Learning wasn’t something that I enjoyed while I was in school. There I said it.
I struggled with connecting to what I was learning, how I was learning and I found it hard to stay focused. Yes, I went to University and graduated, but the experience was long and drawn out. It wasn’t until I changed my major (for the 4th time) Sociology and minored in Anthropology, that I really got excited to learn, read and explore.
Don’t get me wrong, I was curious. I liked to read - a lot. I just needed to find something that I was passionate about and figure out what my end goal was.
I feel like formal education is changing and going to university or college is not enough these days. Yes, I think there are many benefits to formal education, especially because attending helps to build a strong foundation of discipline and knowledge. University/college is also important if you have a specific disciplinary or profession that you are working towards, but learning can be informal and very specific to a tangible skill or subject. I also feel like education needs to be rich, varied and continuous. Online courses are THE way to go to help us grow knowledge and skills enabling us to evolve and change.
Why take an online course?
When I started life i design, I had a dream. That dream was to make a living from my art. I wanted to work from home so that I could be home for my kids after school and through the summer and school holidays. I wanted to be independent and earn an income, doing what I loved. I also needed to learn a lot and quickly!!
I needed to learn how to build a website. How to create graphics. How to write code to customize my website. I needed to learn Adobe illustrator and Photoshop. I had very specific ideas of what my end-goal was and had limited time and didn’t want to take out a student loan in the process!
I looked at my local colleges and universities. I could enrol in any one of their business programs and finish a degree or certificate in 2-4 years, with probably $100k of student debt. I totally could have taken that route, but it wasn’t for me!
Instead, I researched, I followed people and ask questions. I found the best online courses that fit my time-frame, my end goal and my budget from someone who I felt was qualified enough to give me what I needed to get going. Meaning, they were already doing what I was setting out to do and were having the success that I was after.
I’m a hard worker, I knew I could take introductory classes and grow from there. After all, sometimes getting started is the hardest part!
My personal experience with taking online courses
So I invested in a few website building courses, a few marketing and SEO courses, making sure that they were very specific to my creative business. I also invested in a large and intensive business school program that I still go back to today, after 5 years of first taking that course!
You see, learning never ends. As you grow, you pivot and evolve and find new things that you have to explore and learn. I still take classes today! Most recently, I’ve learned how to use Pinterest to share my message more effectively and even how to use Photoshop to better digitize my artwork so that it looks good on furniture!
I believe in taking online courses so much so, that I have taken time away from my art and creative practice, to create courses to help others achieve their personal goals. I’m excited to share everything that I’ve learned over the years in the hopes of inspiring, empowering and saving you time and money! No matter what your goal is. [More about life i design online in another post]
Here are the reasons why I think taking online courses is the way to go! Read to the bottom to see my top online class resources.
You can watch/take the class at your own pace, when it’s convenient for you.
I’ve powered through some online classes and devoured all the information at once which was amazing when I was learning skills like calligraphy and lettering. I would get through an entire class in a day and then spend the next few weeks practicing, re-watching parts and practicing some more. Most online courses offer life time access, and gives you the freedom to experience the class over and over again. Remember, as we grow our skill and knowledge, we can come back to the same class but experience it completely differently each time. We also will receive snippets of information that we didn’t experience the first or second time around. So convenience is a huge part of why take an online course.
You can find courses that are very specific to your end goal.
So when I was looking for online courses to learn how to set up my Wordpress site (now I love Squarespace and don’t think I’d ever go back!), I was looking for some very specific things. I wanted to learn from someone who’s website I liked. I wanted to learn exactly HOW to set up my site and make it pretty looking. I also wanted to learn quickly and as it was one of my first investments into my new venture, I wanted to make sure it was affordable. More on cost next, but I had very specific parameters and goals that I had in mind. I couldn’t find a single in-person classes that could fit those specifications. Remember, I had young kids, limited time and a tight start-up budget. So my end-goal was very specific, but I found a number of online courses that I could have easily invested in. Luckily, the one I chose was very effective and checked off all my boxes with a big one being affordable!
You can find courses that fit any budget.
It’s true. I’ve invested as little as $97 for courses and as much as $2,500. Yup. There is a huge range. What I recommend is that you do your research, look at what the course offers and ask questions to whoever is offering the online course. HINT: If it takes them a long time to get back to you, chances are if you have difficulty during the course, you will not get any feedback or support. I’d stay away from taking their course. Next, decide how much you will gain from that course. Think about how you will incorporate the new information in your skill, your goals and your personal budget. Remember, knowledge is power and learning is something we should never stop doing. I strongly feel that the more knowledge you have, even if it’s something as simple as baking cakes, the more options you have for; creativity, earning an income, or even just simple but important, personal growth and fun!
You can find courses that teach just about everything!
Speaking of fun, I have taken some great photography classes that I’ve had a lot of fun with, that have helped my business and have given me a great selection of family photos too!! These days I’ve taken everything from photography to SEO and marketing. All online. Most while wearing my pjs and sometimes even while still in bed! Nothing beats that type of flexibility and choice other than taking online courses. Do a quick Google search for whatever you can think of and I bet you will find an online course for it!
You are in control with online courses.
I’ve been taking an online course about crystals. It’s a short course. I can probably finish it today if I had the time, but I don’t. I’ve been taking it for about a year, watching when I can and when I feel like I want to consume more information about crystals and their unique energy. I’m in control of when I learn and that’s just another reason what I love about online courses, you are in control with how and when you absorb the content. On the flip side, you can take as many online courses as you can afford the time and money on, however, if you don’t put into practice what you learn, you are wasting your time. Online courses are very similar to building a business from home, you have to do the work and be very disciplined. No one is holding you accountable. You are in charge here. In order to be successful and use the information you are learning, taking action everyday is the only way for any course to be worth it. Period. More on that in another post I think.
Conclusion and resources for why take online courses
So as you can see, I am a FIRM believer in taking online courses. Not only can you find an amazing variety from a great selection of instructors, but you can also find affordable and quality classes and control how you absorb the content while putting what you learn into practice!
Keep in touch with me and find out when life i design online launches by subscribing below. Trust me, there’s going to be a sale and maybe even a giveaway or two!
Before you go! Here are my top resources of online courses and sites to check out!
Marie Forleo’s B-School - An investment but worth every penny!
Skillshare - I both learn and teach on this platform now. It offers great variety and content.
Latest.courses - It’s a new resource site for online classes that I’ve just discovered that has great variety and links to online courses.
Udemy - Great variety of indpendent teachers and classes here.
(I’ll update this list often as I go through my list of courses that I have taken - there are a lot!!)
Good luck with your learning journey! I hop it’s a full and successful one!