What I wish someone told me before taking an Online Course

Just a few questions that you might ask when enquiring about an Online Course.

As you know, there are many perks to taking online classes as they offer flexibility to you as a Learner.  This is especially important for you as I am acutely aware that you are up to your eyes in life, trying to balance classes with work, family commitments, and the myriad of other tasks you have during any given day.  Speaking to you as an experienced Training provider, a question I am asked quite often is 'what  do I need to know before I take on an online class', or 'is it going to be hard? or 'am I going to fit in?' Well, I suppose some of you want to pick up where you left off, or maybe you are looking to upskill for career purposes, or you need to complete a course for certification reasons.  This may be your first time online or your first time with Lir.

I'll be honest, my heart skips a beat when I speak to someone who has that innate need to learn more. Their enthusiasm is palpable, but all have questions that need to be answered to make that important decision if there's certification at the end, brilliant!

If this is your first time taking online classes, more than likely, you've asked yourself, 'are they harder?' 'are they more difficult online?' 'Will I be able to do it?' 'What's the best way to stay on track?'

Now's the time to learn from Training Providers like me with years of learning experience and enthusiasm for adult learning who realise that it's you, the Learner, who is at the centre of the whole process, and your questions are so important to us. We continually learn and improve what we do through valuable feedback from Tutors, Learners, employers and other training professionals.  So, if this relates to you, keep reading to get some insider knowledge about what to expect when taking 'Live' Tutor online certified courses and other online courses with Lir.

If you have ever heard the term 'experiential learning' developed by David Kolb in the 1970s, by drawing on the work of John Dewey, Kurt Lewin, and Jean Piaget, experiential learning requires a hands-on approach that puts the Learner at the centre of the learning experience.  Active participation is key, and learning occurs when you get to reflect on what you have been doing.

Have you ever started a question …

'I feel silly asking these questions about online learning, but …'

Seriously, as an educator and someone with an enormous capacity to listen attentively, there is no such thing as a 'silly question' when there is a niggling question in your mind about what online learning entails - out with it!  Yes, you are absolutely right to ask questions, and if the person who is responding to these questions makes you feel any differently or tells you 'don't worry, it's easy' then you are contacting the wrong training provider – why?

'Is online learning easy?'

Hello! I'd safely say, you know the answer to this question yourself.   Why? It would be  a waste of your time, and your money.  You may have done courses elsewhere that were easy, but do you want to learn something new, upskill and be challenged a little.  In my opinion, if it is too easy, then there is something inherently wrong with the choice or the design of the online course for you.  The content and the teaching and learning methods used may be inadequate.  The quality of the Tutor plays a large part.  Completing courses, whether in a classroom or online, is meant to be challenging – that is where all the exceptional learning becomes apparent.  Those little challenges that you surpass to reach your goal and the sense of achievement are what matters.  Yes, you may achieve a Pass, Merit, or Distinction, but ask yourself, 'did you really learn anything new?' Are you excited about the thought of using this knowledge, these skills, and your newfound ability to use online software while you were completing your course that you didn't expect to be included in your course? Most assignments, in my opinion, are supposed to have some element of critical thought.  

My answer, I suppose, to this question is it's not easy, but it contains the necessary elements to challenge your existing way of thinking, of doing something new and learning new ways, methods, ideas, and skills to, above all, excite you about the topic and give you that sense of achievement that we all need.

Choosing to do an online course over a classroom attendance course is not an 'easier way'.  Online courses offer more flexibility, but that doesn't change the amount of work you put in.

The flexibility of online classes can be extremely helpful to busy students, with no travel involved, no parking, no extra expense.  An added bonus for me is that it’s saved me a fortune in providing tea/coffee and biscuits each time. 

With an online course, you have this extra freedom, but it also creates additional pressures once enrolled. It's up to you to avoid distractions and keep yourself on track. Can you do that?  Are you going to plan some time for your online course?  If so, when, write it down now.  Make it clear to yourself first.

Not all online Training Providers offering the same certified modules, provide them in the same way.  The course design, access to your course, the experience of your Tutor, all play a huge part in your enjoyment of your online course. Suppose the course design just required you to answer your assessments with a quick trip to Google, how would you feel?   In that case, you will be greatly disappointed as most quality-driven, learner-centered courses require synthesis and analysis from you, the Learner.

So, online classes are not the 'easy' route

When I started this blog, I was going to discuss 3 things you should know before taking online classes.   I am training others for over 30 years now and have no idea why I was so naïve thinking I could do justice to this blog with 3 points because the list continues to grow with the potential to write about so much more. 

I will be back next week to discuss more with you. So, if you are interested in what courses we offer at Lir, you can subscribe for email updates, and see you next week.

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