Top 10 Online Course Completion Tips
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-recognized 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
- Example: Industry-specific online courses, such as those for basic GMP training or refresher courses (~$40 to $50 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).
Satisfaction rates with online courses vary significantly due to content, delivery modes and the impact of individual preferences on learning style preferences.
Keep this in mind as you explore your options for online courses and digital training delivery options.
- There are also numerous aspects that influence the quality of an online training course — including depth, content, structure, engagement and flow
- Not every online training course is sequenced in a way that benefits their participants.
- Individuals also have unique learning styles/learning preferences, which guarantees digital courses will NOT suit every learners’ style of learning (learning preferences).
- You’ll only know what will work for YOU if you sample a few of the modules and if you are aware of your preferred styles of learning and 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: Never invest in a $1,500 to $5,000 fee for an online training course, without first sampling at least 2 to 4 of the organization’s online training modules
- Be sure to also investigate the training organization reputation, legal standing, and viability (Tips 3 and 4)
3) Investigate the training organization’s reputation in the Industry
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 who’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
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)
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 its 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.
- In fact, ASQA – who regulates training in Australia’s VET systems (e.g., Certificate Courses and Diplomas) – regularly makes judgments against Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) who fail to meet their RTO quality standards
- Don’t purchase an expensive course by an RTO — or other training providers — who fail to meet industry standards and/or the VET quality standards in delivery, content depth and record-keeping
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 fulfill certain roles or
- required work in specific industries
5) Schedule your training time similar to how you schedule 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 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
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 training modules in blocks of 90 minutes to 2.5 hours, spread across days or weeks according to your deadlines
- Individuals vary in how long they are happy to sit in front of a computer completing a training course
- General rules for completing online training courses are, however, as follows:
- Set aside blocks of 1 hour to 2.5 hours each
- At the same time of day/same day each week
- Track your progress as in Tip #6 above
8) Avoid distractions when completing online training, YET plan to accommodate unexpected demands
- 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 in at least two (2) back up 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 course work, and 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.