Have you been thinking about starting an online course recently? Debating between and online course and an in-person one? If this sounds like you, it’s important to make sure you are ready for either before beginning. Everyone knows courses tend to be a lot of work. But, I think a lot of people underestimate the work requirements and amount of time that an online course demands. By doing this, they don’t fully understand what they are getting themselves into. An online course is no joke if done properly. So we’re here to make sure you’re ready for it.
Here are 5 crucial questions to ask yourself before starting an online course.
1. Do you have time?
Before commencing anything, it’s important that you’ll be able to make a sincere time commitment. Anything worth it will require some amount of time from your life. So, #1, make sure this is available to you. What is your work schedule like? Do you have kids? How about cleaning your home and doing all of your usual errands? All of these things will need to go on. So make sure you have figured out a way to keep things cool while doing your course. Secondly, time management is so important in an online course. I remember the first time Idid an online course. I waited until just about 1 week before the deadline to cram 2 or 3 papers in and take a final, and let me tell you, it was NOT fun! So set aside a specific time every day to do your work and actually do your work during the allotted time.
2. Are you self-motivated?
This is absolutely critical to ask yourself before doing an online course. Anyone preparing to do an online course must be self-motivated. It is entirely up to you to stay focused and diligent with your course. You don’t have a teacher asking where you were or other students who are relying on you. This is 100% up to you. You have to set the pace and stick to it. With this, comes discipline. There won’t be an instructor penalizing you because you missed a class or because your homework wasn’t done to your full potential. Nope. You are your own instructor in some ways. By doing the bare minimum, your only hurting yourself. If you don’t think you’re capable of setting the pace, sticking to it and doing your best without someone else helping you along the way, I would think about opting for an in-person course instead.
3. Are you able to learn successfully without being in the classroom?
What type of learner are you? Some people are auditory learners, meaning they learn best by hearing an instructor say things. Others are visual learners – they need to be able to see the information they are learning. While others are verbal and depend on using words and speech to comprehend new material. Lastly, we have physical learners who do best when they can body and hands or sense of touch. Each learner is very different and many of us are a combination of 2 or 3 styles. Of the 4 styles, auditory and visual learner do best with online courses. Since there is an instructor in the video modules of most online courses, the aspect of hearing is covered. Meanwhile, in other modules, lessons and activities, they can see presentations of new grammar points, vocabulary words and more
4. Are you engaged enough in the topic?
Are you ready to devote a lot of time and energy into this? Is this course going to grant you with something you will actually use in the future? If you’re not totally sure how this course is going to benefit you in the future, I would maybe hold off for right now. On the other hand, if this course is crucial to the next steps of your career or another large aspect of your life, then go for it. Why wait?
5. Do you have the proper technology?
Without proper technology, an online course is just about impossible to do. You’ll 100% need a laptop or a desktop computer. Some online courses are capable of being done by a smartphone or iPad, but it’s must more difficult. A bigger screen will be a lot better for learning online since many online lessons use video-based learning as well as written instructions and graphics. A small screen won’t be able to accommodate this at the same time. Next, you’ll need an Internet connection. Without Internet, you won’t be able to access the courses. Luckily, in today’s society WiFi is available all over the world. You can find it at cafés and coffee shops, libraries, shopping malls and even in some parks and outdoor areas. Of course, I think it is ideal to have a WiFi connection at home while doing an online course, but if you can’t afford that or it doesn’t work in your home, there are many more options for you. So, as long as you have a computer and Internet access, you’ve got the technology that you need.
However, you also need to know how to properly use that technology if you want to succeed in your online course. You should understand how your computer works, how your mouse or trackpad works, how to type fairly quickly, how to login to your course, how to use multiple browsers at one time, etc.
So, really dig deep and ask yourself these questions. Try to answer them as honestly as you can because at the end of the day, it’s your money and your life. Don’t do something if you’re not ready for it or if it’s not a good fit for you. Yet, on the contrary, if you’re confident with your answers to these questions then I say, GO FOR IT!