10 Things You Should Know Before You Purchase Online Course

On March 11, 2020, after months of analysis and research, the World Health Organization (WHO) had officially declared the Covid-19 virus outbreak as a global pandemic, and ever since then, the world hasn’t been the same. With the pandemic causing disruptions in the economic and health sectors in countries worldwide, it has seriously impacted the education sector as well. As a result, all educational institutions have had no choice but to shut down temporarily and switch to an online mode of learning, leading to an increase in the number of people buying an online course and taking part in eLearning.

With the rapid surge of technology in recent years, education that seemed bound to lectures and physical classes could now function online due to e-learning. According to a global survey in 2018, the percentage of students who opted for online education grew to 15.4% from 14.7% in 2016, which meant that one in six students learned through online courses. Similarly, students who attended physical education and e-learning grew faster to 17.6% in 2017 from 16.4% in 2016. This meant that 33.1% of students worldwide took at least one online course of their liking.

The e-learning industry is majorly distributed within two categories, MOOCS (Massive Open Online Courses) & Online University Education. The former has been seen as a much more viable option while learning online than the latter. During the years 2019-2021, statistics noted increased interest levels shown in enrolling and buying an online course to enter the world of digital education. A recent survey in the U.S. depicted that about 52% of graduate students found online college education to provide a better experience while learning instead of classroom education (Duffin,2019). There are multiple reasons why e-learning became a popular option for children and adults to learn from. According to a survey, it has been seen that people have been favoring online courses over traditional courses due to various reasons depicted in the graph below.

It has been observed that MOOC providers such as Coursera, edX & FutureLearn had achieved the same amount of users in April 2020 as they had in the whole of 2019. Before the pandemic struck, these providers seemed to have a stagnant user base, but once it hit, around 30% of new users registered with Coursera, adding almost 35 million users to their company in the first five months of the pandemic.

Slowly but gradually, a significant shift from the world of physical education to e-learning is taking place. A vast array of websites and courses have seemed to come up within no time, and everyone you see around you has either opted or is planning on choosing an online course to boost their skillset and knowledge. Although this learning mode seems to be very popular and accessible, with nearly every other influencer and friend suggesting you explore, things can take a turn unpleasant, and it can be a burden if not done correctly.

10 Things you Should be Aware of Before Investing in an Online Course

Here are some things you should consider before you give into that suggestion of your acquaintance, purchase an online course and delve into the evolving world of online education.

Is it affordable?

The first and most important question that you need to ask yourself before you opt for any course is whether or not it feels affordable. The cost of online classes can differ significantly, with some of them being cheap for your pocket and others making a hole in it. Studying in an online course is no cake-walk, so the last thing you would want is that extra pressure of getting returns from the money you invested. So, if it doesn’t seem viable to pay cash for, the best answer is not to buy it, however attractive it may look.

Is it within your schedule?

The second thing you should always consider before you buy a course is whether or not you will be able to make time for it. The affordability of time is rarer than the affordability of money. A simple introspection by analyzing your daily routine, calendar, and time management skills can help you decide whether or not taking part in the course is practical or simply just an optimistic dream. A simple exercise could be thinking about whether you would be able to give the course at least an hour a day, five days a week, for the entire course duration or not. Simply put, if you don’t have the time, it isn’t your chime.

Is it helpful for your career?

Imagine purchasing a course, which promised you a lot of things, seemed fun, but when you begin learning further about the course, you come to realize that it has nothing to do with your own life or career goals. Now that would be a total disaster. So, to avoid such drastic problems, you must always research the course you plan to purchase and enroll in and verify whether it seems tangible with your own career choices further into the future. If even after introspection or research, the course and your goals don’t seem to match, the former won’t be a good investment.

Is the course designed for you?

Before you plan to take up a course, you must figure out how the course is designed and how effective you think it may be while helping learners like you receive the content of the course. Is the teacher using a unique style while explaining his course, and do their values match yours? Before you opt for a course, such questions can be crucial as they can help you decide whether the course you choose to purchase is worth the hype.

Is the website legitimate?

All credit to the growing popularity of online courses and e-learning in recent years, many companies want to take advantage and get a share of the profit online course companies have made as they continue to gain millions of users each day. This also means that there is a lot of competition to attract users to their websites first. Since the Internet is such a vast place, containing information and options from around the world, you will inevitably come across lots of fake and shady websites which may promise you courses at meager rates, only to lure you in and steal your money. To avoid getting baited, a thorough check about the website’s history of selling the course and the people it works with is necessary to ensure that you do not lose your money over a fraud website.

Is the course certified?

There would be various courses that would offer you a variety of information and knowledge. Still, the question you must ask yourself is whether the course is certified by a legitimate authority or an institution. Another catch is to take a closer look at the course ratings and testimonials which may be present and whether those ratings are legitimate or not. There is nothing much worse than putting your time, money, and effort into a course, only to realize that the course isn’t certified by anyone. Thus it won’t be an addition to either your resumé or even your college credit profile.

Is the same or better information available for cheap elsewhere?

The Internet is a vast place full of information to its brim. This means that there are many options to choose from, but only if you dig deep enough. There are many websites present on the Internet, like YouTube, which could provide the same information present in your course for free or at lower prices. Therefore, if you find the course you wish to take part in to be expensive, a quick search on the Internet can help you find the same or better information at better prices and save your money.

Is it accessible?

The online course which you plan to purchase should be accessible to all learners and all devices. Along with that, an online course should demonstrate a commitment to accessibility for all learners. It should include Universal Design for eLearning principles and be consistent with their values. If you’ve got a disability, you must ensure that learners using assistive technologies like you should have no problem navigating and learning the course.

Ensure the Course is Interactive

Purchasing the course is not enough unless you get to ask questions and grasp each and every inch of information it has to offer. You need to be vigilant prior to investing, whether the course is interactive in terms of teachers answering your questions or the course provides a forum where you can discuss and learn more with a like-minded group of people.

Do your peers recommend it?

The easiest way to keep track of online courses worth your time and effort is by asking your friends. These courses highly rated by other people or influencers you trust and see people learn in can be an excellent course to invest yourself into.

Online courses are the best-proven methods to upgrade your skillset and give you a career boost by opening so many doors to newer opportunities. However, due to an overload of information, it can be exhausting and discouraging to find a course that’s suitable for you. Using these filters can help you to narrow down your own requirements and pick a course that’s best to enhance your mastery in a particular field.