A Primer on Online Learning

The notion that you can connect to a store of knowledge, information, people and learning online is not new, but a renaissance is upon us. There are more ways to learn online than ever. Fortunately, we have been studying up since we started Amava and we’ve got you covered with a primer to help you navigate this brave new world. Whether taking classes remotely is new to you or you have been an early adopter, there’s so much information out there–many platforms and options–that it can be daunting. We want to give you the tools you need to boil it down so you can spend less time surfing around and more time hitting the virtual books, videos, lectures and interactions to further your education.

First things first, there is more than one way to “take a class online.”

Here are the basic options:

-Instructor-led one-on-one: More personal, flexible and generally more expensive.

-Instructor-led group: Usually in a “virtual classroom,” on a schedule.

-Self-paced: Still usually one instructor (but can be more than one).

-Fee-based or free.

-Part of a certificated program or stand-alone.

Another thing to consider when you think about online learning is why you are doing it. Are you trying to build your skills and knowledge to bolster your business or earning potential? Just looking for some personal growth? Maybe both? Assess your motivation before you make your choices. If it turns out that designing websites makes your creative heart sing and you think you can get paid to do it for others, that’s a fantastic sweet spot for you and it may be worth investing in a series of courses. If all you really want to do is unlock the mystery of the Loch Ness Monster, that may take you down a different (but fascinating!) path.

A Word About Categorization

As you may have noticed, living and learning online involves searching. And searching requires using the right words (yes, there are classes on that too!). When you think about looking for classes and programs that will work for you, think in sets. All sites have categories and they can sometimes be over-inclusive and other times under-inclusive. Here are some to start with, but when you look at online course catalogs, always remember to search for the words that are important to you so you don’t miss anything. For example– is a course about the Acropolis going to be under history, arts, humanities or architecture? That depends on who built the site.

Here is a handy, though by no means exhaustive, guide to course categories and some sample topics you might find under them:






-Fashion Design




-Leadership/Soft skills






Computers, Apps, Computer Science

-Coding (computer programming)

-WordPress (website building)

-Building/Using Apps

-SEO and Digital Marketing

Health, Fitness & Wellness




-Wellness Coaching




-Translator Certification

Academic/General Education/Humanities


-Interest areas (history, literature, religious studies etc.)

-Teaching certification

Life Skills



-Around the House


-Services and Sharing Economy

-Setting up your own small business

Whatever you want to learn, we want to help you find your path. Learn more about how this time of pause can help you Discover Your Next.

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