Online courses have become very popular with curious Baby Boomers who want to keep their minds sharp and learn new skills. Are you interested in learning more about a specific topic like photography, cooking, or running a business from home? If so, taking an online course can offer you a convenient, affordable, and comfortable way to do that without leaving your house.
COVID-19 and social distancing have changed the way we approach so many things. Going back to school and sitting in a classroom with other students probably isn’t very practical right now, but taking advantage of online courses, from the comfort of your home and on your own schedule might make perfect sense!
Online courses are available for virtually any subject you’re interested in and many of them are inexpensive or free.
Here are a few well-known and highly rated online course providers with a wide range of course topics and affordable prices. Check them out now or scroll down to learn more about the benefits of online learning for Baby Boomers.
Cudoo is an Online Learning platform offering 1300+ language, and professional development courses and they are super affordable. for example, you can learn language basics for under $5.00. They also offer course bundles at incredibly reduced prices.
Discount Code! – Save 20% on online courses at Cudoo. Use CUDOO20 at checkout to receive the discount.
Generosity! – Every online course that’s purchased enables Cudoo to offer charities, nonprofits, and public libraries free and unlimited access– a growing library of 800+ online courses.
Udemy is the leading global marketplace for online courses with a simple motto: “Improving lives through learning”. Udemy boasts over 50,000 instructors on their faculty and they offer over 150,000 topics including drawing, stress management, travel, and photography. Udemy online courses start at just $10.99 each.
Discounts – Udemy offers discounts and special offers all the time. Check their website for the most current offers.
MasterClass offers a unique opportunity for anyone to learn from the world’s leading experts on various topics. For example, you can learn to cook from Gordon Ramsay, get answers to questions about the universe from Neil deGrasse Tyson, find out how to write a movie from Steve Martin or how to play guitar from Carlos Santana! MasterClass courses consist of video lessons, exercises, and workbooks to you’ll complete. Plus you’ll get interview sessions with the A-list course instructor. If you’d like to learn about the culinary arts, writing, film-making, or music, MasterClass is one of the best online education options available!
Special Offer – You can get an all-access pass for only $15 per month. The all-access fee allows you to any online courses offered on the platform. And, there is a 100% 30-day money-back guarantee.
Skill Share is an online learning community that encourages creativity and curiosity. They offer personalized learning via educational videos that focus on interaction as opposed to academic learning. Their expertise lies in creative fields like illustration, design, and photography. They offer free classes and the option to upgrade to a premium plan.
Incredible Offer! SkillShare is offering Free membership for 14-days. During that time you will have unlimited access to courses. At the end of the 14-day period, you can upgrade from only $4.95 per month!
What is Online Learning?
Online learning is essentially education that takes place over the internet and is commonly referred to as E-learning. It is a type of “distance learning” – a term that describes any learning that takes place outside of the traditional classroom setting.
Historically, various universities experimented with delivering online courses, but it was only until the introduction of the first Internet web browser in 1993, that it truly began to flourish.
From then on, its popularity has only increased, with more courses being offered by more and more institutions. During the Covid-19 pandemic, the use of E-learning skyrocketed among all age groups including Baby Boomers.
There are countless reasons to try an online class, especially for Baby Boomers. If you’re part of that generation, learning a new skill or taking a course on something you are passionate about is a great idea!
What Makes Online Courses So Great?
The wide range of courses available to students of all ages means everyone is bound to find something they love! Whatever topic you’re looking for, whatever time constraints you have – you can definitely find something that suits you online.
It is Almost Always Less Expensive Than Attending Live Classes
Online courses are a more affordable option compared to traditional colleges. Institutions offering online courses are absolved of other costs associated with traditional classroom teaching, so you end up paying less. Some courses also provide all required materials in an electronic format, completely free of charge.
Zero Commuting Costs
Additionally, you can save money because there are no commuting costs. Not having to commute is especially advantageous to Baby Boomers because you may find that traveling around isn’t as easy as it used to be, due to any mobility issues you may have – but this doesn’t hold you back anymore!
Comfortable Learning Environment
You can take these classes wherever you’d like. Most people take online courses from the comfort of their home, wearing their favorite pajamas. You’re also relieved from the pressure that many Boomers face when returning to school at a later stage in their life. This means that you can focus your energy on what really matters while enjoying the learning experience.
Maximum Flexibility and Convenience.
