Want some helpful ideas for completing online courses? Top 10 Online Course completion tips for e-Learners. This article is part 2 of 2 blogs on self-paced training courses and online course completion rates. Read the pros and cons of self-paced training courses (click this link).

Top 10 Online Course Completion Tips for Digital Training Courses

1) Choose your online courses carefully

  • Not all online courses are created equally, so it pays to investigate the reputation of the course provider, by talking to experts in the industry you’ll be training in
  • Online courses are also quite expensive to develop, which means:
    • you’ll typically pay more for intensive, fully-integrated training courses that lead to nationally recognised qualifications
    • you’ll often pay less for industry-specific training courses
    • fees for online courses vary depending on the depth, breadth, popularity & applicability of the online training materials
  • Average online course costs will vary depending on:
    • the depth of content being delivered
    • interactivity and media formats
    • levels of convenience offered by online course delivery method
    • the ethics of the training organisation
  • Example: Industry-specific online courses, such as those for basic GMP training or refresher courses (~$40 to $60 USD per course, or less if purchased in a bundle), are typically more affordable than online course options for Advanced Diploma in Leadership and Management (BSB61015) or a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment (TAE40110).
    • They are different in scope and depth and, of course, in pricing!
    • But there are also significant quality differences, and pricing/cost differences, in those diplomas and the RTOs delivering them.
    • Do your homework very carefully when investing in a single course or course program costing above a certain price point (e.g. more than $500).

Satisfaction rates with online courses can vary significantly. This variance relates partially to content and delivery mode, and partially to the impact of individual learning preferences (learning styles). Keep this in mind as you explore your best options for online GMP compliance courses or other GMP training delivery options.

  • There are numerous aspects that influence the quality of an online training course — including course scope and topic depth, content-language, visual images/illustrations, course structure, user engagement, and topic sequences
  • Individuals have unique learning styles/learning preferences, which means digital courses will NOT always suit every single person’s optimal learning style.
  • You’ll only know what will work for YOU or your team, if you sample a few of the modules, if you understand the benefits of blended learning, and if you are aware of the learner’s preferred learning style — and then, choose accordingly (see Tip 2 below).

2) Spend time and money on course sampling

Don’t buy the entire product without knowing what you’re getting unless you’re very familiar with the reputation of the organisation and its digital course offerings.

Instead, purchase one to two online course modules to assess whether you’re getting a worthwhile product — before you invest thousands of dollars in online training courses.

  • Don’t invest in a $4,000 or year-long online training course fee without first sampling a minimum of two (2) to four (4) training modules
  • Spending $200 to $250 to sample online courses (e-learning) is a wise step
  • Especially if you’re seeking to complete a larger online course sequence that could take a year or longer and/or
  • Attain a formally recognized Certification via online training options
  • Example: It’s not generally wise to invest in a $2,000 to $5,000 fee for an online training course without first sampling at least 4 of the organisation’s online training modules
  • Be sure to also investigate the training organisation’s reputation in the industry in which you are working, along with their reliability and GMP course reviews (Tips 3 and 4)
  • Many RTOs or Universities offering long-term Diploma-level courses, online, end up offering learners too little in terms of course completion support (according to surveys and online reviews)
  • Industry-led courses offer ‘micro learning’ or ‘micro-skills training’; which can be completed in a short time period; and which offers key advantages compared to generic courses at a University that could take months or years to complete

3) Investigate the industry training organisation’s reputation

  • If you’re aiming to attain a Certificate of Completion or a nationally recognized qualification using online training, it’s imperative you investigate the organization’s reputation
    • For example, if you’re purchasing management and leadership training from an RTO that’s primarily offering courses in safety and first-aid training, are there online courses for leadership and management going to be the same quality as courses from a company focused on soft skills?
      • It’s highly unlikely!
    • A never-heard-of training company suddenly offering training in a specific industry should be investigated (researched) thoroughly to ensure you’re getting a quality training product with appropriate content
    • Even well-known, normally respected names in the education sector should be researched to ensure their quality matches your expectations before you invest your training budget into an expensive program
  • Ask around to ensure Certificates of Completion from that training provider will actually be respected in the industry you’re working in (or moving into)
    • The training industry is often under-regulated, and there are many companies offering online training certificates who are not actually respected in the sector they are training in – so buyer beware!
    • Ask around before investing in a larger online degree program (such as a Diploma)
  • If the provider is not an industry-respected provider, you may have wasted all your training funds on the wrong certificate(s)

4) Research your training provider’s standing with Regulatory Authorities

Example: Investigate an RTO in terms of its reputation with ASQA
  • Look for online training course reviews.
  • Search the regulatory agency’s site for potential notices to the company.
  • Not all registered training organisations (RTOs) or industry-specific private training providers have good standings.
  • If you choose a poorly-run and/or unapproved training provider, you’ll be risking:
    • Being left in limbo — unable to gain your Certificate of Completion or formal qualification
    • Subjected to poorly-designed learning resources and inadequate assessments
    • Enduring disappointment, emotional stress or financial disadvantages if your online training qualifications are
      • difficult to complete OR
      • not valued by industry OR
      • not recognised by Government agencies or approved education systems
        • especially if training courses are a regulatory requirement in order to fulfil certain roles or required work in specific industries

