Online business courses can teach you just about everything you need to know. Finance, accounting, management, content marketing, writing – you name it, and you can find an online course for it.
The recent exponential growth in online learning has led to a massive amount of new business courses, but it’s a double-edged sword. While it’s great to have so many options to choose from, now you have to sift through loads of substandard courses to find the real hidden gems.
And that’s easier said than done.
Fortunately, we have some tips to help you. Below, we’ll walk you through 6 key things to look for when evaluating an online business course. Follow these tips and you’ll save a lot of money and a lot of time.
You can thank us later.
6 Things to Look for in the Best Online Business Courses
Not all online business courses are created equal. Some are associated with poor structure or formats, while others are taught by instructors with little or no real-world experience.
Don’t waste your time on an invaluable online business course. It might save you money, but it might teach you incorrect or outdated principles that hurt your business.
Instead, always critically examine these 6 things before whipping out your credit card:
Is the instructor walking or talking?
You don’t want the kind of teacher who shows up to class in a rented Lambo with an exhausted credit card. You want a world-class practitioner who has done (and excelled) what they teach.
Your instructor should have full business experience with exceptional talent in at least a few areas. They don’t need to be a jack-of-all-trades, but they do need to know how to start and grow a business from scratch.
You should also like your instructor. If it’s not someone you respect and admire, you won’t trust it. And if you don’t trust them, you won’t follow their advice when the turning points come.
Not everyone is cut out to create online courses, even if it’s a million-dollar personal success. Instructors cannot only know the material, they must know how to teach it.
Do you want to learn from a talking head, slides or a combination of both? Would you like the lesson to be filmed from someone’s iPhone or desktop computer, or do you prefer full studio production quality?
Style matters, and don’t convince yourself it doesn’t.
Most online business courses will take you weeks or months. If you don’t find the style of the course interesting and engaging, you won’t complete it. As simple as that.
Instead, you’ll be doing what most students do: skipping classes, preparing for exams, and “passing” no better off than when you started.
Rough, we know, but that’s the way it is.
If a course offers an overview or sample, try it out to see if your learning style matches the course’s teaching style.
What additional resources does the course provide? Look for things like workbooks, cheat sheets, checklists, and downloadable PDFs.
Also look for other elements of engagement. Can you ask the instructor questions? Will you get feedback on your homework? Can you interact with other course participants?
The best online business courses will direct you to high-quality sources to further your learning. For example, they might not be able to go into detail about every term they use in the course, but they should be able to point you in the right direction if you want to learn more.
What results does the course promise? Are they aligned with your goals?
For example, some online business courses promise a high-paying job or a quick climb up the corporate ladder. Others highlight the certificate of completion that you can add to your LinkedIn profile or resume. And a few focus on real-world skills you’ll learn to help you build your own business.
There’s no right or wrong answer here, but you want to find a course that gives you what you need.
Most students are looking for longer courses, but longer is not always better. While you may get more content, that doesn’t mean more bang for your buck.
Imagine that one course promises to teach you content marketing with 30 hours of video instruction, and another promises you the same with only 5 hours of video instruction. Naturally, you’d lean towards the beefier course, especially if they’re both the same price.
However, most of these super long courses do not offer more value. They just extend the content, which means you have to waste more time to acquire the same level of learning.
When it comes to length, be skeptical. Longer is not better.
6. Publication date
Speed is important when it comes to education, especially with business courses. Yesterday’s content marketing tactics may not work today, and Instagram may not even have the same features 12 months from now.
Check when the course was published and also check how often it is updated. A 5 year old conference can still be relevant if the instructor regularly adds, changes and deletes content.
Read more: Is an MBA worth it?
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