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How To Know If An Online Course Is Good?

When you think whether an online course is good or not. Do take these few things into account:

If the course has multiple positive reviews and if the former students share positive results, then it’s safe to assume that the online course is good. Also, the depth of the content and the experience of the teacher are things to look out for.

If you are considering to purchase a course, I would suggest that you focus on these key things:

  • Reviews and testimonials
  • Experience of the course creator
  • Depth of the content
  • Results promised and kept

While there are a lot of courses out there, the number one thing you should focus on is the results that are to be expected and have someone else had results with the course already.

If someone has reviewed the course before, what did he/she said about it? How many have purchased the course, and did they have a good or bad experience with the course?

Next, we will go deep on what to look for in the reviews, from the teacher, content, and what kind of results are promised.

Reviews and testimonials

  • How many reviews are there?
  • How many students have gone through the course?
  • How many video testimonials are there?
  • Do you see Facebook comments or other types of social proof about the course?

Reviews and testimonials are written and created by people who’ve taken the course. Reviews can be star-ratings, points, percentages, or even hearts, something that shows the scale and the metric it’s measured in.

Example of Udemy rating
Example of Skillshare rating

Reviews can give you valuable information on how people have liked the course, and if the review is extensive, it can even make or break the purchase decision.

What I look from the reviews is the number of reviews but also the quality of the review. It’s not unheard of that people give false and fake testimonials and reviews just to get a commission out of it.

While reviews are usually ratings and giving a valuation for the course, a testimonial is more of a personal experience shared through a review post, or as a video clip. The post or the video more than often covers what the person liked or didn’t like about the course.

Even if you see an authentic-looking video review, always remember that the review or a testimonial could be biased. The reviewer could get a commission from the review in the form of an affiliate link. 

Affiliate links are links that generate a commission to the person linking to a particular course, product, or service.

So do take that into account when you are watching or reading a review or a testimonial.

Video testimonials are one of the best ones to look out for when you are buying an expensive course ($2,000+). More than often, course priced in this range, has plenty of video testimonials.

If a course is priced around $997 or close to that price point, the course should have some video testimonials. That is a lot of money after all, and if there’s zero to none testimonials, I would be hesitant to purchase the course.

Always weight the reviews and testimonials to the price of the course. Smaller the price, the fewer reviews, and testimonials are needed. Usually, in these cases, the course creator has his/her results to show whether the course is worth the price or not, and usually, it is.

Experience of the course creator

  • How long has the course creator done the thing he/she is teaching?
  • What kind of results the creator has? 
  • Is he/she an expert on the topic? 

These are some of the questions you should consider before taking an online course. 

Google course example as the “teacher”

Even if the course itself doesn’t have a lot of testimonials or reviews, it doesn’t mean the course is terrible. What you should do, is that you shift your focus on the creator of the course and study and investigate if the creator is what she says she is.

It’s good to check the about page or the creator’s profile. If the creator has a website, it’s worth looking if the content on the website is supporting the expertise and if the content is relevant for the course that is being sold.

Social media profiles can also be useful when doing that initial research.

If the person has some sort of degree or a certificate on the topic, that is also an element that suggests the person knows what she is talking about.

One of the biggest things to look out for is the experience that the course creator has on the topic. How long has the course creator practiced the profession, or how long has the creator done the thing she is teaching.

I personally value experience more than some certificate or a degree. Degrees and certificates can be bought at any time of the day. Experience comes through life, and years lived. Experience grows through trial and error, and what better way to learn than through mistakes.

Experience is something that grows inside a person, and that experience generates insight and knowledge that more than usually exceeds the knowledge and information presented in some certification program.

This can be called something like everyday experience and something that shows that the creator is very familiar with the topic that she is teaching.

Depth of the content

  • How long is the course? 
  • How many lessons are there? 
  • What do the modules cover?
  • How much video content is there?
  • Are worksheets or other materials provided?

Whether a course is good or bad is hard to judge. If you only judge the book by its cover, you might come up with a false conclusion.

A course can be extremely powerful, even with a handful of lessons and a few modules. It’s always the content that matters at the end. Is the content something you would expect to see in a course. Are there lessons and modules that you would expect to see in the course of your choosing.

Check if the lessons are named in a way that gives you confidence that you will learn the topic that is taught in the course. 

Is the course structured in such a way that makes sense for you? Are the lessons and modules organized in a way that makes you confident about the course?

The amount of content is irrelevant, in my opinion. It’s always about the quality of the content. If a topic can be taught in 5 minutes, then those 5 minutes is the time needed. There’s no use to make the lessons longer just to hit some arbitrary goal of 20 minutes, for example.

Then again, a lesson can also be over two hours long. But do remember that the length is not the thing. The focus should be on the lessons and modules, and if those hit or miss your nerves.

If you feel that the creator is missing something that you are looking for, then you are better off searching for a course that covers all the topics you are looking for.

Results promised and kept

  • What is promised for you?
  • What results are expected to be delivered?
  • What kind of transformation is given?

As we have discussed before, the results are firmly tied to the testimonials, you might see on the sales page or the course page.

If you are looking for a transformational course, then you should see if there are testimonials or reviews that support the transformation promised.

If a course promises that you will lose weight 50 pounds in 12 weeks and there are testimonials of previous students achieving just that, then it’s pretty safe to say that the course is as good as advertised.

Always compare the results promised, and the results kept, are those in line, and how many results are there.

What is the percentage of students getting results, and what is the percentage of people failing?

I know that is a pretty tricky thing to discover, but one way to do that is to calculate customer testimonials and closed facebook group members.

Let’s say a course has 10 testimonials and 300 members in a closed Facebook group. Then it would be that roughly 3% is actually getting results with the course.

That is not a sound-proof method, but it gives a pretty nice estimate if there are more success stories than failure stories among the students.

My personal studies and investigations have shown that there’s a pretty much 3% success rate among all courses out there. One of the reasons is that 90-98% don’t complete a course and thus might not never get results with the course.

Take these values with a grain of salt as they are my personal investigations (except the study on the 90-98%).

So even though massive results and transformation might be promised and even though there are a bunch of reviews and testimonials that show people getting success with the course. 

There’s always that one element that makes people fail, and it’s the fact that everyone starts from different situations in life. Some are more prepared and further in a particular topic and thus get better results. 

While some could be lacking in some areas of their life and thus the course might produce zero results for the student.

Always do some inner research and see where you are you are in life. Could it be possible for you to achieve the same results that the other students have achieved with some particular course?

You start at some spot in life, and if the course has your spot covered, then the course could be a good fit for you.

Juha Ekman

Hi there, I’m Juha Ekman. A few years ago, I started my online business selling online courses and digital products. Ever since then, I’ve been obsessed with learning, especially learning marketing, sales, and everything about passive income. It’s been quite a ride, and there has been a lot of ups and downs along the way. This is the site where I share everything I’ve learned.