Because of E-learning’s self-directed nature, you won’t find yourself having to change your schedule to fit the teaching timetable. Instead, you fit in your study time when it’s convenient for you. This is especially great for Baby Boomers because you may have health appointments to attend or scheduled family time. If it weren’t for E-learning, you potentially would have to leave class early or compromise relationships that matter to you.
Better Interaction and Concentration
Returning to school after you’ve been away for a while can be challenging for many reasons. As a result, Baby Boomers may have reservations about how well they would integrate into a traditional classroom, but online learning is an entirely different case. In fact, recent studies report better interaction and heightened concentration with online learning compared to traditional face-to-face teaching.
How Do Online Courses Work?
Online courses use many different resources and teaching tools to enhance your learning experience. eBooks, videos, quizzes, pre-recorded lectures, discussions forums, and live question & answer sessions can all be used.
How each online course is delivered and assessed depends on the specifics, of course, and the E-learning website, it’s hosted.
But to give you an idea, you may be required to do some reading from an article or a section of an eBook and then complete a quiz or assignment. And to wrap it all up, you will receive feedback on your performance.
The thought of a hefty assignment or a quiz may sound daunting to some Baby Boomers, but don’t worry! There are often many supplementary resources you can turn to if you need help or further information. These include additional reading material and discussion forums, where you can chat with fellow students or post questions to the tutor.
Baby Boomers should consider the duration and commitment level of a given course. If this is something you are willing to invest significant time in, you can pick a longer, more intense course. But if you’re looking to complete a course on a leisurely basis, you can choose one that requires less commitment and perhaps has a looser structure.
Some institutions will provide certificates upon completion, and these can range from diplomas to even PhDs! But once again, this depends on the type of course you choose and what you’re looking to get out of it.
Free vs. Paid Online Courses
Pros and Cons of Free Online Courses
The greatest advantage of free online learning is how easily accessible the content is. For budget-conscious Boomers who are simply looking to learn a bit more about a specific topic, look no further.
Free courses tend to have ads (as the creators have to make money somehow.) The presence of ads can be off-putting and distracting for many.
When you sign up for free courses it’s not uncommon to find that you are asked to upgrade to paid plans but if you can get past that, you may find that the education you are getting for free is well worth the bother.
Pros and Cons of Paid Online Courses
Countless platforms offer paid online classes. See our recommendations for a few of our favorites!
Users of paid online learning often report higher engagement levels and a greater sense of responsibility towards their education. This may be due to the fact that they have invested money in their learning and are, therefore, more likely to take it seriously
No Advertisements 👍🏼
Because you’re paying for a premium service, you no longer have to sit through annoying ads and can focus solely on your learning.
Price Can be High 👎🏼
Some of these platforms can be expensive and are not suitable for everyone. However, given the number of options available, you are bound to find one that is reasonably priced for you.
How to Find a Great Online Course
So, you’ve decided you want to give online learning a try, but you’re unsure where to begin. With the sheer number of options available to Baby Boomers, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and lost.
Here are some key things to consider when picking out an online class to help make the process simpler.
The factors to consider start broad, and as you answer each of them, the next factor becomes more specific until you have ultimately reached your decision.
What Do You Want to Get Out of Online Learning?
It is crucial to decide what you want to get out of online learning because this will help narrow down the type, of course, you should choose. If you have a good handle on what you want, you are more likely to follow through and successfully complete the course and enjoy it!
Consider the following: is it for leisure, or is it more serious?
How much time do I want to spend on my online learning (not just classes, but also consider assignments and reading)?
Would I like some formal acknowledgment of completion too?
Are You Willing to Pay?
Consider the financial aspect of it; do you want to go for free classes, or would you be willing to pay for your course? Your financial situation will influence this, and again, what you are looking to achieve from online learning.
Check the Reputation of the Online Course Provider
Even if you’re undertaking online learning for fun, you ideally want to be taught by a reputable, knowledgeable tutor. To ensure that this is the case, consider the platform’s reputability by reading about other users’ experiences, reviews on the classes, and the company itself.
Pick a Topic
Once you have the more logistical issues sorted, you get to the fun part of choosing the topic! Has there been a specific skill you’ve always wanted to learn? Or a particular field that you’ve wanted to dabble in but never had the chance? Something you never felt quite brave enough to try? Online classes are the perfect chance to finally go for it, so don’t hold back. Pick whatever topic takes your fancy – no matter how bizarre or niche it may seem.
Is There a Course On That Topic Available?
Next, check that they have a course on your chosen topic. If they have several options, look at the specifications and compare them to see which is the best fit.
