This article provides some insight as to why it is recommended to choose online courses based on pedigree and reputation.
There are so many courses and programs to choose from online, and there is a trend towards building a bespoke set of skills by mixing and matching online short courses, degrees, and practical training. It can be a minefield of discovery, and mistakes can be made. Paying for the wrong course or even completing a course that you then cannot really use to build your career can be devastating and a waste of time and money. The one thing that you need to be aware of and ensure is that the basket of courses that you choose to do are recognized and certified by the relevant bodies. With the wide choice available online, it is worth taking some time upfront and researching the courses, degrees, and those who offer them to be secure in the knowledge that you have chosen the best training and learning solution for your needs.
The growth of online learning
Over the last decade, online learning has grown exponentially. The internet and education and training have been combined in a seamless fashion to provide people with a new way of skills development. Commentators note that by 2025 this market will be worth $250 billion, and it is growing and changing on a continuous basis. As with anything that grows as fast and is worth as much, there will be those who aim to take advantage of the democratization of knowledge. More flash in the pan educational institutions are springing up online, and unregistered and unaccredited courses and training are being touted as professional development opportunities.
The number of online courses available has spiraled in the recent past, and so making a choice has never been more difficult, and that is not due to a lack of choice. You can now study anything anywhere, and for any reason, some will be free, and others will charge for enrollment, resources, and the certification. The online offering is wide, varied, and growing all the time. The top online learning sectors have proven to be:
Tech learning. Given the age that we are in, this comes as no surprise, and it is one of the largest learning sectors online. Learning computer programming, information technology, software languages, and anything tech, including infrastructure and hardware, can now be taught online. Through the use of virtual classrooms, the often-neglected practical skills can also be imparted online.
Business skills have become one of the most sought-after skills, and as such, it is an area of learning that is in high demand. Entrepreneurs, career businesspeople, and middle managers across the globe have looked online to improve their qualifications and move up the corporate ladder. Management training and the MBA, in particular, have been the areas within this segment that have seen the most growth, seen as an attempt to meet demand.
Hobbies and crafts. The rise in the amount of time being spent at home has necessitated things to do with this extra time, and as such, a large number of people have taken online to learn a new hobby. It is a booming sector online.
Cloud computing. The growth of remote work, and the importance of the cloud for the future of business, education, and social interaction has seen a marked increase in the number of people studying cloud architecture, security, and design. It’s also a great example of how unregulated the sector is in the sense that it would seem that Cloud computing is on offer from everyone; a choice in this segment would be increasingly difficult in that there are also no specific standards or regulations apart from Data and cybersecurity.
Personal growth and enlightenment is a growth education segment online. People are always looking for ways to make themselves better, be it through self-help techniques, improved health and wellbeing, or exercise. The availability of short online courses for self-improvement increased personal happiness, and strategic life management can be found in abundance online.
The greatest demand for online training is from working professionals and those new to the job market, so the range on offer will differ between these ranges of expertise and existing knowledge. Hence the reason that the process of making the right choice is so important.
The rise of the Massive Open online courses has been seen by many as the way forward and a cost-free way to professional development and an improved career. However, if it is for career advancement in a professional field, then there is only one way to go, and that is with a reputable course from a known institution.
A reputable choice
Before you choose an online course, it is now an accepted process to do some due diligence. A majority of prospective learners will indeed do some research and read reviews, but it should be more than this, and the process, although a simple one, should be a thorough one that determines the pedigree and prevailing reputation of the course and institution you are interested in. The content of the course, the predominant teaching methodologies, and previous student and learner experiences are all necessary and essential to know and understand before paying a cent for online courses and degrees. Peer reviews from other educators and academics in the field also provide validation and verification that they are who they claim to be and the courses on offer are genuine.
A great example
It is worth discussing the need for known and reputable course choices in more detail, and the best way to do this is to use a real example to look at. Consider the following blog about Why get an MBA Online at Suffolk University? This explains in great detail why going to a university with a solid reputation works. Why couldn’t you simply choose one of the cheaper offers out there from a university that you and your entire circle of friends and colleagues have never heard about. This example will outline the benefits of choosing an institution and a course that is known and accepted in your industry of choice. It is a recognized qualification from a recognized institution.
The qualification is known
Everybody knows what the MBA stands for, it’s not a secret, and most employers will not have to ask what the qualification stands for, only what you specialized in. The course is clearly being offered online. A recognized qualification is probably one of the main aspects to look out for.
The institution is known
Knowing exactly where the institution is by its name and being able to identify it immediately is s a key selling point and should, if possible, assist in your decision-making process. However, even if the institution is not as well known, it does not in any way lower the qualification you get. It just makes for a great talking point when applying for jobs.
It is easy to check reviews and references
Knowing both the qualification and the institution allows for you to be able to check up on the available reviews that have been left about the exact course that you are interested in.
Many students and prospective students have now realized the ease at which a recognized degree can be attained from a recognized institution online. The reasons for choosing to study online will vary, but the crux is that you must do the groundwork and know exactly what you want and where to look for it.
The risks of the unknown
As aforementioned, there is a myriad of choices, and as such, it must be expected that there has also been a myriad of wrong choices made. The top mistakes made are listed below and should be avoided at all costs.
- The course is not what you thought it would be. There have been a number of scams or fake training courses that are on offer online. These diploma or degree mills are set up to provide fake or worthless degrees. Often at bargain prices, that in themselves should alert you to the fact that there is something not quite right with the offer.
- It’s not value for money. You should not be paying above the odds for a course online. The choice available means that it is a buyers’ market, and you should ensure that you are getting what you have paid for. The manuals, the tutor time, additional e-reading, webinars, and online chat should all be part of the latest offerings online.
- The online course or training is not accredited by the relevant body. To complete a course or degree and then not be able to use it fully because it is not recognized where you work is a common failing based predominantly on poor initial research.
- The name used is a copy or version of a genuine institution or training organization; it will sound right, but be sure to check its validity and existence with other independent learners and students.
Studying online is now easier than it has ever been, and there is no reason not to join the bandwagon. Keeping your skills up to date and ensuring that you are able to keep up with advances in your sector will only serve to take your business to the next level. However, there are easy ways to avoid the common pitfalls.