Sometimes back, you could only take a home-improvement course by actually enrolling in a physical training institution and learning in situ.
Today, you can pursue almost any course online, sometimes for free.
So, Are Free Online Home Improvement Courses Worth Taking?
No, but it can depend. The type of institution or platform offering the free course can have a big say on whether you’ll get something worth your time and whether you can use the credentials in the job market. If you take a free home-improvement course on Udemy, for example, chances are you are getting something worth your time.
Five Reasons Why Free Online Home Improvement Courses Aren’t Worth Taking
Here is why a free home improvement class on the web may not be worth your effort:
1. Home Improvement Is More of a Hands-On Course
Home improvement is very much like mechanical engineering – it’s all about taking an action in real-life scenarios.
Clearly, that doesn’t sound like something you’d grasp easily through a bunch of video lectures with rambling instructors.
Even if the instructor decides to include demo projects on a live camera, you’ll still need to be involved in real-life demonstrations with the instructor and even ask questions.
The fact that it’s a free course may mean you aren’t getting something of value.
The MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) marketplace has been booming lately.
Even the prestigious Ivy League institutions such as Harvard and Yale are starting to offer dirt-free (a free course from Harvard, mind you!) and unrestricted access to select-few courses to boost accessibility to their list of offerings.
Completing a free home improvement course from one of these famous institutions can count as a remarkable achievement.
Employers are likely to take you more seriously with credentials from such institutions than if you had received one from an unknown establishment somewhere on the internet.
If you are in the last round of interviews, for example, this can be a show stopper because the interviewers are likely to use it to set you apart from other less qualified interviewees.
However, credentials alone may not land you the job of your dreams.
2. Online Doesn’t Mean Less Time
First of all, let’s not forget that long-distance learning isn’t restricted to MOOCs but many other programs as well.
You can take several other courses on the internet from different institutions for free or slightly less than what you’d have paid to learn in situ.
However, it is important to understand that taking a free home improvement course online doesn’t mean you are going to spend less time on it than what you’d have spent paying for it in a physical institution.
Some online courses even end up requiring more of your effort and time than your Master’s degree. Some may demand 420 hours or more, but they seldom involve meetings.
3. Very Limited or No Interaction with Faculty
If you take a home-improvement course via Coursera, for example, you’re almost certainly not going to deal with a department or faculty of any learning institution.
But it may depend on the kind of online program, who is offering it, and whether the platform is in collaboration with a recognized learning institution.
Harvard offers some of their online courses via edX and Coursera but you can’t be certain that you will interact with their professors.
Although your peers may be in a position to fill this void and answer some of your questions, you should think of the level of departmental/faculty engagement you require to feel like you are making progress.
There aren’t many platforms out there that would offer a free online home improvement course and instill give you access to their faculty.
4. Accreditation Issues
The proper way to get home improvement credentials is to attend a college and/or university that has been accredited by the national higher education regulation body.
It would be great to attend it in situ although pretty every accredited institution out there offers remote learning nowadays.
If an institution has a .edu at the end of the address, chances are you are dealing with a serious and appropriately accredited higher learning institution.
A home improvement certificate can be worth the time and effort if you obtain it from an accredited institution, whether free or paid.
If you are still uncertain, an international registry of accredited training institutions can be found here.
5. Much of Online Learning Involves Your Own Research
This is probably the biggest reason why you shouldn’t take a free home-improvement course on the internet.
Whether you choose to pay for it and get it for free, a big part of the learning will involve your own research.
For a course of home improvement caliber, you deserve more from the instructor although your own research is still necessary.
Three Reasons Why Free Online Home Improvement Courses Are Worth Taking
Maybe it is worth it – here are a few reasons:
1. You get to break the geographical barrier
Online courses of any kind offer the opportunity for learners to break the geographical barrier and engage with other learners around the world.
It is worth it because you get to interact with other home improvement students and experts distributed in different geographical regions.
The removal of geographical constraints is beneficial to your peers as well.
Through the interaction, you an international perspective, global trends and even get to learn how to collaborate with individuals from different countries and backgrounds.
2. If You Can Grasp It, Fine
Like most things, it is not what you have in your head, but how to put it to practice that matters.
How you got your home improvement course or the number of such certificates on your resume may not matter much as long as you grasped what you learned and can apply it to solve real-world problems.
Also, if you can communicate openly and intelligently about what you have learned, it may set you miles apart from those who paid for it in a physical training institution but lacks basic communication skills.
3. You Get to Learn at Your Own Pace and Comfort
If you don’t like raising your hand in class or being picked on to answer random questions, or asking your professor to re-explain some concepts that your classmates already seem to understand, then an online course may be the only viable avenue left for you.
In a web-based learning environment, you are free to pause videos or revisit a concept covered in older modules as you wish. You can dig deeper into specific topics rather than skim over them.
Outside the academic world, however, many enterprises don’t care if the course was received in situ or online as long as you can demonstrate your skills. Still, the name of the institution may create a difference.
So, if you are compiling research, write down the kind of institution you want and qualities you are looking for in online education before getting started. Is earning home improvement vital to you?
Must you do it online?
Are you in a position to go with a more interactive and immersive experience rather than engage with videos and pdfs lectures?
By knowing your specific preferences, it can be easier to decide between in situ learning and online learning, whether paid or free.
Are free online home improvement courses worth taking?
In one word – “No.”
It would make sense to pursue it in situ and even pay for it for quality reasons.