In a highly competitive business world, every person craves professional growth to climb the corporate ladder. Some people want to enjoy working in managerial roles, while others thrive for lucrative opportunities. Unfortunately, a college degree is not enough to achieve professional growth because you have to earn your way up there. Alongside exhibiting your expertise, it is imperative to advance your skill set and knowledge to keep up with the changing world. Are you wondering how?
Amid digital transformation, there are plenty of options to grow professionally. You can attend webinars, participate in industry conferences, enroll yourself in short courses, or join some training programs. It broadens your areas of expertise, expands your skill set, and boosts professional reputation. From educational training to fintech technology and cybersecurity courses – you are able to choose from a plethora of options. However, defining which choice is right for you can be tricky, but let us help you out.
Here are some tips you have to consider while choosing an online training course for professional development.
1. Choose the Right Format
Technology is transforming the educational environment with e-learning opportunities. It is proving to be quite impactful since it makes education accessible to people of different age groups. Whether you are pursuing an intensive training program or short course – determine the format. Professional development classes follow various platforms to fit varying academic standards, personal schedules, and learning styles.
Some programs are highly regulated with preset class timings. Professors teach these programs through pre-recorded videos, and interactions are limited to only emails. Similarly, you can look out for online short courses as it follows a flexible approach, allowing you to learn at your own pace. You will also be able to attend classes online from the comfort of your home, which will still include proper participation and interaction.
In this format, you will listen to lectures and submit assignments online with feasibility. Hence, before delving into courses and training programs, figure out which design works the best for you.
2. Determine Your Goals
Next up, you have to straighten out your expectations from a training course. Do you want to broaden your knowledge in a particular topic? Or do you want to specialize in a particular skill set? Some already have an idea about the topic they wish to study, but others prefer exploring their options. Before you start looking into a course, determine your professional career goals to ensure the training course aligns with it. If you see yourself as becoming a chief financial officer, taking courses relating to the latest financial innovations can help.
3. Select a Reputable Institute
These days, every educational institute is moving towards e-learning, and almost every college offers an online training program. However, it doesn’t mean you should settle for any institute. Once you are well-versed with your future ambitions, look for a school that can take you one step closer towards your goal.
Similarly, if you want to flourish as a finance manager, search for business schools offering courses on cybersecurity, gene-editing, or fintech.
4. Learning Styles & Technology
Fortunately, educational institutes are recognizing the importance of individual differences in learning. Thus, they are focusing on embedding Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles. This gives equal opportunity to every student on the concept that every person learns differently. Therefore, when choosing an online course, make sure it is pertinent to your learning style. From audio, visuals and engagement to interactive conversations – the training course must accommodate different learning needs.
In addition to this, determine how technology is influencing the educational experience. If possible, take a demo class to assess video quality, graphics, and design, as this is the key to student retention. Likewise, see if the website and course materials are accessible on your device. Remember, competent programs offer captions and transcription reports for every online lecture to improve the student experience. Hence, keep an eye on these features before you call the shots.
5. Opportunities for Peer Interaction
Are group projects part of the course? Believe it or not, but professional development is incomplete without collaborative group work. Although e-learning has minimal peer interaction, group assignments can foster a sense of community. Alongside the course material, it will teach you how to network and build relationships with people from different backgrounds. A course with peer-interaction allows you to learn from like-minded peers and widens your horizons. Besides, you never know which virtual group activities bring out the leader inside you, opening doors to professional development.
6. Assess Learning Outcomes
Although you know what you want to achieve from training courses, it is time to consider what they have to offer. Start assessing the learning outcomes of the training courses to determine what skill sets you would learn. Go through the course description and see if the subject matter and practical application aligns with your goals. Likewise, it is crucial to assess the grading criterion. If the course material is highly technical, it should be using self-check quizzes such as a formative assessment, as this puts more focus on learning and practical implementation and not just the results.
7. Narrow Down Your Choices & Start Learning!
Amongst hundreds of courses, now it is time to start shortlisting a few. Since you are familiar with what the courses cover, check your schedule and see how many you can manage at a time. Nevertheless, don’t overburden yourself by taking numerous training courses altogether because you can always add them to your wish list. As per the eLearning industry, for every $1500 an employer spends on training, they achieve a 24% increase in profit margins.
Most importantly, don’t forget to consider the cost of online courses to see if it fits within your budget. If the program seems expensive, consider saving up as this is an investment in your professional development journey.
These days there are infinite distant learning opportunities. Stay at-home parents are getting higher degrees, while professionals are pursuing short courses for career development. It diversifies their skill set, enhances knowledge, and builds expertise. Therefore, it is vital to do your research before you start a program. After all, these are an investment of your time and money.