Which online business course is best?

If you want to improve your business skills, an online business course gives you access to skilled professionals for a fraction of the price of typical business school courses. Online learning platforms let you gain industry expertise and advance your career while working remotely.

Your schedule, budget, skill level and expectations will help you determine the best online business course for your needs. However, if you plan to launch a business and want comprehensive advice, the Entrepreneurship Academy: Strategize & Start A Business is the best course.

What to know before you buy an online business course

Before choosing a course, evaluate your skills, industry knowledge, schedule and budget.

Skill level

Online business courses are available for beginners through experts and everywhere in between. Beginner-level courses often include actionable information for all students, while higher-level courses dive deeper into the subject matter, skipping past the foundational material.

If you’re considering an online business course as a beginner or intermediate professional, go for the general or lower-level courses to get all the information you need to be successful.

Time commitment

Most online business courses are self-guided and don’t have a hard deadline. Some have recommended times to complete each section of the course. These recommended deadlines can help you stay motivated and engaged, especially if peer-graded assignments require you to interact with others taking the course.

Consider what type of schedule works for your other commitments and what your end goal is after completing the course.

Specialization

Business courses can either cover general business topics or delve deeper into a specialization. Think about the gaps in your business knowledge and what you’re looking to learn. A broader course is a great choice if you’d like an overview of many business topics. If you need to learn more about a particular topic, a specialized course may fit your needs better.

Price

Generally, there are two ways to pay for an online course: per class or per month.

A per-class fee is due upfront before you can access the course. A monthly subscription fee lets you begin as soon as you pay for the first month, work on your schedule and then pay again only when the next monthly date triggers.

If you plan to complete the course ahead of schedule, paying per month is a great way to reduce costs. However, if you need extra time and don’t want to overpay for extra months, paying a flat fee might make more sense for you.

What to look for in a quality online business course

The best online business courses offer students value both during the course and after it’s complete. 

Interactive elements

Online courses differ from in-person classes because all the learning is done on a computer through digital interactive elements. Quality courses may include web-based exercises and online quizzes, class-wide discussions and peer-based evaluations. These digital elements should combine to create an engaging experience where you’ll absorb information and apply new skills and concepts to real-world situations.

Downloadable resources

Besides web-based modules, high-quality online courses offer downloadable guides, syllabi, workbooks or templates. These downloadable resources offer real-world examples to practice your newfound skills.

Professional certification

The best online business courses issue a certificate of completion after you pass the course. It’s not the same as a degree from an accredited university, but these certificates indicate your commitment to professional development. They are also great to showcase on your professional profiles, such as LinkedIn or your resume.

How much you can expect to spend on an online business course

Comprehensive online business courses cost $30-$500, depending on the length of the course, industry niche and the person or institution presenting it.

Tips to get the most out of an online business course

  • Commit to completing the course. It may sound obvious, but when it comes to online courses, you get out of it what you put into it. If you lose motivation, remind yourself why you signed up in the first place and re-commit to seeing it through.
  • Show up ready to learn. Any business course comes with a fair amount of reading material. Prepare to do a lot of reading and writing as you work through the video lessons. Before you sit down to learn, gather your course materials, such as reading glasses, a fresh cup of coffee or water, a notebook and a pen.
  • Eliminate distractions. Noise-canceling headphones are a great way to tune out extraneous noise. And whether you’re learning from your desk or the kitchen counter, or at a local establishment, tidying up your space can help you stay mentally focused. Even putting your phone on silent or airplane mode can help keep you on task.
  • Create a weekly schedule. Studying on the same schedule each week helps students stick with the course to the end. It sets boundaries and protects your learning time from other commitments.
  • Celebrate your progress. Every step of the course is one step closer to completion. Reward yourself with something special for every milestone along the way. You can treat yourself to anything, from a doughnut to a new office gadget to a night out.

Online business course FAQ

Do online business courses have homework?

A. Sometimes. Online courses present all the material you need to learn, but you must work outside the virtual classroom to bring those ideas to life. Some courses include tangible assignments, while others simply present the material and leave you to your own devices.

If you do receive homework, it may be presented as “exercises” or “workbooks.” These are extensions of the lessons to help you understand and absorb the material. Unlike school assignments, you can complete online course assignments on your own schedule.

Can I get help from classmates and peers?

A. Maybe, depending on the course. Some online courses offer a digital forum where students can interact. You may even complete peer-reviewed assignments where those other students grade your work. While they may be at different points in the material, these online forums help build a community around the course where everyone can share questions, takeaways and advice.

What’s the best online business course to buy?

Top online business course

Entrepreneurship Academy: Strategize & Start a Business

Entrepreneurship Academy: Strategize & Start a Business

What you need to know: This is an all-in-one course for anyone looking to start a business.

What you’ll love: It covers every aspect of entrepreneurship, including market research, legal entities, marketing, finances, creating a business plan and how to transition out of a full-time job. The course includes video lessons with accompanying articles and downloadable resources. Students receive lifetime access and a certificate of completion.

What you should consider: The material is geared toward people who want to start their own business, so it may not be best for professionals in a corporate setting.

Where to buy: Sold by Udemy

Top online business course for the money

Mini MBA: Foundations of Business Strategy Consulting

Mini MBA: Foundations of Business Strategy Consulting

What you need to know: This course offers a deep dive into business strategy for business professionals at any level of their career.

What you’ll love: Each video lesson comes with downloadable slide decks. The course covers every type of strategy and critical thinking exercise through examples, case studies, templates and quizzes. Students receive lifetime access and a certificate of completion.

What you should consider: Though comprehensive in its business strategy material, this course doesn’t cover other general business topics.

Where to buy: Sold by Udemy

Worth checking out

Career Success Specialization, University of California Irvine

Career Success Specialization, University of California Irvine

What you need to know: This overarching business certification covers all aspects of succeeding in your professional career.

What you’ll love: Six University of California Irvine instructors and an executive coach teach 10 courses on everything you need to grow in your career, including project management, time management, finances, communication, business writing, negotiation and problem-solving. Students progress through video lessons on a flexible schedule and receive a certificate of completion. The course is accessible through a monthly subscription.

What you should consider: The monthly subscription price adds up if you take the full estimated time of 11 months to complete it.

Where to buy: Sold by Coursera

 

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Katy Palmer writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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