How to Pick the Best Online Courses

I’ve been taking online courses since as long as I can remember. Ever since I was a curious teenager browsing the web on Netscape Navigator, I’ve been consuming information on anything and everything.

Thankfully, these days things are a lot more organized, and it’s easy to find the best online courses on topics of interest on sites like Udemy, the Open University, and YouTube.


Better yet, some big institutions have embraced eLearning wholesale, and regular people like you and I can take free online courses from respected schools like Harvard, MIT, and Oxford University.

Yet, the sheer number of readily available online courses can make it difficult to know where to start. This has created the paradox of choice, where there are just too many great courses to choose from.

So, how do you pick the best online courses? I’ve developed a system for whittling them down to the ones you’ll benefit most from.

Think About Your Learning Goals

My college psychology professor once told us “If you don’t know why you’re doing it, you won’t.” It was a simple utterance he’d probably made 1,000 times before, but it stuck with me, and I couldn’t help but marvel at its profundity.

If you don’t know why you’re doing it, you won’t.

When searching through the best online courses, you need to have a goal in mind. It’s just like making any other purchase (even if it’s free you’re spending your time, so it’s still a purchase). You need to have a goal in mind – an end objective, with the course being the vehicle which will take you there.

Write down on a piece of paper exactly what you want to learn and what you want to achieve with this knowledge.

For example, are you angling for a new career in computer programming? Find out what languages are most relevant today in the field you hope to work in. If you’re hoping for a new career, you might also want to consider free online courses with certificates.

On the other hand, if you just want to learn something new for fun, you don’t have to think too much about this. Just pick something which genuinely interests you.

Preview the Course

The great thing about sites like Udemy is that the best courses can be previewed. Just like sampling a new food, you can get a feel for the quality of the course this way.

free online courses

It’s important to think about a few things here:

  • Is the course audio and video high quality?
  • Can you understand the tutor/teacher?
  • What sort of vibe do you get from the course?
  • Is the course content structured in a logical way?
  • What do other students say about the course?

All of these things can be found out from the preview and reviews. You should most definitely take the time to do some basic research if you’re thinking of paying for an online course.

Consider the Course Format

Depending on what it is you want to learn, certain course formats will or will not be suitable.

For example, if you want to learn website design, a video course will probably suit you perfectly.

However, if you want to learn English online, you will most likely need a conversational partner to practice with, or a tutor to actively check your work.

If you’re just casually interested in a subject, such as ancient history, an audio course might suit you fine. That way you can listen as you do your daily chores, or when relaxing with a cup of coffee.

It’s important to think about how the course format will or won’t help you meet your learning goals. Luckily, most courses designed by professionals will be crafted with key learning objectives in mind.

In other words – a great teacher will already have thought about this for you, and the course will reflect that.

best online courses

Just Go For It!

Once you’ve found the best online course(s) for you, it’s time to make a decision.

They say knowledge is power, and the most successful people are lifelong learners. I believe that, and there’s no doubt that online courses can unlock doors and open up paths you never dreamed of.

Best of all, with the Udemy coupons, you’ll find on Coupon Scorpion, you can enjoy a massive library of free courses, and if you do decide to upgrade and buy a premium course, you’ll have a 30-day money back guarantee.

With literally nothing to lose and so much to gain, the only question left to answer is – what are you going to learn next?

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