Why is now the best time to do online courses?

Online courses have proven to be an unexpected welcome in recent years. Sure, they have been around for much longer than that; however, their presence has never been more keenly felt or as essential as they have been since the start of the pandemic.

The reality is, COVID has changed the way we work. Office spaces are no longer purely dedicated to being the sole working environment of employees. Instead, COVID forced many businesses to think outside the box and adapt to a world where much of their workforce completed their jobs from the comfort of their own homes.

Now, studies have shown that homeworking was on the rise anyway – long before COVID hit – however, its arrival forced businesses to adopt this working model much earlier than anticipated. And it worked…

As such, many companies have chosen to continue with this working pattern, with much of their workforce only coming into the office once or twice a week.

But what does this have to do with online courses?

While many companies chose to adapt in the wake of the pandemic and encouraged their employees to work from home. For others, COVID hit them hard financially, to the point where they were forced to cut employee hours, reduce annual salaries, or even many some people redundant.

As a result, we witnessed an influx of people who needed to find a job fast, but who were dealing with a greater amount of competition for the same jobs.

And when faced with increasing competition, the only way to defy the odds and gain that competitive edge is to make your CV all the more appealing. Whether through upskilling or expanding your academic arsenal, if you want to get noticed, you need to make yourself the better choice.

Hence, the surge in online course uptakes…

In one neat, compact, and versatile package, online courses can offer you the flexibility to broaden your options, expand your existing skills/ qualifications and give your CV the edge it requires to get noticed – all from the comfort of your own home.

And this proved ideal during both lockdowns – where we were ordered to stay at home and only go out when it was essential – as these courses allowed people to safely learn from home without ever having to enter a classroom or risk their health.

Instead, students could register for an array of accredited courses and complete them at a time, pace, and location of their choosing; all while abiding by the government’s rules.

And this wasn’t the only benefit of home learning during the pandemic:

  1. Online courses allowed those who had been forced to reconsider their careers to upskill while still working

Whether their hours had been reduced or their pay cut; the pandemic forced many of us to re-evaluate our jobs, happiness, and long-term futures. With everything no longer clear cut or secure as it used to be; online courses allowed many of us to explore new career options and paths while still allowing us to work and earn.

COVID has witnessed a rise in small, independent businesses, where people have chosen to work for themselves and turn a hobby into a career. While for others, it gave them the courage to change careers, as they essentially had more free time to explore their options, review their skills and take the necessary courses they needed to make themselves more qualified.

  1. Online courses are more affordable than college and university courses

The biggest benefit of online courses is that they are more cost-effective. Part of the cost for college/university courses is the need to pay the lecturers for their teaching space. Eliminating the physical need for both – as teaching and contact with personal tutors is conducted entirely online – instantly makes online courses more affordable.

Now, given the impact COVID has had on everyone’s finances, having the option to learn at an affordable price, makes it much more appealing. Add in the fact, that payments can be done in instalments and in an economic climate where each paycheck is not entirely secure; this eased the pressure for a lot of people who needed to upskill to apply for a more secure job.

  1. Online courses can be done at your own pace

Traditional courses are taught to a set schedule and timeframe. There is no way to finish them earlier or to give yourself longer to absorb a module, as you’re following the regimented timeframe of a college/university class.

Online courses differ because while they have suggested timeframes and hours of study i.e. 12 months or 240 hours; it is YOU who sets the pace. Not only does this give you the flexibility to fit your studies around your current work and social commitments; but it also means you can maximise your syllabus retention as you will be the manager of your learning schedule.

So if for instance, you want to complete it faster – to secure a promotion – nothing is stopping you. Likewise, if a particular module is proving harder to comprehend than the rest; you can spend longer working through the syllabus material until you feel confident that you understand it.

  1. Many online courses are designed to expand your existing skills

IT, maths, writing, communications, management, etc. Most online courses are tailored to take your existing skills and make them better i.e. through expanding your knowledge or by giving you a stronger qualification. And this can offer you greater security in an economy that is still recovering from the impact of COVID. By knowing you are bettering yourself, you can feel more secure in your job.

