In recent years, online training has developed a very long way and it is relatively easy to find some very good online training, and at a cost which is not prohibitive.
However, before embarking on any online training, it is worth taking a step back to think about what is needed and to get the very best online training to meet exactly what is needed.
With the technology for good online training now well established, the environment is normally very good, but the key is to make sure that the actual training itself is right and meets the requirements of what is actually needed.
E-learning, online training has a lot to offer as it can be undertaken remotely with no need for travelling long distances to reach the desires training facility, and many online training courses can be accessed at times when it suits the individual, making it a really good and easy option.
Online training and e-learning courses can be very useful to help with continuing professional development, CPD, for up-skilling for a new career, or for starting out on a new career, etc.
Aspects to consider
When selecting suitable online training, there are several aspects to consider to get the best course.
Although costs of many courses are less than face to face learning, it is still very wise to investigate what will really be the best online training course.
There are several aspects to consider before making the plunge and booking an online training course.
• Course content:
It is well worth having a good look at the course content. Examine the details carefully to make sure that it will meet the needs of what is wanted.
Sometimes there may be a taster, or an option for taking the course without certification. This is worth doing to make sure that the online training is exactly what is needed.
In this way it is possible to check whether the e-learning course meets the needs and covers all the right areas.
• Study hours:
Most course descriptions give an estimate of the number of study hours that the course is likely to require.
When selecting any course it is worth looking at this and linking this in with the available time. Normally many courses do not require excessive numbers of hours to complete them, but whatever the online training or e-learning course is, it is a really good idea to be realistic about whether the required number of hours can be devoted to the training.
Often online training is marketed by one organisation which provides the infrastructure for the training itself, but the course content is prepared by another. This means that a company focussed on training and content does not have to provide the infrastructure and marketing for their courses. Each organisation can focus on what they have been set up to achieve.
For example Coursera has a large number of courses which they market and fr which they provide the infrastructure for the course itself. Other organisations, which are excellent at providing the material: Georgia Institute of Technology, Imperial College London, IGM, Google, Princeton University . . . . Other training platforms like Udemy and edX similarly offer high quality online courses.
The online training or e-learning courses can be from very well respected institutions, but check before booking whether it is one that is acceptable.
• Scheduled or self paced:
There are different approaches that may be adopted for the delivery of e-learning or online training courses.
The two main approaches are to have prepared online courses that can be undertaken as it suits - and at a pace that fits on with whatever time is available.
The other option can be to have a course that is undertaken at a particular time. Effectively a webinar. The relevant time will need to be scheduled in as a diary appointment so that it can be accessed as the training goes out. This can often, but not always, have the advantage that live questions and feedback can be heard and this can sometimes help in the learning process. This can operate like having a regular class, but the only difference is that it is online. Also be aware that additional time may be needed for coursework, etc. But check the actual course for details.
It is often necessary to have a certificate at the end of the course to prove that it has been successfully undertaken.
Certificates can be an essential part of completing a course. Not only can it be shown to an employer who may have paid for the training, but it can also be used as part of any continuing professional development, CPD, programme where it can be included in with the documentation.
The certificate may also be needed when applying for a new job. Here it can provide proof not only of ongoing development, but also to prove that particular skills have been gained. A prospective new employer may need to see the certificate to confirm that a particular course has been undertaken.
Also having a certificate to hand will give confidence to a new employer that what has been mentioned in a CV has actually been undertaken.
• Course accreditation:
In some instances it may be necessary to ensure that a particular course has the right accreditation.
For example, professional institutions, or other bodies may only accept courses that they have accredited and are happy that they meet their requirements.
As there are many training organisations who may be less than reputable, many institutions will only accept courses they deem suitable and have seen.
Needless to say, we only partner with recognised high quality providers, but even so, some organisations may only accept courses that have been accredited by them.
• Course fees:
The all important question of cost is very important, especially in the case of self-funding. Many online training courses and e-learning courses are very reasonable - premises do not need to be provided in many instances and often the courses are available on-demand and are used very many times over. This reduces the costs of production, and hence the costs for undertaking them.
However it is still necessary to ensure that the costs are acceptable and can be met.
• Final thoughts:
There are many things to consider when thinking about selecting an e-learning or online training course. Often the fact that it feels right can go a long way. Often if soemthing feels right then it is likely to be right.
Another good way of assessing a course is to look at the reviews. People who have been on the course before will be able to give a good view of it. However, always be prepared that some people will not like it whatever, or some things have gone wrong and it could be an isolated occurrence, but if lots of people don't like it, then there could be an issue.
Equally other people can be over-glowing in their report. So it is always best to discount the top and the bottom and try to gain a balanced view of what the course is really like.
There are very many really excellent e-learning or online training courses available at very reasonable prices and very many provided by some of the world's top universities and institutions. By carefully selecting the right course, it is possible to undertake some world beating training for a very reasonable cost.
Online training can be a very convenient way of improving one's skills without the need to travel vast distances to be there in person. Although there are some downsides, the advantages often well outweigh the disadvantages and it is well worth considering undertaking some of these courses from time to time.