Online courses are booming, especially with the various stay-at-home measures being taken worldwide due to COVID-19. The following article provides you with 7 important factors to look into when choosing your online course.
What’s The Cost?
One of the very most important factors you should consider when choosing an online training course is what you are willing to pay for it. These kinds of courses come in all different lengths, styles and provide multiple outcome opportunities. You want to ensure that you are paying a fair cost for what you are applying for.
The cost will vary widely depending on the type of certification you can expect to acquire through the course. For example, an online college course worth 3 credits will cost between $900-$1300. A community college course, on the other hand, will cost between $500-$600.
A less expensive option is through online training services such as Udemy, which allow their users to design their own courses. Because these courses do not come from an accredited university, the lessons will cost significantly less. You can find a course on Udemy from as low as $20 to a maximum of $200. Whatever you choose, you will be sure to find an online course that appropriately meets your budget.
What Kind Of Certification Do They Provide If Any?
Some online courses provide more acclaimed certifications than others, so make sure you choose the course that works best for your specific needs. Questions you should ask yourself are, “Do I need a specific certification to pursue my career goals? Or do I just need specific training and hands-on experience with specific tools or applications?”
For example, the best Microsoft training courses provide no actual certifications or formal proofs of mastery. They simply train the student adequately and therefore get terrific reviews. Some of these schools that provide these kinds of programs. You can sit in on any of these courses and become properly trained without any certification and still be able to demonstrate mastery.
Another option to consider is taking an online course that does provide certification but as an auditor. This option allows you to partake in all of the course’s material and exercises, but you will not be officially tested and therefore will not be rewarded a certification upon completion. These are often provided at a much lower rate or even free of charge, so well worth it if looking for supplemental on-the-job training.
Are The Institutions Accredited?
A very important factor to consider when choosing an online course is whether or not the institution providing it is accredited. An accredited institution means that it meets certain standards that are accepted and honoured by other reputable organizations. Most of the famous colleges and universities provide accredited degrees and certifications.
Likewise, many of these accredited institutions provide their training courses online. Choosing an accredited course means that it is likely to hold greater industrial clout and provide a better chance of gaining recognition.
On the other hand, there are many fine online courses available through non-accredited sources that will provide the education you need at a lower cost. As an added safety measure, make sure to review the details of the course before choosing a non-accredited one to ensure you are signing up for a quality learning experience.
When choosing any course, whether offline or online, one should consider their own learning style. Are you a visual learner or do you learn better from listening? Do you learn better listening to professors’ lectures, from reading books, or from hands-on experience? Do you assess what you learned best through multiple-choice testing or by writing comprehensive essays? Many online courses provide all of the above methods of teaching and assessing, but it is important to investigate which ones work best for your particular style.
Make sure to also research the course’s teacher(s) to get a sense of how much you will enjoy the class. Some students can learn from any professor. For others, a fun and interesting teacher will make all the difference.
How’s Their Support?
When taking an online course, as when participating in any online program, you may run into any number of questions or technical issues. When this occurs, you will want a quick and accessible source of online support. Unlike a brick and mortar learning institution which has a central office and resource centre, with online learning, you will not always have a human person to talk to when needed. Make sure to look into the various support options you have through your online learning institution.
Many courses provide a support email, but the best will also provide a live chat option, a support phone number, or even a “mentor” system that will pair you up with another more experienced student to help with your questions or ideas. Make sure you find an institution that will provide you with the best Support and give you the greatest peace of mind when pursuing your online education.
How Do They Handle Failures?
A very important consideration to make when choosing an online course is how it handles failures. Consider this — you spend over $1000 for certification, study hard, take all of the courses, yet still fail the certification exam. What now? Do you have to spend another $1000 to retake the course? Is there any money-back guarantee? Whatever you do, ensure that you find a course that makes the failure situation as manageable and affordable as possible.
Job Placement And Pathway Opportunities
Most online training courses are taken for the specific purpose of pursuing a job or career opportunities. Therefore, many offer quality placement opportunities upon completing their program. If you are taking a course and actively seeking new work opportunities, make sure to inquire about any job placement opportunities that the course may possess.
Finding a quality online education need not be a difficult pursuit. Whether considering cost, finding an accredited school, looking at job placement opportunities, or any of the other things presented, when considering these factors, you will be sure to find a quality education that suits your needs.
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