  1. There are thousands of online courses to suit every ability, interest level and long-term goal/career aspirations

If you were to jump onto a laptop and perform a search for the most popular online courses around; you’d soon discover that your options are endless.

Starting from Level 2/GCGE level up to Level 4/5 (degree level); depending on your long-term goals, you don’t have to be naturally academic to do an online course.

Instead, you can build up your skillset based on your initial ability and give yourself a much more solid skill base.

Take the following top online courses… Not only are they varied; they accurately reflect the varying demands/needs of businesses:

  • Cyber security for beginners – spam and phishing scams are not a new thing; however, they have risen in popularity as more as more people have struggled to meet growing living costs. This rise in scams has led to a greater need within businesses to protect themselves from these viruses/various forms of attack and as such has created more opportunities for those who are knowledgeable on how to protect themselves.
  • IT support technician – similar to the course above, with more businesses allowing their employees to work from home, a greater need for IT support has arisen. However, instead of supporting businesses in-house; IT support technicians are expected to support in-house and those working from home. Again, this has triggered an upsurge in those seeking IT support knowledge, as this background would make you more appealing to employers.
  • Web design – this course has always been popular, as every business – big or small – needs a website to help increase its client base. However, given the rise in freelance businesses since the start of the pandemic, more businesses than ever require a website. Now, this course can have one of two advantages. One, it can open doors to working in-house or freelance, and two, many have registered for this course so they can design their website and save on the costs of hiring someone else.
  • Digital marketing/graphic design/social media – similar to web design, having these courses in your arsenal can offer you the long-term security of knowing that businesses will continue to need website designing and their business marketing managed i.e. by email, social media, or printed. At the same time, these skills can be used to advance your own business and get it recognised in the right places i.e. on Instagram, Pinterest, and Etsy.
  • Management diplomas on leadership and career development – whether you choose to work for yourself, or want that elusive promotion; expanding your management skills will make you more appealing and employable.
  • Health and social care – there has always been a demand for these; however, needs have risen in the wake of COVID making it a high-demand job with a lot of competition for spots.
  • Counselling – COVID has affected us on different levels. With children, their education and social skills have been vastly hindered, while the long periods of isolation during the lockdown, have greatly affected the mental health of many of us. In light of growing mental health problems amongst the populace, this course has witnessed an insurgence from concerned parents and businesses.
  • Learning, development, and teacher training – both lockdowns saw a lot of parents trying to handle homeschooling and either discovering a new love/career passion for teaching or worrying that these lockdowns were negatively impacting the progression and teaching of their children. As such, there has been a sharp uptake in these kinds of courses which again – due to a constant demand for teachers – could make your CV extremely appealing.
  • Become a personal trainer – many of us have fallen prey to lockdown weight gain, especially during the first when we were limited on how often we could exercise. Add in the stress of being trapped at home, and comfort eating/Takeout requests increased. Now, we are steadily getting back to normal, there has been a rise in people wanting to better themselves, to others wanting to take on the Jo Wicks mantel and help others to lose weight and become healthy again.

And these are only a handful of the top online courses out there. Other equally popular ones include:

  • Diplomas in accounting and bookkeeping
  • Wedding planning
  • Event management
  • Photography
  • Creative writing

So why is now the best time to do online courses?

Whilst things are beginning to become steady again and we are returning to an element of normality; the reality is COVID has altered the way we work and learn.

As we mentioned before, working from home has become the norm with employees recognising the savings they make on travel, and businesses acknowledging the savings they make on energy costs (heating/electricity) and office spaces (if half the workforce is at home, they have can have a small office space for client meetings). With employees having more control of their time – even to a point of choosing their working hours – slotting in a course has never been easier.

Add in the economy and the fierce competition for jobs, and this need to improve ourselves has never been bigger.

So if, like so many, you’re working from home; are re-evaluating your job, or are searching for greater job security; why not take advantage of home learning today and join the growing number of people seeking to upskill from the comforts of their own home? Designed to give you the flexibility to manage and control your learning journey, you can find accredited courses ranging from GCSE level to degree.

For more information on online courses, visit our website today.

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