The Knowledge Gap: Part 2 – Online courses
In recent years there has been an explosion in the number of online courses on offer. You can buy a course on almost any topic from calligraphy to yoga, from coding to vegan cookery. But beware – do your homework before signing up to an expensive course as all courses are not made equal. Do your homework on:
- the content,
- how it is delivered,
- the reviews and
- the testimonials
Most course creators have Facebook pages so it is relatively easy to gauge the level of satisfaction people have with the brand by looking at any reviews or reading some of the discussions.
In addition, consider the type of learning which works best for you; are you a visual learner, auditory or kinaesthetic? do you prefer to read instructions, watch a video or listen to audio?
Once you sign up to an online course, the lessons are usually delivered by providing you with a unique log in and a password. Payment is typically a single one-off payment, or a monthly recurring fee (with a discount if you choose to pay annually) or a life-time fee. A single payment is likely to be for a very specific topic where there is no need for updates to the information.
For subjects where there are a lot of changes throughout the year – for example, social media – a course which is a monthly payment where the information is regularly updated will be preferable. Course providers either provide users with access to the whole course or drip feed new lessons periodically. I have just done a 12-week online course which was paid for monthly and access was given to the next lesson weekly.
Check if the course provider provides any money-back guarantees and the refund policy before you sign up.
If you are looking to learn a specific topic then a simple search on Google using the following format ‘[Subject area] online course' will bring up sufficient results for you to make a selection from. For example, here are the top few search results for ‘selling on Amazon online course'.
Online Course versus Membership Site
For certain topics you may consider a membership site will provide you with more value. A membership site is similar to an online course with the added bonus of providing a forum for members to ask questions to both the course provider and other users. The forum may be set up within the membership website or by taking advantage of a private Facebook group. There are pros and cons to each: a website forum may have less activity as users have to log in to gain access, whereas many people are on Facebook several times a day. On the other hand, Facebook may change the rules for groups and the course organiser has no control over the outcome.
The other benefit of a membership site is that you have more access to the expert who is teaching you. A membership site requires the creator to participate to keep the forum lively and engaging. Seeing how others are progressing as the months go by is also very motivational. A Membership site's library of resources is likely to be an ever-increasing suite of information, so look for membership sites which are well established.
“Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune.”
Online Learning Platforms
There are also thousands of courses hosted on platforms such as Udemy.Online course platforms (websites which sell a range of courses) include:
At the end of the end, if you are looking for help there are so many resources online that you will never run out. Beware, old YouTube videos and any site that doesn't look reputable. Invest the cost of a cup of coffee a day and get your ‘learning fix' satisfied.
PS: If you are looking to create your own online course or membership site visit The Membership Guys website