Giving Online Courses as Presents – How to Get it Right

Published by: Julia

If you are scratching your head wondering what to buy someone for the holidays, look no further – online courses make great gifts. Take it from me.

In the past year, I have completed nearly 100 online courses, so I could provide you with proper in-depth reviews. While doing this, I found myself constantly thinking wow my dad/mum/brother would love this.

So, when their birthdays and Christmas came round, I gave those courses as gifts. It was a great move, they loved the fact I had bought them something that was specific to them and the fact that they could enjoy the material again and again.

With the gift-giving holidays of Thanksgiving, Sinterklaas, Hanukkah, Christmas, the New Lunar Year and Three Kings Day coming up fast, I thought I would write a short guide about giving online courses as gifts. You can, of course, use it for other occasions like birthdays or other gift-giving holidays.

Here are some of the things you need to consider:

Remember who you are buying for

When you take a course and really enjoy it, you can easily get carried away and think that everyone else will love it too. Before you hit the buy button, pause for a minute and ask if the person you are buying for is really going to like it.

Online courses gift card

If you are at all unsure about which courses to give, my suggestion would be to give them an online course gift card instead. Most of the major platforms offer them.

You need to look at the terms and conditions. But, usually the person you give it to will be able to decide whether to buy lifetime access to one course or a monthly or annual course that enables them to watch most of the catalogue for a set amount of time.

Practical considerations

This sounds a little daft, but you want to be sure that the person you are buying the gift for can access and enjoy it. They will need the following:

  • A device with a big enough screen – In theory, you can watch these courses on mobile. In fact, many of the platforms have a mobile app. But, I can tell you from personal experience that trying to watch a cooking course on a small screen is not much fun. Whereas something more informational, like the Yale University of Wellbeing course is fine. So think about that, before buying.
  • Access to an email address – Most course providers still send access to their courses via email.
  • A fast enough internet connection – Sadly, I was not able to watch some Masterclass course material while staying with my father. His internet connection was via Wi-Max and, at the time, it was just too slow for watching most videos. If you know the person suffers from buffering hell while viewing YouTube or cannot stream TV the chances are they won´t thank you for sending them an online video course. Although you could by one from one of the platforms that allow people to download their course material. Coursera and CreativeLive are two good places to start.

The quality of the course

Unsurprisingly, the quality of online courses varies. Most are very good, but keep an eye out for the out of date ones, or the ones that have been produced by people who actually know very little about the subject. You can easily spot them if you take a few minutes to run through the sample videos that are provided. The reviews from other students can be very enlightening too.

The price of the course

Of course, how much you have to pay is a consideration. If you look and are put off by the cost, keep popping back. Most of the providers offer deep discounts at some point in the year. Besides which, there are plenty of courses available year-round that cost no more than a hardback, DVD or something similar.

Using the in-depth review on this site, you can find out how to take advantage of discounts and find the best course for the money.

How long you are buying access for

You need to bear in mind that with some courses you will only be buying access for a limited period of time. But, normally, this is clearly explained.

Does it have a certificate or a recognized qualification?

If you are buying an educational course, it is worth looking for a provider that offers the person that completes it the chance to gain a certificate. Or better still a recognized qualification. If this is important to you, double-check whether the certificate or qualification is included in the cost of the course. You don´t want someone to spend hours taking the course and completing the assignments only to discover that they cannot afford to pay for the certification.

Work out how you are going to give the person access to their gift

The vast majority of course providers are set up to serve people who want to give their courses as presents. All you do is to state that it is a gift at the time that you make the purchase. The course provider will then either send access direct to the person´s email with a copy to you. Or send you a special code that you can then send on to them at a time of your choosing.

Online course providers are getting more sophisticated about how they provide gift courses, so you will usually be able to choose what happens. This will help you to present the gift in a special way and do so at a time of your choosing.

How to find out more about an online course before buying it

Most course providers give you the chance to watch some of the videos. Many also include extensive user reviews. Read a few of the one-star and 4 or 5-star reviews to get a sense of how good the course is. In some cases, you will also find reviews on sites like Trustpilot.

It really is worth taking 10 minutes out to carry out this last piece of research. When you do, the chances of your buying a course that will make a great highly personalised present for someone soars.

Provided you keep the above in mind, you will be able to ensure that you buy a course that the person you are buying for will enjoy and benefit from. There are thousands available, with more being added each day. So, if you want some help with narrowing down your options, you could click here and take a look at a few of my suggestions. In that article, I recommend several courses for the following kinds of people:

  • Film fans
  • Cooks
  • Students
  • Sports fans
  • Health and fitness fans
  • People with depression or mental health issues
  • Musicians
  • Music fans
  • Gamers
  • Craft lovers

There really is a course out there for every kind of person.

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