How to choose the right online course that suits your career goalsJanuary 1, 2018 2020-08-13 10:17
How to choose the right online course that suits your career goals
Online studying has emerged as one of the more successful transformational stories in the rapidly-evolving digital world. With the flexibility to study anytime and anywhere, it can play an influential role in the lives of students, working professionals, stay-at-home parents, or others without access to educational infrastructure. Online learning or e-learning also complements offline education, as it goes the extra mile to put you on the path to professional excellence. However, as an individual, you may not be entirely clear about your true calling. But that does not mean you can take a shortcut to select the online course!
Finding the right course involves many steps, from career introspection and research to selecting the right provider. Even one wrong move can stop you from maximizing your online studying journey. Sometimes, you may be spending your hard-earned savings or taking out student loans. It’s why identifying the best-fit online course is as important as picking the right university or college!
Here are two key questions to ask yourself while searching for the right course to accelerate your career goals.
What are your short-term and long-term learning priorities?
The best part of online courses is that they can be customized to serve specific career goals. Unless you are aware of your short-term priorities, you may use the wrong criteria to select the course. You must focus on the finer details. For instance, if you are working and want to enhance your technology skills and grow your career, you must go for an advanced course aligned with the industry you belong to. If you have not yet finalized your long-term goals, it is an excellent opportunity to start thinking about them – especially if you are a student. Raising your competency level should come only after having a clear idea of what you want to do with it.
What are your immediate and future career options?
Whether you are starting as an entry-level fresher or a professional with a decade of experience, you must know what career options lay ahead. Again, there is a short-term, as well as long-term aspect to it. Some career paths may start with a bang, considering a boom in job vacancies at your level, but it may reach a dead-end, after which you may begin to feel undervalued. On the other side, it can be a path that starts slow but goes on hyperdrive after a few years of work experience. Before you pick the online course, give yourself the chance to know what lies ahead in your professional horizon.
Now that you are clear about where you stand, it’s time to dig into what makes the online course provider the right choice for you. Let’s look at three critical considerations:
- The credibility of the provider: Many online courses may make big claims, but the bottom line is they must have necessary specializations that are recognized by prospective employers as valuable skills. Reputation is extremely crucial, so you must ensure that only certified and experienced instructors, with real-world experience, are hired by the provider.
- The design of the course: For any online course to be engaging, it must follow a structured syllabus that comes with a step-by-step learning narrative. The course content is usually very narrow, which gives you an in-depth understanding of the subject matter.
- The flexibility of learning: Innovations in the e-learning space has also made it easy to incorporate multimedia elements. By using live video feeds, interactive content, and gamification tools, the digital learning journey can be more immersive and humanlike.
After you start the online course, you need not just be a passive student – you can be a proactive professional who looks to maximize the career journey. Here are five ways that you can align your online course outcomes with your career goals.
- Self-evaluate to assess the growth in your competency level in accordance with the course objectives
- Network and establish relationships with your peers in the learning community
- Understand how to seek immediate support in case of any technical issues
- Explore other learning opportunities outside the course, such as soft skills, personality development, interview preparation, etc.
- Get assigned to a mentor to leverage veteran assistance in closing the gap between your current realities and future aspirations
The importance of research cannot be understated while selecting your online course. Before signing up, read extensively about the subject matter, the syllabus, the institution, the instructor, as well as possible career opportunities or advancements. No course tends to be alike, and each one may differ on how they help you advance your learning. Remember that a lot of investment goes into e-learning.
Despite the convenience of a digital-first interface, it still involves your time and money. It is your responsibility to leave no stone unturned while conducting your due diligence on not just the course, but also on your own career aspirations.