefore, you should always see alternative sources of reviews, e.g. marketplaces that provide for thousands of different courses by hundreds of educational institutions and authors. That will make a review more valuable in terms of its comprehension.
One may seem that the cost of study is in proportion to its quality. However, this statement is not always true. It happens that unfaithful authors overprice their courses to increase the revenue. However, you can find a great course at a reasonable price or even at no charge on a marketplace like skillsdiver.com
It is not about to choose the cheapest course out of the available variety. Quality educational institutions employ professional tutors that bare exclusive competence in their particular fields – that kind of staff is not what can be bought for penny.
The cost is adequate when it will provide a student with an opportunity to shortly earn much more above the money spent for studies. This will work for both skills upgrading and learning a new profession from a scratch.
Summarizing the above, we should stress out that while choosing an online course to pick one should spend some time learning reviews, visiting free webinars, talking to his future tutor. That may take some of your time but would save you from wasting time and money for improper online course. Choosing the right online course at a right place is half of the battle. The other one is self-motivation and some time to work-based learning. Check out some of the courses we selected for you at Skillsdiver!