The Benefits of Online Courses

When I first decided to invest in an editorial training program, there were no online learning options. The only program I could find that had a great reputation was a book and magazine publishing post-grad program at a college on the other side of the country.

There weren’t a lot of publishing programs available where I lived. Actually, there was one at a big university about an hour away, but the cost was huge and I wasn’t a fan of the curriculum. It focused on what they called “theory” but didn’t cover technical skills to the degree I wanted. Technical skills in publishing are proofreading, copyediting, editing, design, marketing, sales, etc. 

I was committed to making my dream of working in publishing come true, though, so I took the leap and applied to the post-grad program. I went through an application process of tests, essay writing, and a phone interview before I was accepted. 

Now, seventeen years later, as I look back on my editing career in publishing and content creation, I have come to some realizations. One of them is that if I had to do it all over again, I would absolutely invest in an online program. There are so many benefits to online courses that I thought I’d share some of the biggest ones with you below.

While I would never trade in the wonderful relationships I developed in my new city (I met my future husband while at publishing school!), I have to admit that it was a big sacrifice to pack up my belongings, say bye to family and friends, and move across the country to a city where I didn’t know anyone.

These days you don’t have to give up so much to gain editorial skills and knowledge. You can enroll in online courses that suit your needs and be accepted with the click of a button!

Pretty amazing, right?

Benefit #1: Online courses will accelerate your goals


This is because you only focus on what you need (more on this below), and it takes you on a direct path you need to be on. You don’t have to enroll in a variety on non-related courses to get a breadth of knowledge. Every lesson counts directly towards your skill development.

A good online course will teach you what you need to know to get the outcome you desire. Everything in the curriculum will contribute to your desired goal, whether it’s through knowledge, examples, practical skills, or exercises.

Benefit #2: Online learning is cheaper than college or university


My publishing program was about $10,000 for one year’s tuition. And that didn’t include the cost of books, supplies, transportation, and living expenses.

I was lucky that I studied in the first year the program had been condensed to one year; before that it was a two-year program. While I had some money saved, I still took out a student loan to cover my tuition and living costs because I didn’t want to work while in school. I was super serious about getting the most out of publishing school. 

It took me a while to pay off my student loan plus interest, so the fact that online learning is cheaper is a huge benefit. Often, online courses will even have monthly payments. 

I think the low cost of an online course compared to traditional schools is one of the best things about online learning. Now you can take the same level of training for a fraction of the cost, and often from an expert who has real-world experience and authority. 

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Benefit #3: You can learn at your convenience


Online courses are flexible. You don’t have to travel and sit in a class for a set period of time. If there are live sessions or workshops, there are usually recordings so you can catch up.

You can take your lessons when it fits into your schedule: during your lunch break, in the morning before work, in the evenings, even during your commute to work if you wish. 

I take online courses all the time, and I like the fact that I can take a week or even a month off learning if I have to and pick up where I left off. It’s great!

One of my students in my High-Level Proofreading Pro program dedicated a half hour every evening after dinner to learning in my course, while another would learn while his son was napping. 

It’s entirely up to you, and it’s nice not to have the pressure of deadlines.

Benefit #4: Ability to repeat your lessons and refresh your knowledge


I don’t know about you, but when I was in school sometimes I wasn’t able to keep up with the instructor’s teaching. Sometimes they’d be too far away and it’d be a struggle to understand them, or maybe I was tired and couldn’t focus. If I was sick and missed a class, I’d have to rely on other students’ notes to catch up.

With online courses, you can refresh and catch up on lessons whenever you need to, providing the course gives you access for the lifetime of the course. I offer this to my students because I know how important it is to be able to reference the material in lessons. Not all online courses let you do this, especially ones that are from colleges or universities, but most do. 

If you consider that you’re getting “lifetime access” to proprietary information, then the cost of an online course has already paid for itself just from that aspect! 

As a teacher, I also update my online proofreading course so my students are kept up-to-date and enter the market with relevant skill sets. To me, it’s not a good experience for students if you’re learning how to proofread from old lessons that don’t reflect the constantly evolving nature of language. 

Even the major style guides like The Chicago Manual of Style and the Associated Press Style Book refresh every year and make changes to reflect the latest developments in content and language use. 

Conclusion


If I could redo my publishing education again, I would definitely do the online route, but I would never change moving to a new city and making friends and meeting my future husband here. Working towards your dreams and investing in your education and skill development is worth every penny, and online courses makes it very achievable.  

What do you think? Do you think you could learn from an online course? Let me know in the comments below!

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