Whether you’re looking to flesh out your resume, refocus your career path, make the most of unemployment/childcare leave, or simply add some variety to your intellectual life, an online course can help you achieve your goals with minimal disruption to your life and finances. However, taking the wrong class can be a waste of time and even money. Here are some aspects of an online course for job skills to consider before you enroll.
Both the pace and length of a class can affect much you get out of it. Studying a new language over the course of one summer will get you about as far as “where is the bathroom?” If you want to learn a language for work-related communication, plan on a years-long commitment. Similarly, if you have a 60- hour workweek, childcare duties, or other time-consuming responsibilities, then a fast-paced, high-workload class may not be right for you.
Luckily, the abundance of learning options on the web offer flexibility for everyone. Saylor, for instance, allows for self-paced units. Sites like Open CourseWare provide college-level materials without the structure of a class setting– great for a review or learning within tough time constraints. Open 2 Study, on the other hand, offers month-long courses with week-long units. If you have even more time, check out this list of classes you can take over ten weeks or less.
2. Course Level
Taking an advanced data analytics class when you never took basic statistics is a recipe for disaster. Sometimes, the most useful courses are introductory topics that help you build the foundation for a new system. Maybe you need an online course for job skills that will help you work up to a more relevant one. If that’s the case, try starting at Coursera, which offers a range of classes to help you start a new subject. If you want more guidance, Alison features a series of progressively more advanced courses, called a learning path. Finally, if you’re seeking deeper expertise in a field, you might look into a university’s Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)…
Yale, Harvard, Stanford, and many other top-tier universities offer free classes online, a great option for industry veterans. However, if you’re not ready for a college-level course, your time may be better spent at other sites (just make sure to run a quick google search for credibility from new sources). Remember that colleges aren’t the only reliable institutes on the web. For instance, Microsoft offers a number of classes for tech-phobes and game developers alike.
The thousands of class options out there can be distracting or daunting. From the start, make sure your course is relevant to both your field and the specific job you want. Consider searching for classes by topic, like digital marketing or data science, to make sure it’s an online course for job skills you need.
Whether you used to love school or hide in the corners, online courses provide an opportunity to all kinds of learners to improve their job prospects. Make sure you commit to the right course by considering its pace, level, origin, and relevance to your career goals!