Online investing courses are now widely available on the web. You can take your pick between a 24-hour lecture series, an interactive video series, or bitesize articles (like in our free investing courses). But why choose an online investing course at all?
Is there still value in the traditional methods of learning, such as investment textbooks or even the school of hard knocks (i.e. investing in the stock market without any advice, or buying a house without learning how to invest in property. Or are online courses now king? Let’s find out.
Before we begin, let’s define the traditional options. I’m talking about:
- University, college or professional courses on economics, financial markets and investing.
- Self-teaching through advanced level university courses
- Investment training courses delivered through physical classrooms.
Accessibility (Winner: Online investing courses)
Classroom-based formal education is not very accessible:
- Investing modules in degree courses cannot be taken individually, and require the student to sign-up for a 3-year bachelor degree.
- Classroom courses have a fixed time, which can be difficult to fit around existing work and life commitments. Even if classes are run in the evening, this can run up against childcare or deadlines at work.
- Classroom courses also have a fixed location. This will probably serve city-dwellers relatively well, but for people living in the suburbs or the countryside, the travel time required may be prohibitive.
Online investing courses are the definition of accessible. They typically allow students to study in their own time, at a pace of their choosing. This can allow a student to study for a substantial course over a longer period if they have little spare time to give.
Online investing courses often provide instant access to their content after you sign-up. It’s exciting to think that you can begin your learning journey within a few minutes of landing on your chosen website!
Cost (Winner: Online investing courses)
Traditional investing courses are expensive if they are not covered by countries free education system (and personal finance rarely is).
University courses in the UK can cost £9,000 per year in tuition fees alone. Added to this are accommodation costs and food. You might also need to factor in the loss of income whilst studying full-time.
Classroom course prices need to cover the cost of:
- Administration staff
- Building costs and taxes
- Printed materials
Whereas online investing courses rely upon videos, have no physical office location to pay for, and no printing costs. It makes a lot of sense that online investing courses are usually priced under £200 even if they’re offering a whopping 100-hour course for that money.
On Financial Expert I actually offer investing courses for free, because once I’ve written the content, which I enjoy doing, there is no additional cost to share it with students for £0!
Coverage (Winner: Traditional investing courses)
Traditional courses are designed around a syllabus which has usually been honed over many years of experience and feedback.
Accreditation bodies and inspectors, or other government bodies, may also exercise their influence over the topics taught if they form part of qualifications.
This leads to a higher quality standard and can give an unrivalled depth to traditional courses.
Traditional courses are also more likely to set ambitious levels of homework and further study for their students. They may also be more effective in holding students accountable to these supplementary tasks, which will increase the value of the course overall.
Online investing courses cannot enforce this good behaviour and tend to be created around a more narrow focus or theme. As a result, you may find that you need to take multiple courses (at risk of seeing duplicate content) to ensure that you have attained a comprehensive understanding of the investing world.