How do online courses work?

6 May 2021

A student learning finance using an online course

Ever since the Internet became a major part of our daily life, online courses have been growing in popularity. The Covid-19 pandemic has only made them even more popular, as people have been using their additional time at home to gain new skills or undertake some Continuing Professional Development.

So you may be considering signing up for an online course, whether you want to learn a new skill, consolidate your knowledge in your current role or to take your first step towards a new career.

In this post, we’ll take a look at the different types of online courses that are available, how online courses work and how to get started with an online course.

What is an online course?

As you’d expect, an online course is one that you study over the internet instead of travelling to a college or training centre or taking part in training at your workplace.

The advantages of online learning include being able to study at times that suit you and not having to take time off work to travel to the course location.

There is a vast range of courses available so you could choose to study for a professional or academic qualification, learn a new skill or study a subject purely for your own enjoyment.

How does an online course work?

There are two main types of online courses: live webinar training courses and e-learning courses.

Live webinar courses provide you with one or more scheduled webinars. These are live seminars held over the Internet and you can read more about webinars here. You’ll usually be able to communicate with the course tutor and with other students using your microphone or a chat box, and the webinar may be recorded so that you can watch it again later.

With an e-learning course, you will usually be given access to a web portal where you can access the online learning materials. These may include texts to read, videos to watch and presentations which you can work through at your own pace. This is very useful if you want to be able to study at irregular times or around your work hours.

With both styles of online course, you will usually submit any assignments online and have online access to a tutor who can answer your queries. If your course is presented via a web portal and online materials, there may be a set time limit on your access to these.

How long should an online course be?

The length of an online course will vary depending on the complexity of the course. For example, if you have signed up for an online introduction to a piece of software, this may just involve a single webinar.

But webinar training that leads to an academic or professional qualification such as the Level 3 Certificate in Mortgage Advice and Practice (CeMAP) or Level 4 Diploma for Financial Advisers (DipFA) may involve a week or more of scheduled webinars leading up to an exam.

Likewise, if you choose to take an e-learning course, this could involve several months of study.

How to start an online course

Getting started on your Simply Academy online course is very straightforward. Once you’ve chosen your course, you can either sign up online or you can call our friendly support team on Freephone 0808 208 0002.

If you choose one of our Live Webinar courses, you’ll be given full details of how to sign in for your scheduled webinar sessions. All of our webinar sessions are recorded, so you can use them for revision or to catch up on any sessions you might have missed. And you’ll also receive high quality course materials to make your learning as simple as possible.

If you sign up to study CeMAP through our self-guided e-learning course, you’ll get 12 months’ access to the online learning portal. There’s also a comprehensive online FAQ section and a mock exam to help you prepare for the real thing.

Whichever option you choose, you’ll be assigned a personal tutor who will assist you throughout your studies. All of our expert trainers are highly experienced and have a wealth of industry knowledge that will help you get the most out of your online course. You can also call our support desk for any additional assistance you may need.

Now all you need to do is to choose which online course you’d like to study next!

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