According to the various researches the adaptability, agility, and re-skilling will be crucial to deal on the labor market in the next several years.  More and more people work in distance-based positions straight from their homes. Although the popularity of remote work is not limited to the professional field, it also applies to the educational sector.

The availability of knowledge is easier than ever. We are attacked with online course offers. These frequently offer new job skills, developing your hobby, or learn a new language. Since I’m an educational psychologist, I’ve decided to take a closer look at the topic of online courses (MOOCs – massive open online courses). I will try to answer some essential questions:

  • Is it worth to pay and more important – spend a lot of time on a online course?
  • What are the most important factors when choosing a course?
  • What are other alternative methods of education?

Price

When choosing an online course, make sure that you are not overpaying for this service. You can find a lot of very pricey systems with questionable content. But is it worth paying for a course at all?
Several distance learning services allow to attending online courses for free. Udemy, Coursera, and Codecademy are among them. Usually, you can access the content for free, but you have to pay for the shareable certificate or course materials.

Actionable advice: Try a free trial before paying for the whole course and ensure that profits offered for the price are worth it.

Materials

Depending on the course type, there can be many materials such as downloadable tables, exercises, or videos offered. Remember that courses with additional materials are often better prepared (more complex). But don’t be fooled by the extras – course publishers often provide tons of useless rubbish as bonus materials.

Actionable advice: Carefully check what is added to the course.

Length of the course

Read the course syllabus in detail. You don’t want to spend a hundred dollars for a course, only to find out that it lasts ten hours and it’s only an introduction to the topic. Unless you’re looking for a short course, it’s vital to know what you want in the course and to what extent you can commit yourself to this topic. Ensure that the service has an online app that allows you to learn on the go (for example, on public transport or the toilet).

Actionable advice: Plan your attendance and estimate how much time you have to spend on the course.

Make sure that some social interaction follows your online learning process!

Other forms of learning


Online courses are not the only form of gaining new knowledge. However, they have some perks that make them a bit superior to others (e.g., your book won’t send you a notification with the reminder to read it). But it is worth saying that sometimes the better choice will be the learning app, a book, or post-graduate studies. These other forms are something that I will cover on this page in the future.

Actionable advice: Don’t use a sledgehammer to crack a nut. Find the right way to learn what you need.

Real value


Think about the real value that comes with the course and the changes it can bring. I’m sure that after all, you can find exciting and valuable content that will be the pebble in the water that set your sea in motion (figuratively speaking). If you don’t know how to find something for yourself, follow my site, get familiar with my posts – especially the one about finding an ideal course.

Summary

The online course can be a great way to learn a new skill. But it’s essential to choose one carefully and with attention to detail. If the text is too long and you don’t want to read it, scan it for actionable advice.
What do you think about online courses – are they an effective way of distance learning? Do you use it or prefer some other form? If so, what are your preferred form of education?

Photo: rawpixel.com

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A psychologist who works in the IT industry. Interested in positive and social psychology and UX design. Fan of technology, Eurovision Song Contest, and Pepsi Max.
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