If you’re looking to undertake further study – or perhaps even your first lot of study – you might be wondering where to begin. When choosing a learning pathway, there are a variety of things to consider like why you’re choosing to study. Iis it for fun/as a hobby? Are you looking for a career change? Or perhaps you’re simply looking to upskill and further your current knowledge. Once you know the reason behind your desire to start a new course, you can begin searching for the right one for you. In this article, we’ll be specifically looking at skills-based courses and we’ll dive into what exactly is a skills-based course, how to choose the right one for you, and what to look out for to ensure it’s a reputable course.

Knowledge-Based Learning vs Skills-Based Learning

So what’s the difference between knowledge-based learning and skills-based learning? Basically, knowledge is the theoretical understanding of something, which you learn through things like lectures and textbooks – so reading and listening.  Skills, on the other hand, can be learnt by doing, and the best way to master a skill is through regular practice. Typically, skill-based learning builds upon knowledge by developing practical expertise in a particular area.

Let’s take a tradesman for example. They first need to learn the background knowledge of say building a house – like how to measure and read a blueprint. However, without the right skills to carry out specific tasks needed to build a home, the theory is pretty useless. Basically, having knowledge of a certain topic does not make you skilled at it. Likewise, having skills in a field does not mean you have all the knowledge to really excel. 

Typically, a combination of knowledge-based learning and skills-based learning is the best way to truly grasp a topic/area and master it.

Choosing the Right Skills-Based Course 

So you’ve determined a skills-based course is your next pathway. Now, how do you narrow down all the skills-based courses out there? Here are some things to consider when choosing a good skills-based course.

  • Your current educational qualifications
  • Prior work experience (if any – e.g. vocational training)
  • Career opportunities within the field of study
  • Career growth prospects

You should also determine your reason for undertaking a skills-based course. Is it:

  1. For a career change
  2. To increase your current knowledge
  3. As a hobby/side project/area of interest to pursue

Now, you can begin looking for a good skills-based course based on your needs. Take a look into the following to find the right course for you:

  1. Type of Study – Online Classes or In-Person

When choosing a good skills-based course, it’s important to consider whether it’s in-person, online or maybe a mixture of both. Typically speaking, when studying a skills-based course, in-person is ideal as skills-based courses usually require a more hands-on approach. That’s not to say an online skills-based course won’t be any good – but just consider the area you’re studying and whether you’ll get more out of an in-person class. For example, if you want to learn how to code, an online course will certainly be sufficient. If you’re wanting to learn skills in plumbing, chances are in-person learning will provide a better experience. 

  1. Attend an Open Day/Read Online Reviews

To really get a sense if the course is right for you, attending an open day is a great idea. Or, if you’re far away from a campus/want to take an online course, read as many reviews as you can. For example, Udemy has an extensive range of online courses that have been rated by hundreds of thousands of students. Take the 2022 Complete Python Bootcamp From Zero to Hero in Python – it already has a rating of 4.6 out of 5 based on 403,063 ratings. Chances are, this is going to be a good course. 

  1. Narrow Down Your Options 

If you’ve found 10 courses you like the sound of, you’ll want to start narrowing it down to 3 or 4 and begin listing what you like and don’t like about the course. Research the courses thoroughly, read reviews, talk to the course teachers and past students if you can to really gauge if it’s the right course for you. 

  1. Size Up Career Outcomes

Depending on why you’re doing the course, you’ll want to consider the career outcomes. Will this course prepare you for an entry-level position, or something more senior? Some skills-based courses will offer up specified career outcomes, and the roles that real graduates of the course are working in.  

  1. Consider the Reputation of the Course Provider

A course’s reputation can really help you decide if it’s a good skills-based course or not. For example, if you’re choosing a course from RMIT Online (based on a reputable Melbourne University), chances are you’re going to get a lot out of the course. Whereas if you’re choosing to study a skills-based course offered up by an Instagram influencer, it might not be as reputable. Again, it depends why you’re studying the course and your intended outcomes for completing the course. 

  1. Support 

Course support is an important one – and it really depends how you prefer to line. Do you want teacher support readily available whenever you need it? Or are you happy with resources you can access online at your own leisure?  

We hope this has helped you narrow down how to find a good-skills based course! If you have any further questions, please get in touch with us. We’re more than happy to assist!