The marvelous digital world helps many, whether or not they have something consistent to offer, to promote themselves and promise us the information we need – from short practical advice to consistent paid courses for a professional upgrade.
It’s a pretty busy avenue, and choosing the right one is not an easy decision to make.
So for that, we ask ourselves: HOW DO I CHOOSE THE RIGHT COURSE FOR ME?
In recent years, I have embarked on continuous learning by doing many trainings and courses; here are some ideas about my experience with the decision process.
CHOOSE THE COURSE TOPIC AND LEVEL CORRECTLY
Pay attention to specificity (general/detailed) and level (beginner / intermediate / advanced). If you are a fairly experienced marketer, you would want to avoid umbrella courses – a little bit of everything. I choose areas of expertise where I am experienced and need improvement OR those where I do not have enough experience and want to acquire more in-depth knowledge.
To exemplify – I chose a LinkedIn Ads training with one of the most experienced trainers in the USA (I am already a senior on this expertise) and a consistent SEO course, beginner level, to better understand this marketing tactic and have a solid conversation with those practicing it.
Whether it’s an experienced and well-known trainer for the topic that interests you or a name you haven’t heard of – research. The most important things I look at are:
• The real, hands-on experience of the trainer translated into years of practice, the companies they worked for, and the projects they managed
• Professional scale and seniority – I pay special attention to the consistency and complexity of the activity. I would rather pay for a course with someone who has managed large budgets for diverse clients and, if possible, with global applicability. It’s much easier (and relevant!) to teach advanced knowledge if you have this kind of experience – you can provide examples of what works and what doesn’t.
• Certifications – on the course topic and/or on the facilitating skills. The success of a course is ZERO if the trainer does not have the skills to organize and transmit the information. Look out for videos/trailers to get a glimpse of what is being offered.
PUBLIC AND FREE TRAINER ACTIVITY
Although it is unnecessary to be “a name” to have something to offer, most trainers/facilitators are pretty active on the platforms they choose to express themselves. Therefore, I follow them for a long time to understand the value and applicability of the FREE content they publish. Moreover, most of those I follow generously offer practical advice that you can apply immediately. I avoid the well-known names feeding their network with beautiful visuals full of platitudes.
COURSE DESCRIPTION AND PRESENTATION
The course title can be a beautifully formulated metaphor, but a detailed description and plan are MANDATORY. A well-structured SYLLABUS to list all the topics approached must be consulted before deciding if it is what we need and if it is worth the investment. The topic, the level of detail, and the deliverables must be communicated BEFORE the start of the course.
INTERACTIVITY AND FEEDBACK
Any course/facilitator should guarantee time for interaction, questions, and feedback, whether online or in-person. For online courses, this is even more critical.
PLATFORM / ORGANIZATION THAT ENDORSES/HOSTS THE COURSE
Suppose the facilitator’s name does not tell us anything. In that case, if their course is part of a reputable organization/company’s portfolio, its credibility can be transferred to the trainer. It can be a guarantee, along with the previously mentioned criteria.
I chose to take the SEO course at a company with excellent credentials and many students, and I hadn’t heard of the facilitator. It turned out to be a perfect choice. Moreover, the facilitator inspired me to become a trainer.
Who do you have to believe when consulting recommendations? Testimonials should be honest and accurate (at least ethically and legally) but can be subjective. Therefore, you may want to consider recommendations from people you talk to directly – who have attended the course or who know the trainer.
WHAT IS YOUR ROLE?
I have often heard training attendees complain that the information provided is “common sense, nothing special.” This type of feedback can mean two (very) different things. One – you did not find value in what was offered. Two – the facilitator did an outstanding job translating the information and concepts presented in an organic way to be easily assimilated. To figure out which of the scenarios apply, ask yourself honestly, “Have I ever thought about these approaches? Did I put them into practice?” If the answer is “No,” it means you have learned something.
We must conduct thorough research when we decide to allocate time and pay money for a course.
If you are interested in lifelong learning and take many courses, you will build the ability to select correctly eventually. Until then, try to apply as many of the above filters as possible.