5) Schedule your training time similarly to other important projects

  • Get into the right mindset for your online training course
  • If you’re aiming to complete an online training course of more than 5 hours duration, you must formally allocate your time — just as you would when managing other important projects
  • Schedule your time as a priority — a consistent schedule — the same time and amount of time each day/each week — makes it easier to complete an online training course
  • This approach depends, however, on your mindset about the online training course
  • Is the online course something you WANT to do? And might enjoy learning or using?
  • Or is the online course seen as something you NEED to complete? But will generally resent in terms of time demands?
  • If you can take on a positive mindset about the training, you’ll not only benefit more from the course — you’ll be far more likely to complete the courses in desired time frames.


6) Set a deadline for online course completion

  • When setting a completion deadline for your online courses, make sure the deadline is realistically achievable
    • To assist with the successful completion of online training courses, it helps to have a formal deadline
    • Note this in your diary and put it on your wall calendar or planning calendar
    • For extensive online training programs, ensure you have adequate support – from your family, friends, employers, colleagues — and most importantly – from the training firm offering the Diploma or other degree plan (online)
  • Track your progress in an Excel sheet and keep this in a highly visible place
    • Set a course completion deadline after calculating the expected time frames of each online training module — and back-up course completion time slots in your weeks in case you fall behind
    • Accountability reporting — even if you’re not required to report on your training progress, choose a friend or colleague to report to — including dates and progress reports — much as you would if you were making other changes in your routine or lifestyle (exercising at the gym, for example)

7) Complete online training in blocks of time

Individuals vary in how long they are happy to sit in front of a computer completing a training course. Completing your online training courses in set blocks of time, such as dedicating 90 minutes to a few hours for a single learning session, can do wonders for your training progression.

  • Spreading your training across days or weeks — according to your deadlines and personal/professional interest in the topic — can help improve your experience AND your course completion rates.
  • General rules for completing online training courses are, however, as follows:
    • Set aside blocks of 1 hour to 2.5 hours each
    • Ideally at the same time of day/same day/s each week
    • Track your progress as in Tip #6 above

8) Avoid distractions when completing online training

Avoid distractions as much as possible while completing your online training course (e.g. turn off the phone and television). Yet DO plan for unexpected demands, as distractions are generally part of most of our lives. This means you’ll need to set aside EXTRA time slots to complete your online training, whether you end up needing to use that extra time slot (or not).

  • Distractions are a part of life and can easily grab your attention, ruining your online course completion timeframes and education completion goals
  • Other demands can interfere with training even when you consider finishing an online course important because:
    • Unexpected events and extra work requests are likely to happen when you’re trying to complete a course, and
    • What’s important — but not as urgent as other projects or task deadlines — can fall lower on the priority list of ‘things to do this week’ — unless you maintain the disciplined mindset to complete the training course
  • Solution? Schedule at least two (2) backup online course sessions per month — just in case you get distracted and lose the time you’d set aside
    • Aim to stay on track as much as possible
    • Reward yourself when you stay on track with completing your online course tasks according to your desired time frame
    • Use contingency-planned session times to get yourself back on track with online coursework
    • Don’t allow yourself to fall more than 2 to 3 days behind your desired schedule
    • If you have fallen behind on completing an online course, and are going to miss your deadline or the institute’s time frames, say NO to social activities until you’ve caught up
    • But don’t ignore the gym, and getting good rest, or you’ll miss out on the benefits of your learning experience (or enjoy it)

9) Make e-learning an ongoing practice

  • There are always new things to learn — and ways to engage your mind and improve your skills.
  • There are also emerging industries you’ll want to remain informed about in case you need to transfer your current skills and knowledge to an emerging industry (e.g., when your current industry gets disrupted or displaced).
  • Doing at least one or two online courses every 6 to 12 months is a good way to keep yourself in the habit of learning and — online course completion.

10) Complete, communicate and reward!

  • Completing an online course is a cause for celebration — be sure you reward yourself with something nice after each unit you complete.
  • Communicate your training accomplishments, including online courses
    • Post your certificate of completion and/or achievements degrees online – especially on LinkedIn, which remains a pertinent social media channel for professional networking and career searching.
    • Print it and frame it — or add it to your printed portfolio so you can remind yourself of your accomplishments whenever you’re attempting something new, or feeling a bit uncertain you’ve accomplished what you wanted.
    • Download your certificate to your computer, and send yourself a copy — so you know you can locate the document again when needing it for proof of training and/or when interviewing for a job.

For more on training and online vs classroom training, visit our top 10 online training course blogs and click on the articles of interest.

Recommended reading for online course completion rates

e-Learning vs Classroom Training (online courses vs. instructor-led courses).

Note: if you’ve invested thousands in an online Diploma or Degree course offered by an RTO in Australia, and have feedback, contact ASQA.

Last updated on July 6th, 2023 at 11:02 am

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