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Should You Take An Online Course? Is It Worth it?

Online courses are popular for many reasons, but the most relevant reason is the convenience of learning. But what if that is not enough?

Online courses are worth taking if the learning material and the student are aligned. If the student does not have the required knowledge or skills to succeed in the course, then the course is not worth taking. Otherwise, the online course would be worth taking. Also, if you are short on money but would like to learn a new skill or gain knowledge on a specific topic, an online course is an excellent option.

Before I purchased my first online course, I had so many doubts, and I hesitated the purchase decision a lot. But after that first course, a lot has changed. A lot!

I once purchased a course that cost around $297. At that time, I thought it was a lot of money for an online course. Now that I’ve seen and experienced more about the online course business. I can say that $297 is at the low-end of the pricing table.

But the main question is, was the course worth buying? Has any course I’ve bought ever since, been worth it? Have I achieved what I went to achieve with those courses?

How do you measure the worthiness of a course?

Do you measure it based on promises, based on your performance, based on course content, or something else entirely?

I’ve come to the conclusion that there are three main factors that determine whether an online course is worth or not. This comes from the experience of multiple online courses bought and experienced.

Keep on reading and see if you can apply these to your purchase decision or experiences with online courses.

Value of the course and money saved

Now, the very first principle with online courses is that they should be cheap compared to the material being taught in school or through coaching. 

If the course costs more than $5,000, you should consider is the course truly worth it? Are the skills or knowledge worth that amount of money?

What results are promised, and are those guaranteed?

All these questions should be asked and compared against the price of the course. As a general rule of thumb, $99-597 is a lower-priced course, and above the $597 mark, we can start to categorize the course as a premium course.

With every purchase decision, you should think if the price of the course and the value gained from the course are aligned. Is the price worth paying for? Do you get what you are looking for or does come close but not quite there?

There are a million and one courses out there, so don’t think you don’t have a choice. There is a course for pretty much any topic imaginable, so if some course creator does not cover the topic as thoroughly as you would like. Try searching for an alternative, as there are always alternatives.

As there’s plenty of choices out there, do not assume that the price point is the determining factor of quality or amount of content. Many times this is true. 

A premium-priced course ($697+, for example) usually has covered more than a lower-priced course. Though this is something, you have to see for yourself and analyze if that is the case or not. 

What could be a bit hard is the fact that how would you know if the topic is covered thoroughly enough. If you can find two similar courses, make a quick comparison and see which one is better for you. That could be one way to do the analysis.

Can you gain a new skill, knowledge or results with the course

With any purchase (well, with almost any), there should be some gain from it. If you are buying a new laptop, you are essentially buying a way to do stuff. You are not buying a laptop just for the sake of it.

So there is always a need that has to be satisfied. Online courses are no exception. You are looking for information, wanting to learn a new skill, or you want to get from point A to point B.

Online courses can be considered shortcuts, but they are not without work. People tend to forget that with online courses, you don’t get any results if you never take action.

  • So the big question is, what do you want to achieve with the course?
  • The next question is, are you able to achieve what is promised in the course?

If you can answer both of these questions with certainty and with optimistic confidence, then I believe the course is worth buying.

But to clarify my questions a bit further. The first question is probably not so important, but if you are not sure what you want in your life, and if you are not sure that the course is really for you. Then I wouldn’t probably buy it.

I’ve made a mistake in the past, where I bought an ebook or a course only to realize years after that, it wasn’t my time to buy the course. I wasn’t ready for it.

Did I learn new things, sure! Did I enjoyed the material and the teachings, sure!

But did I achieve what was promised in the course? No!

But why was that? The course was awesome, and people got results, so why didn’t I? I did the work. I did what was instructed, so what went wrong?

The answer lies in the second question. Are you able to achieve what is promised in the course?

I was able, but only partly, so I failed, and I see it now. I understand that I didn’t have ALL the needed pieces needed to succeed with the course. I had a lot but now enough.

So before you buy an online course, do analyze yourself and your initial settings. Do you have things in place that is needed to succeed in the course?

Such things could be time, money, resources, knowledge, etc.

As this was pretty abstract, let’s go through an example. You would like to buy a course on ‘How to create an ebook.’ However, you might not have ever written a single word in English. Can you succeed? Of course, but how likely? That you need to think through.

Saving time and achieving more with less

An online course is considered a shortcut of some sort. And in some regards it is. It’s even supposed to be. An online course is meant to compile and solidify information together, creating a complete experience around a certain topic.

But is it a shortcut for results? No!

It’s a shortcut to information and knowledge but not to results. And more than often, results are the one thing online courses promise to give. 

One good example is an online course on SEO (Search engine optimization). Usually, the promise is traffic, getting traffic to your blog or to your website. However, getting a course on SEO will bring you zero traffic to your site. The course itself does not give you results. You create those results.

So when people think that they get the transformation after they bought the course, they will get disappointed. However, if you approach it from the perspective of saving time and achieving something quicker, then you might be on to something.

Courses save you time and can bring you closer to the end result you are wanting. Courses have condensed information and sometimes information that was gathered over many years, making the course a treasure trove.

The key here is to understand that courses are totally worth it if you are prepared to do the work. Courses give you the essential information and thus saves you the time of research and trial and error. 

A final note

In my experience, online courses are always worth it. The only thing is that you have to be very clear about what you are looking for, what is your current situation, and are you able to reach your desired situation.

You might be in a spot where you don’t have enough time in your life to invest in an online course. As I’ve mentioned before, the course itself won’t bring you results. It’s your actions and hard work that brings the results.

Many courses promise you many things, making the course a no-brainer and something that is considered worth investing for. If you look past the sales pages and concentrate on your abilities to succeed with a course, you are setting yourself in a better position.

While I’ve spent a lot of money on online courses, and while I didn’t get the promised end result, I’ve still learned a bunch of new things from each course I’ve taken. So I would say that online courses have been worth the money. 

It’s all about understanding your current situation, knowledge, and skills. If you know yourself well, you also know if an online course right for you or not.

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.