The educational opportunities afforded to web designers are nearly endless. The chances to sharpen our skills and learn new technologies abound – and many don’t cost a thing.
The evolution of tools such as WordPress has made publishing this content easier. Writing up a tutorial or sharing a code snippet is within everyone’s reach.
In addition, the recent explosion of Learning Management Systems (LMS) means that just about anyone can create and sell online courses. As a result, there are an untold number of offerings that focus on web design and development.
This is both a positive and negative. On the plus side, it’s wonderful to see others sharing what they know. But the downside is that there’s no guarantee when it comes to quality.
If you’re going to spend your time and (possibly) money, you want to make sure that the experience is worthwhile. But how can you be sure that a course is right for you? It starts with a bit of research.
The following are some key considerations for choosing an online web development course.
Look Closely at Course Content
A reputable educator will provide more than just marketing-speak. Their course description should give you a close look at what to expect, including:
- Any prerequisites or helpful skills (CSS, HTML, etc.);
- A listing of specific skills covered;
- A table of contents that summarizes each lesson;
- When the course was published or last updated;
- A clear definition of what you’ll achieve upon completion;
This should give you a sense of how appropriate a course is for your needs. You may find that it’s a perfect fit, or perhaps it covers things you already know. Either way, this is valuable information to have.
If a provider doesn’t list these details, you may want to ask them to do so. This will help you and others make the right decision.
Does the Course Presentation Match Your Learning Style?
We all have different learning styles. That’s why how a course is presented and reinforces its teachings mean a lot.
As such, course presentation should be a major consideration. If it’s not in a format that you’re comfortable with, you may not get as much value from the experience.
This is especially important for a subject like web development. For some, watching someone else write code in a video won’t be effective. Likewise, a course that requires reading long chapters of text could also be a turnoff.
Content organization also plays a role. Information is often easier to digest when broken down into bite-sized pieces rather than marathon learning sessions. There’s something to be said about learning one step at a time.
Finally, the ability to retain what you’ve learned is key. Features such as transcripts, quizzes, and note-taking functionality can help.
However, these details aren’t always easy to find. Some courses do offer a sample lesson for free. Short of that, you’ll likely have to get in touch with the provider.
The Educator’s Qualifications and Reputation
Just because someone has created a course doesn’t mean they’re eminently qualified. And qualifications don’t necessarily make someone a great teacher.
Still, it does matter. Educators should have a mastery of whatever subject they’re teaching. Someone who has demonstrated skill in PHP is more likely to have valuable advice than a novice coder.
Reputation is another factor, although it can be misinterpreted. It’s not necessarily about the size of their audience. For instance, the fact that an instructor has a large Twitter following isn’t an accurate indicator in terms of how well-respected they are in their field.
Rather, it’s about what they’ve accomplished and what others have to say about their experiences. Social media can be of some use in that area. It’s worth taking a look at how others view both the provider and their courses.
This can also vary based on the type of provider. Some larger organizations might employ several instructors, while others are completely run by a solo entrepreneur. Adjust your research accordingly.
Make an Educated Choice for Online Learning
Regardless of what you want to learn, you’ll likely have several compelling educational options to choose from. Finding the one that matches your goals is vital.
The steps outlined above can help. If you find a web development course that interests you, study up on the details. Make note of what’s included and what you can expect to learn. Ensure that the course is presented in a way that matches your preferred style of learning.
From there, take time to do a little research on the people behind the course. Look at their qualifications and see what others have to say. Reading positive reviews from your peers can be reassuring.
There are so many opportunities for leveling up your web design skills. Here’s hoping you find that perfect course to help you along the way!