Search through any forum about e-learning and one of the most common questions is, “Are online courses helpful to learn new skills?” I have to be honest, I never really see the point in this type of question.
I believe all e-learning is valuable, if only to show you what not to study. Having said that, it might be worth going into some detail here, so let’s have a look and see why you should learn new skills with the help of online courses.
Online Courses Good for Learning New Skills
First, you need to know that not all skills you might want can be learned online. If you are considering a career in open-heart surgery, flying an passenger jet, or playing the piano for the London Philharmonic, I would suggest that online courses are probably not the way to go. But if it’s a skill you can learn from a book, you can do it online.
A good example of a skill you can definitely learn online is a new language. And in many ways, learning a language online is much better than from a book. Not only can you hear how the language sounds, which may not be possible with a book. Of course, the book might have a CD but how many of us have CD players these days?
Another advantage of learning a language with an online course is that you can ask questions if you are having a problem. And not just to the instructor. A good online course will be interactive in that other students can help each other as well. That is certainly not possible with a book. And you’ll still get assignments and worksheets if the instructor has supplied them.
Learn New Skills When You Want, Not Your Teacher
Availability is another way in which online courses are helpful for learning new skills. If you’re working or at school, you’re probably too busy to attend the classes you’d like. You won’t have that problem if you’re studying online because you can study whenever you like.
In fact, this is one of the reasons why I love e-learning so much. It’s not just that courses are available when you want to study. They’re also available to you no matter where you are in the world, no matter what you do in life, and no matter how much you earn.
If I may digress for a moment, the fact that anyone can do these online classes means that anyone can use them to help them improve their lot in life. If that’s not making quality education for the masses, I don’t know what is.
E-learning Is Not Just Helpful to Learn New Skills
The brutal truth about online learning is that it is a bit of a double-edged sword. E-learning gives you the freedom to study where you want, when you want. You can study during your commute to work, while you’re having lunch, and even in the bath.
But there is a problem with all this freedom. You also have the freedom to do absolutely nothing, and that is why most students fail to complete their online studies. Are you have to make sure you are mentally prepared to study online?
And you also need to be a bit honest with yourself. If you are a lazy person in the real world, I doubt very much you will be hard-working online. Ask yourself if you’re the type of person who needs to be prodded to complete work. If you are, you may need to think twice about studying online.
Of course, even the most motivated of online student struggle to complete courses. That’s why I wrote a post about how to flourish as an online student. It’s quite good and has lots of useful advice. If you can complete online courses, you will have shown yourself to have many good qualities necessary to be an independent learner. You can check it out here.
What Online Classes Are the Most Helpful for New Skills
Earlier, I mentioned that anything you could learn in a book would work as an online course. We have talked about language courses already. However, let’s try and be a bit more specific, and look at some of the best courses to do online.
I think it goes without saying that anything to do with coding works very well. I know this is true because I have done a coding course myself. And if this 55-year-old can do an online coding course, anyone can.
Management theory courses are also very good to learn a new skill. Of course, the problem with these types of courses is that, without being able to put the theory into practise, they can be of limited use. Still, worst case scenario, you might find them pretty useful to put them on your CV if nothing else.
One thing. Online language courses are great but for practise, not so much. However, there are many websites where you can do language exchanges. If you are a native English Speaker, it doesn’t matter what particular language you’re learning, you” be in big demand.
You Can Get Certificates When You Learn Your New Skills
The other big question is whether the new skills you have learned will be recognised by future employers. This is a very good question and, to be honest, only your future employer can really tell you that.
Having said that, if you asked me if your efforts will pay off, my answer would be almost certainly yes. While I admit that the certificates for your new skills may not be recognised by everyone, your self-motivation almost certainly will be.
If you have spent a couple of years learning new skills, I would find it very difficult to believe that any employer will just brush off your studies as of no value. And if they did, I would have to ask myself if they are the type of employer you want as an er… employer.
Wrapping It All Up
And there you have it. Is it worth doing online courses to help you learn new skills? To summarise, absolutely! I genuinely believe that whatever you learn will add value to your life, your CV, and your future. So, get online and start learning those new skills; you have nothing to lose.