Online courses, which are also known as E-learning courses, have become extremely popular in recent years. People have started seeing the value in investing in extra ways to educate themselves, upskill themselves and also enhance their existing skills through electronic courses which are offered by various providers, and educational institutions.
People of all ages can take them and they are possibly the most convenient way to do so.
If you are not yet aware of the many advantages of registering for these, we will list them below for your perusal:
- More cost-effective when compared to in-person classrooms
- Can be taken anywhere and anytime
- They are highly scalable
- They help minimize time away from work or day to day life
- Can be personalized to suit your needs in some cases
- You can track your progress
- There are a lot more subjects and topics to choose from
- You can join a global collaboration
There are a few different types of online courses that we will discuss below, as well as how you can find some of the best ones online.
3 Common Types of E-learning or Online Courses
Many different elements can make up these online learning options such as quizzes, activities, examinations, games, lectures, and other types of interactive things, however, these should not be confused with the different categories. The three main types include:
Synchronous: this is a type of live online training given by a knowledgeable professional like a teacher, lecturer or tutor. In some cases, these are also business owners and staff alike. It is an ‘instructor-led’ course and if you have ever had a meeting over a ‘Zoom’ or ‘google Teams’ app, you will know how the format looks and feels, with everyone going online at the same time, and one speaker.
Even though geographically you may not be in the same time zone, you would still log into the lecture or talk which would be set up similar to a classroom environment. Examples include https://www.findmyprogramme.com/ and various other platforms like YouTube or Googles training platforms that offer this option. The lecturer would use a screen share feature or a slide share option to teach students.
Asynchronous: this is a more self-paced type of learning and you as the learner can register for the subject or course, and take it at any time of your liking and also at your own pace. There is no strict schedule and you do not need to be online when the tutor is explaining things as it is already pre-recorded and accessible by you. They can contain anything including videos, visuals, talks, and interactive elements depending on the lecturers teaching style.
Hybrid: as the name suggests, this would be a mix of both of the above: asynchronous and synchronous. They are a blended type of e-learning experience and both online interactions, as well as in-person, are included. As a learner, you would meet inside of a classroom a few times a month or semester and the rest of the time you would be active on a computer-based interaction with other learners.
The ultimate choice will be yours and will depend on what you want to learn, how much time you have, if you prefer a stricter schedule or relaxed one, what your learning style is and if you are working a full-time job, amongst other things. This is, however, one of the best ways to upskill and educate yourself both for personal and professional reasons.
If the information above appeals to you and you are on the lookout to find a good online course, there are a few things you can do to get started, and the first on that list would be to find the best provider.
4 Tips on Finding the Best Online Courses
A Google Search: One of the first things to do is to go onto Google and do a search using the right keywords. In this case, if you are looking for an e-learning provider, and say for example you want to take up an IT course. The more specific you are the better. Your search would then be to look for “IT online courses” or “IT e-learning courses”. To further better this you should add the word “best” i.e. “best e-learning providers/courses …” and similar.
Play around with a few search terms and see what Google spits out. Then go through them starting from the first one to the last one, and see what appeals to you. The best thing about online learning is that you can do it from anywhere and you can choose an organization from around the world, as opposed to being restricted to only your local area or country.
Ask for recommendations: did you know ‘word of mouth marketing is one of the best ways to find out about things? Ask your friends, family members or colleagues for any suggestions they make have for places that offer online learning and look them up. You may never know who is already registered with one or someone who knows another person who is.
Choose the popular and well-established ones: yes there may be some new institutions that provide these, and there is a possibility that they are better than the ones that have been around for years, but choosing reputable names is a good idea not only because, well, they’re better known for their offerings, but also because when employers and recruiters see them on your CV, chances are you may score some brownie points with them.
Ask your boss or manager: some companies care that their employees can upskill themselves and often provide them with free enrollment into training programs or online learning options. Ask your boss if he or she knows if your company does this and take advantage of it. Some organizations have accreditations with affiliated educational institutions that can either offer their staff free or discounted prices on various courses.
Always make sure that the provider you do find appealing is the right one for you, and is a legitimate, licensed and registered institution. Before you add any bank or credit card details, pick up the phone and give them a call.
Find out where they are based, what they offer, how much their fees are and if there are hidden costs. Also, check their website for customer and learners’ reviews. You will be given homework when you join any class, may as well start now by doing your homework on the place itself first.