Are Online Investing Courses All They’re Cracked up to Be?

Are Online Investing Courses All They’re Cracked up to Be?

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If you’ve been searching around the web for information on investing and finance, you’ll probably bump into three major options:

I placed the online course phrase in parentheses because online courses is a very general term which could be describing some very different websites.

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On the one hand, I could be talking about the likes of Yale and Harvard Universities who have now made several finance lectures completely free to watch on their website. Yes, you can experience what it would be like to go to an Ivy League University, by following the footage of lecturers (and assistants) as they delivered a real series of lectures, complete with Q&A with the audience and reminders about items of admin at the beginning and end of lectures!

At the other end of the scale, you have some course creators who are primarily money bloggers who have spent the time and energy to create an exclusive piece of content which they call a course. This will typically be divided into multiple sections, to reinforce the idea that this is taking the user through a series of topics in order, compared to the normal experience of reading a blog like a magazine.

Are online courses any good?

Online courses vary in quality, and while you might assume that one factor is whether they’re free or not, this is not a useful factor in my personal experience.

For a start, you can take as many free courses as you want. It’s free after all, so your only constraint is time. In this way, you can think of the free investing courses on the web as a single, massive trove of useful knowledge which you are free to slowly make your way around.

Paid courses, on the other hand, will force you to seriously evaluate the topics within and decide whether the quality of the content and the relevancy of the information will be worth you parting with some well-earned cash.

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There isn’t a centralised ‘Tripadvisor of online courses’ to allow you to compare and contrast the user experiences of different courses in a single place. This is a shame, as this would bring a lot of insight into the content, and reduce the difficulty of deciding whether a course is worth spending money on before you’ve actually begun.

Do online investing courses cost money?

So yes, some online courses do cost money. They tend to come in two forms:

  • A paid course website which sells access to a single course for a fixed fee, e.g. £19.99 and then offers unlimited access to other courses for an upgraded subscription, e.g. £79.99 per year.
  • A one-off downloadable course available for a small fee, e.g. £7.99

The open access university lectures I mentioned above are always free. Universities may offer more substantial courses, involving proper interaction between you and the content, but this would come at a cost.

Are online courses all they’re cracked up to be?

In an age where many people are working from home for the first time due to global developments, online courses are an excellent opportunity for us to brush up on our finance, economics and investing knowledge.

Online courses are cheap, and immediately accessible. They’re usually mobile compatible and therefore ideal for a public-transport commute or a few spare minutes in the evening. This makes it a flexible type of learning, and a good match for a busy modern lifestyle.

I would recommend that you start a free investing course first. After all, there’s no cost so you’ll only lose the time you spent if you decide it’s not right for you. This makes it a low risk toe dip in an exciting world of online learning. If you really enjoyed taking the course, perhaps you could research and try a paid course to cover a more advanced or detailed topic?

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