There are so many e-learning platforms propping up that I got hired by one! Online training and learning is becoming increasingly popular for many reasons.
Online courses tend to be shorter than educational programs in colleges and universities. They are easy to join and more affordable.
But, with the availability of so much – all too much – information online, it is worthwhile to ask whether anyone should pay for online training?
Why You Can Learn For Free Online
Personally, I’ve always believed that learning is an individual process. Whether in school, college, or on the worldwide web, learning boils down to self-discipline, perseverance and growth. One learns by increasing awareness with repeated effort. So, I concede that you can learn about anything from the internet without having to pay for it. But, there is still a cost for your learning.
The Cost of Learning
If you don’t pay for your learning with money, you’re paying for it with your time and energy, or compromising on quality.
Online training programs – the good ones at least – are well structured and goal oriented. Not only can you find out what you will learn before you join, but also how long it will take you to complete your training and what you will achieve like experience in projects and a certificate at the end of it.
Learning on your own without the structure or goals of a program would leave you cold in the endless abyss that is the internet without any sense of direction or purpose if you are not supercharged with self-motivation.
What About MOOCs Then?
There are many MOOCs offered by prestigious institutions that could be the solution. I have participated in a bunch of these courses and even completed a couple!
The problem with MOOCs is that they are massive and open.
Anyone can join them and only a few can finish them. Although they organize content around specific topics, they lack the exclusive care and attention that you get when you pay for your training.
The Benefits of Paid Online Training
The fundamental difference between MOOCs and paid online training is in the models that they use to operate.
MOOCs use a pull model that relies on voluntary participation, which puts full responsibility on the learner to derive value from standardized content through self-motivation.
Paid online training, on the other hand, uses a pull-and-push model. You participate in these programs voluntarily much like in MOOCs. You choose to pay for the training and give consent to everything that the training entails, but the responsibility of your learning is now divided. It is shared with expert professors or mentors and the organization’s support team, who are tasked with ensuring you complete your training and achieve pre-defined goals at the end of it.
Because paid e-learning platforms have to justify the cost of their training, they are always actively seeking to update and improve their offering. Hence, they have additional features like gamified learning or job assistance.
These platforms can only survive by building on the tried-and-tested with the new and innovative – all of which must be sustainable and scalable. E-learning platforms grow by garnering reputation.
If their students fail, they fail. If they fail to grow their network, they fail to grow in the industry. So, the pressure is on these platforms to constantly deliver quality if they are to stand their competition. The onus is on them to ensure that their costs are always balanced with the benefits on offer.
No, you don’t have to pay for online training.
You can learn anything you want from the internet without paying a penny, but your learning would cost you time and energy or have you compromise on quality.
MOOCs are an option. But, they are open and massive, and not as effective.
With paid training there is value on offer. Not everything you pay for might be good quality. Having said that, you can judge how effective an institution is or their programs are by looking up their history – what they and their students or network have achieved.
At the end of the day, everyone is accountable, and you pay for what you get, and you earn for what you give.