Online courses have popped up in many different sectors but can they deliver what they promise, and how do attendees ensure they get the best results from enrolling on one of these courses?
In these difficult times where social distancing has become the norm, many businesses have looked to pivot their offering and have turned to online learning platforms to acquire new skills. Being dynamic and thinking outside of the box has enabled these businesses to ride the crisis and continue to trade in a difficult economic landscape. Roger James Hamilton, CEO and Founder of Genius Group offers his advice on how attendees can ensure they get the best results from enrolling on one of these courses.
The past year has been intense, with heightened emotions, economic uncertainty and the whole world paused to stem the spread of this awful virus. Everyone has been affected but many SME and entrepreneurs have been hit hard with traditional business models having to be rethought.
No one could have predicted such a crisis and for location-based businesses they have had to scramble to diversify to enable their trading to continue. For digital businesses, the story has been more positive with many experiencing growth and new customers who are looking to carry on spending, albeit in a different way.
Digital courses, especially educational or learning platforms have boomed in the past 6 months and this rise in consumer demand has led to a host of companies offering their own online course enabling participants to learn new skills and pivot their business.
For companies who have had no choice but to pivot this new trend of online learning has offered a lifeline. It has also been a wake-up call for those businesses that were still operating in a pre-digital world. Consumers want and need streamlined experiences and businesses need to be adapting to offer a more global and connected service, using technology to enhance and upsell their products.
Social media, digital marketing campaigns, PR and influencers can all go a long way in furthering reach for SMEs that are struggling to make sales. After all, when there is no physical passing footfall, business owners need to ensure that they are being ‘seen’ albeit digitally and create some virtual footfall to boost sales.
Many online courses may cover a specific topic but there is a new trend on the horizon; of learning to be entrepreneurial. This trend builds on the existing qualities of SME owners, as most will be entrepreneurial to have already started their business but will offer an all-round package which enables each course member to identify and build on their weak points. It is often worthwhile outsourcing any weak abilities to others more capable people, but identifying these weak areas is the first step.
Our entire learning system is being compelled to go through an inevitable and necessary transformation with the rise of the digital platform. We need this system to serve a rapidly evolving economic landscape, and it will not suffice to teach SMEs lessons from the past.
We are now moving beyond the information society age into the impact or imagination society where there is a digital layer across almost every aspect of our lives. Big data collected by the internet of things (IoT) will be converted into a new type of intelligence by artificial intelligence (AI) and this will reach every corner of society. We cannot ignore this technological shift, and the online courses must recognise and reflect these changes in society’s structure.
Teaching these entrepreneurial skills is a must and for many business owners a course that covers a wide range of topics and skills will enable them to achieve the growth that will see them though this pandemic and economic downturn.
With any rise in demand comes a myriad of options and there is so much choice out there when it comes to selecting online learning. When looking for an online course to diversify business, first list the areas of the business that are struggling and really identify what knowledge would help solve these problems. Whether that be upping the company’s social media, managing cash flow or pivoting products or services to online, there will be a huge range of courses available out there.
The second step is to research, research, research. Draw up a shortlist of the courses that cover any relevant topics then compare what they are offering and how this will further business. Read any reviews or testimonials and gauge how much other SMEs have gained from completing them.
Before embarking on a new learning journey ensure there is the time set aside to complete the course. Learning new skills takes time and dedication and without the hours available, it just may not be worth the outlay. This isn’t a quick fix and shouldn’t be undertaken lightly.
The learning journey is an evolution and may open ideas or avenues that hadn’t before been considered but remember to always come back to the points that needed originally solving and ensure these are answered as your course progresses.
Don’t forget the valuable input that other course members can have too. These people are in the same position, looking to trade in a worryingly different world and trying to catch up with changing technologies. Engage with them, share in their successes, and learn from their mistakes, there is safety in numbers and this network of new associates may be invaluable further down the line. However, also be aware that not everyone will approach business in the same way, so set a criteria of who to engage with, based on what you want to learn.
For most, the learning journey is an enriching and fulfilling process, alighting inner passions, and engaging new ideas. Enjoy the process and keep your business model fluid as new pathways are opened via the introduction of new knowledge.
Editor's Recommended Articles
Must Read >> Why remote learning can power your business
Must Read >> Face to face vs. online training: What’s your pick?
Must Read >> Widening options for adult learners