Top tips for choosing the best online courses
Don't waste your time and money on the wrong course
Signing up to an online class is a very easy thing to do nowadays.
There are a lot of Online Course Providers offering a lot of Online Courses. The issue with all these courses and all the one click purchasing is that it is easy to sign up to the wrong class. This means wasting your time and your money.
And worse you may fall out of love with elearning or never give it the chance it deserves.
Check out our top 10 tips infographic on how to always pick the right class and read the advice below to make sure you always choose the right class.
Do not always trust the ratings and reviews given to online classes
A great tip and one that I wish I had learnt sooner. Since they appear on the course providers website they may have been curated in some way. This is especially true if there are not many reviews or if the reviews are all very positive. You have probably seen this with restaurant or hotel reviews on Google half the reviews are incredibly positive and half are very negative.
If you are not sure then move onto the next course.
! If a course has a lot of positive reviews and then a mix of medium and negative be sure to read them before skipping the course. Some people do not research a course or how online learning works then get upset when it is not as easy as they imagined. You may miss a perfectly good course because a few people thought that advanced physics would be a quick evenings work.
Shop around before committing to one-course provider
Like a real school, you will spend a lot of time with your online course provider and you do not want to be groaning when you hear the school bell (alert on your phone). Although at first glance they all offer the same thing each website and learning platform has its own way of doing things. You can read our reviews to find out a bit more about what each one offers.
Try before you buy
It can be daunting to get out your credit card and put your money where your mouth is. So don't! Well, at least until you have given a few classes and course providers a test run.
Seriously most online course providers (especially the good ones) will give you a free trial for a week or a month. Take your freebie. Screw it, over the course of a few months, indulge yourself with several freebies and sign up to all the free online course trials you can handle. The best classes on each platform will be waiting when you are finished and ready to turn that summer romance into something serious.
If you don't know what the above expression means then Google it. If you are looking for a quick fix on a skill like how to write a piece of code, take great photos in low light or learn how to use Photoshop then Google is your best friend. Blogs, Youtube and Forums are your best friend for skills that can be learnt with a 30-minute walkthrough.
Do your homework...on your homework
I have seen it many times. The flush of excitement at the thought of having a new skill. The well-ordered post it and Evernote collection, the carefully manicured calendar and then the dreams dashed on the rocks of lengthy, difficult homework projects.
Most courses require you to do a project of some kind, they can be easy/ hard, required/ optional, quick/lengthy.
Read the small print, you cannot properly learn a skill without putting in the hours. If you like your social life, or the sun, start off slow and don't try to do it all at once.
Always be prepared
Okay, so I stole that one. But it is good advice none the less. It is a bad idea to start a coding course or a design course thinking you can do it on your phone, on the bus, while chatting with your friend, while eating a sandwich. Set up a folder on your computer, have a pen and paper at hand (old school baby!). Most importantly read the course requirements and make sure you follow them. There is nothing more annoying than finding your perfect course, signing up then spending a week trying to get the requisite software before quitting in tears.
Go for something specific
Do you ever get uneasy when a restaurant offers food of every conceivable variety or has a dish called the 'Meat Surprise'. It is the same with Online Courses. Try to avoid the basic introduction courses (see Tip 4). Go for a specific skill or a longer course that will teach you a whole new line on your C.V. the rewards are far sweeter.
Do not go it alone
Online learning platforms often have great forums and peer support. However sitting in front of a screen watching pre-recorded videos can still be a bit of a lonely experience, no offence Netflix. Convince a friend to sign up to the same course and have fun learning together. This works especially well for real-world skills like photography, drawing or hula hooping.
Get someone else to pay for it
It sounds crazy but in reality, it is more common than you think. Loads of workplaces sponsor their staff to go on online courses. Most platforms offer certificates so it is a good way of keeping track of your progress.
Companies set aside budgets each year for training and development so it can't hurt to ask. Just make sure it is work-related, unless you are very lucky, learning to tango will have to be something you do alone (in that case refer to Tip 8).
It sounds cheesy, and well it is cheesy. That does not stop it being a great tip. If you are not having fun you are probably not learning. Not slog through a course that you are not enjoying. Leave that course and try another one. Find one that is less intense or covering a smaller topic.
I hope you enjoyed my tips, see you in class!
Check out our other hints and tips on the Noticeboard!