Whether you’re applying to go to college, or are a student or graduate, online courses are a fantastic way to enhance your CV. Your CV is the first point of contact between you and a potential employer and it is the first opportunity for you to sell yourself. Online courses have grown in popularity over the last few years and in the current climate, a lot of us have extra time on our hands so this is an opportunity to do some online training. Participating in e-learning is a way to show you have a willingness to learn and you are committed to your own personal development and career.
There are many benefits to online training, but here are some that stick out for me.
1. Convenience and Flexibility
With most programmes you have the freedom to complete them at your own pace, so you’re not tied down to a fixed schedule. The ball is in your court.
2. Reduced Costs
The good news is there is a huge range of courses, with many of them being completely free of charge.
There are hundreds of online courses available to choose from. From computer programming to foreign languages and environmental studies, there are options for almost everything and everyone.
4. Learning Environment
There are no physical classes so you can learn from the comfort of your own home or wherever you please. Once you have a Wi-Fi connection the world of online education is at your fingertips.
5. Access to Expertise
Online training courses expose you to some of the most knowledgeable professors and industry leaders in Ireland and abroad.
6. Meeting New People
Online education also provides students with the chance to network with peers across nations and even different continents.
Learning platforms I recommend
Edx is a non-profit online initiative that hosts hundreds of courses from providers across the globe. You can get a world class education from top Universities and ITs, free of cost. You can go through lectures that interest you, as many times as you like and at your own pace. Some of the Universities you can learn with are: Harvard University, MIT, Oxford, Cambridge and the University of Barcelona.
Topics include science, public policy, computer science, economics, electronics, engineering, food and nutrition, history, law, literature, maths, music, philosophy, and more. There are also a variety of courses on Microsoft Word, Powerpoint and Excel, that can be overlooked at times but are crucial for developing your IT skills.
I have used Edx myself to complete many courses and I found them very thorough and easy to follow. I also got to learn and submit questions to leading industry experts in the US which was pretty cool. My favourite part is that you can do everything at your own pace, no scattered notes because you missed what the lecturer said. You can simply pause and continue. I also think completing online courses that I was able to add to my CV boosted my job opportunities. For example, I have been asked many times by interviewers to talk about my experience studying online and why I chose particular courses. It is a good talking point in interviews and will always impress a potential employer!
Similar to Edx, Coursera works with 200+ leading universities and companies. Throughout the courses you are able to apply what you learn by taking self-paced quizzes and completing hands-on projects. It is also possible to get feedback from a global community of learners.
The future of internships is here. InsideSherpa has KPMG, CitiBank, Linklaters and others to offer great programmes to students and graduates. It is a unique platform as it offers virtual internships, free of charge. This is an opportunity to build practical skills that you can use in the workplace, all from the comfort of your own home. Once enrolled, you will be given a hypothetical set of tasks that an employee would expect to complete on a given work day. I think this is a great option for anyone who is starting out in their job hunt or is in college already. Each task has video instructions from a company employee which are very clear. Your work will then be submitted for feedback and you can compare your own answers to the company’s model answer.
You can also avail of free CV and cover letter templates which is an added bonus.
The Council of Europe
The Council of Europe launched an online platform called HELP which offers courses covering a range of human rights topics. Accessing the platform is free of charge and open to anyone. In January 2020 the HELP online platform had more than 43,000 active users which is very impressive.
The courses are interactive, visual and practical. They cover various human rights related topics, reflecting the different areas of work of the Council of Europe. For example, you can enrol in courses on Human Rights in Sports or Refugee and Migrant Children. There is a wide range of courses on offer that cover a large amount of global issues. These courses may be a good option for those interested in social justice issues.
Trinity College MOOC
Massive Online Open Courses (MOOC) has just been launched by Trinity College. This is an excellent platform which is recognised worldwide and has a fantastic reputation among employers in Ireland.
They are currently running an online MOOC for two weeks on ‘Exercise for the Prevention and Treatment of Disease ‘which may be of interest to anyone passionate about Health and Nutrition. There is even a course on radiation therapy where you can learn from patients who have received radiation therapy as part of their treatment.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been an unprecedented time for everyone, but it is also an ideal time to explore your interests and pursue e-learning opportunities. Above all, maintaining a positive outlook and leaning into your passions won’t steer you wrong.