It’s official, 2020 is an explosive year for online investing courses, as reported in the Telegraph.
Online course providers belong to an industry known as EdTech – the technology businesses which are building the platforms that we are using to access online content. I’ll introduce you to two platforms in this article:
- Open university initiatives
- Paid online course providers
Open university initiatives
Open university initiatives are where a reputable institution makes some of their content freely available online. This is most often recordings of the main component of a degree course – the lectures themselves.
An excellent example of this is Open Yale, which you can access here.
For its Open Yale project, world-renowned US college Yale has shared several full lecture series which compromise multiple modules. I count 40 courses on its module listing – 4 of which are in economics and financial markets.
These lectures are great, because at no cost you get to experience what it’s like to sit in a lecture hall and learn from these esteemed professors.
However there are some downsides:
- Difficulty. This is Yale after all – a university which asks for the highest grades and still rejects the majority of applicants. The bright sparks leading these lectures move at a fast pace over complicated ground.
Even at ordinary universities, many students find the pace of lectures quite difficult to keep up with. It takes the homework, study groups, tutorial classes and the background reading to fully get to grips with the theory and ideas that the lecturer flies through.
With an online lecture series such as Open Yale, you unfortunately do not get access to any of these supplementary learning tools. This handicaps you in your efforts to ‘keep up’ with the content of these lectures as they quickly increase in difficulty and begin to assume Ivy League levels of knowledge.
- Breadth. The modules on offer are not all part of a coherent syllabus. Instead, they’re random topics seemingly cherry picked to ensure that the project caters to learners with a variety of interests. This means that after the first topic has been watched, a learner is unable to jump into the next module from that degree.
This is why other online investing course providers offering paid investing courses are enjoying success.
Paid course platforms
Course providers such as Udemy and Coursera offer complete course packages which take a beginner from a basic starting position right through to course completion.
The content is not aimed at the top 1% of the academic population either – they approach topics intuitively, visually and in the right order to enable learning. Your learning is their number one priority.
Not only are the videos easier to understand, but supplementary material, including live webinars and email correspondence with course staff, are also often included in the course price. These help enrich the learning experience, and help to compensate for the fact that the course is a remote learning option.
Pricing for online courses is usually offered as a one-off payment (typically less than £1,000 even for 200+ hour courses), or as ongoing subscription.
Platforms which offer an ongoing subscription are usually able to offer unlimited access to a huge catalogue of courses. In these cases, the payment is not for a single learning experience, but to gain access to a lifestyle of personal development and continuing education.
Why are online courses so popular in 2020?
Online courses have no-doubt gained a boost from the increase in people stuck at home with nothing to do. Taking a course is a productive way to spend time. It’s fulfilling to add to your knowledge or gain a skill. Education is a pursuit we encourage in our children, and it’s worth retaining this sense of enthusiasm as we grow older.
The world of work changes at an ever-increasing pace, thanks to the exponential curve of computing power (and the software which can leverage this raw processing ability). In this modern world, remaining close to a reliable educational provider could be invaluable in keeping your skills sharp and relevant.