I’ve always loved learning for both professional and personal development, however up until now every course I’ve ever brought outside of work has expired before I’ve had time to look at it.
Now having time to complete an array of qualifications in countless subjects……my first thoughts are where to start?!?!
When I started my online learning journey I had so many questions, and made some bad choices, so I wanted share with you my top tips when navigating this highly-populated arena!
- Pick a subject that interests you or will help you.
Sounds simple, but as we all remember from school some subjects were easier and more enjoyable than others. So pick something that you either have a genuine interest in, or will help you in achieving a bigger goal. If you enjoy something you’ll want to do it and if it’s part of a bigger picture it gives you a need and reason to complete it.
- Decide what you want to achieve from your learning?
Is it for fun? New life skill? Career change? Career enhancement? Professional development?
Knowing why you’re doing it will help you to choose the right course, unfortunately some courses have a tendency to hook you in on a brilliant offer and then charge substantial amounts for the actual qualification or additional supporting content. So what seems like a bargain might end up being a lot more expensive than other courses which may have a larger initial outlay. If it is for fun and you don’t need or want a certificate there are some fantastic courses out there that will give you a taster of a subject for very little financial commitment, but if you are looking for actual qualifications always check the fine print, before committing.
I can’t reiterate enough how important research is especially if you are looking for professional qualifications and proof of completion. Here’s my checklist for your research:
- Will completing this course help me achieve my learning goals?
- Does the course content interest me, and will it be useful?
- Is the qualification relevant?
- Is there a certificate at the end?
- Are there additional costs for certificates – and if so are they reasonable?
- Do I have the time to commit to this?
- Always check feedback and ratings.
- Contact the company with any questions you have.
- Make sure it fits with you.
Pick a course that fits with your lifestyle. Being based in Oman, I started one course that was based in Dublin so with the time difference the live webinars were at 11pm, this didn’t work for me, luckily they made them available online afterwards but because I never made the live sessions I didn’t get the opportunity to actively participate in the lessons.
What I have found and love is that a lot of courses provide unlimited content, which can be accessed anytime anywhere, which works for me as I can study when and where I want making the option totally flexible.
- Do it!
Once you’ve found your course or courses, get started! There are so many distractions in life that it sometimes feels difficult to find time for you, but who knows where this course may lead! And most importantly don’t forget to enjoy it!
When I started my online learning journey, it was a rocky road, but that was because I wasn’t sure why I was doing it or what I wanted to do, so I picked some poor courses and wasted a lot of time. Now I’ve started an online degree to further my career whilst I’m out here, and I fit in smaller short term courses…..usually based on food or fitness!
What I have learnt from my experience so far is that there are some fantastic academic bodies, professional bodies and learning centres out there providing a huge range of opportunities to learn in a way that suits your lifestyle. However there are also lots of companies out there that are just looking to make a profit, and the content they provide isn’t always worth the price tag, as the saying goes if it sounds too good to be true it probably is.
Hope you found this useful, if you have any questions get in touch on my contact page.