How to Choose the Right Online Course

online course

In today’s highly competitive world, many people are turning to online learning to broaden their expertise, sharpen their abilities and enhance their professional reputation. Online course allow you to learn from anywhere and are often very cost-effective compared to attending a physical class. However, with the many options out there, choosing the right e-course for you can be very frustrating.

Keep these factors in mind when selecting an online course:

Establish your goals

Before signing up for any course, consider what your goals are. Here are some of the questions you should answer:

  • Are you just learning for fun or to boost your career?
  • Are you looking for academic credits towards a diploma or degree program?
  • Do you want to develop a particular skill or ability? Which one?
  • What subjects are you specifically interested in?
  • How much time are you able to dedicate to learning every week?
  • What is your budget?

Choose the right institution

There are hundreds of institutions offering online courses on a wide range of subjects. Your choice will be influenced by your goals, time and financial restraints, and your future plans. Here are the main options you can choose from:

  • Accredited university or college – If you are planning to an academic certification or degree, it would be advisable to take a professional course from a reputable university. Many universities are now offering flexible online programs that suit the busy professional
  • Specialized training institute – Such schools offer more flexible and affordable course options. Many specialized training institutes offer training in both hard and digital skills
  • Vendor-specific courses – Some vendors or manufacturers offer specialized training on their products. The course content is usually very narrow and in-depth, with training being provided by certified instructors

Besides these options, there are also online courses created by individuals that want to share their knowledge and expertise with the world. Platforms like Kajabi make it easy for anyone to build an online course, even without any technical knowledge.

Select the right format

Online classes come in a wide range of formats that fit different personal schedules, learning styles and academic levels. Some are very rigid with fixed class times that you cannot miss. Such courses are usually taught lecturers or instructors via live video feed, and students are expected to participate. Other e-courses have a more flexible approach that allows participants to learn at their own time via pre-recorded videos and reading materials. Any engagement with the instructor is usually through email. Think about your learning style and schedule before making a final decision.

Evaluate your skill level

Using a third part or self-evaluation, consider your competency and skill level in the field you desire to study. You might just discover that you know little – or much – about the topic than you assumed. This evaluation will save you from wasting your money and time on studies that are too basic for you or too advanced for you to grasp. However, don’t depend on the title alone to determine if a course is intermediate or advanced. Read the course objectives and descriptions thoroughly to get more details that will help you make an informed decision.

Research thoroughly

Before signing up for any e-course, take time to research extensively on the course, the institution and the instructor. Because different programs and courses differ on how they tackle the subject matter, equipping yourself with the right know-how on the course will greatly benefit you on your studies. For those pursuing a career in electrical engineering, for example, researching the electrical engineering course requirements will make the course easier to understand and will better prepare you to take up its subjects. Visit online review sites, talk to other professionals, and get feedback from forums and social media groups. Since learning involves an investment of time and money, it would be in your best interest to do your due diligence first before making a commitment.

Charles Mburugu is a HubSpot-certified content marketer with over eight years experience writing for various industries. Check out his portfolio and connect on LinkedIn.