If they do not have a course on your chosen topic, you can revisit some of the earlier questions, check another platform, or consider trying out an online course on a different topic.
Get Answers to Your Questions or Concerns About the Course
Make sure to ask any questions or voice any concerns about the online classes – no matter how big or small they may seem. A quality online school will make it easy for you to get answers to any questions you have. Check the website for FAQs, Support Forums and if you can’t find those, try using the Contact Form.
Enroll in an Online Course!
Once you’re happy with your chosen course, all that is left to do is enroll. Most courses allow you to begin learning right away so get ready to immerse yourself in the wonderful world of online learning!
More Online Course Providers
Eskills Academy offers online courses that allow you to learn new skills or take advantage of courses to enhance your professional development. Let’s face it, tech skills are in high demand, and the online world is an increasingly important part of many areas of our lives. Knowing skills, such as cybersecurity, digital marketing, programming languages, and how to operate programs like Fulfilled by Amazon are in high demand. Eskills Academy has affordably-priced courses that can give you the skills that you need for a side income or a new career.
The focus of 360Training is for those who want to seek a career in an area that requires licensing. They offer courses in the food and beverage industry, real estate, and environmental health and safety. They offer required courses for HR compliance, workplace harassment training, business skills, OSHA compliance, and insurance continuing education. Its core focus is on initial licensing and continuing education for specialized fields. They have over 20 years of experience in regulatory compliance training and offer a range of enterprise-level solutions at different pricing levels. Their courses are high-quality, meet the necessary requirements for the field, and are interactive.
The Great Courses Plus
The Great Courses Plus is a membership-based site where you can access courses for a reoccurring monthly fee. Their list of courses is extensive and covers a broad range of topics. You can find courses on business skills, cryptocurrency, history topics, math, cooking, productivity, stress management, and many others. You can try it out with a free trial. All courses are provided by video-on-demand and can be viewed on many devices. You can learn at your own pace from professors who have taught at major universities and colleges. You can sign up for a monthly, quarterly, or annual plan at prices ranging from $12.50 to $20 per month.
Go Skills offers certification and continuing education credits for those who want to learn skills such as Microsoft Excel, Powerpoint, Photoshop, PMP Certification, Finance, Public Speaking, and more. The focus of the academy is to give you skills that are in demand in today’s workplace. Courses are accredited by leading industry organizations like the Project Management Institute (PMI), International Association for Six Sigma (IASSC), and Continuing Professional Development Service (CPD). Their focus is on the professional who wants to upgrade existing skills or learn new ones.
Translators are in high demand, and if you have ever wanted to learn a new language or hone your skills, Fluent City has several options that allow you to achieve it. They offer online private lessons for $32/hour, online group classes for $399, and corporate pricing. You can choose from languages all over the globe. The focus of the classes is on giving you a level of proficiency that allows you to function in the business world in multiple languages. As the world becomes more globally connected, courses such as this will become increasingly important. Knowing a second language opens many doors and opportunities for professional advancement in many industries.
Evolving Wisdom is a global e-learning community that focuses on helping you develop a more spiritual and fulfilling life. They offer self-improvement and empowerment courses such as classes on meditation, personal power, love, relationships. and success. The goal of these classes is to give you the skills that you need to live your best life and achieve your personal goals and dreams. These classes are taught by some of the most well-known thought leaders in the field such as Lisa Nichols, Dr. Deepak Chopra, Debi Ford, and Craig Hamilton.
Acadyme focuses on the sports industry with learning experiences for athletes, coaches, and trainers. The curriculum includes online videos, podcasts, workbooks, training plans, and workouts. You can learn to train and race in a Triathlon, do an open water swim, or up your game in several different sports. The courses are taught by athletes who have proven winning records in their sport. These courses are designed to help you with technique, tips, and developing the right mindset to be a winner. They are a blend of the latest in technology and sports science, coupled with the personal experiences of the instructors. Courses range from $10-$50.
Wyzant is a network of professional tutors who can help you learn anything from Algebra to guitar lessons. They offer tutors for the major academic subjects, including Chemistry, Spanish, English, Accounting, Coding, Test Prep, and general study skills. Their tutors are vetted and must meet rigorous standards to be accepted into the program. They ask you questions to get to know you and your learning style. Then, they match you with someone who is a perfect fit. You can accelerate your progress with private one-on-one lessons. If you are preparing for a test or just want to improve your grades, Wyzant can help.