Learning math can significantly enhance both the intellectual faculties of a learner and increase their attractiveness to prospective employers. With the continuing trends of digital transformation, data analytics and data science applications, and automation and machine learning innovations, there will be an ever-increasing need for workers with solid math sense and skills. Most emerging industries and employment sectors are seeing a surge in demand for analytical skills requiring solid foundational knowledge of applied math.
These trends have encouraged young and mid-career professionals to take supplement courses to improve their quantitative analysis skills. Young workers see that high-paying jobs in their career path require quantitative skills. Mid-career professionals are also seeing increased demand for math sense and quantitative skills if they want to move up their current business organizations or make a mid-career shift. Some examples of the more popular courses on foundational topics are online college algebra course offerings and statistics for data science, math for data scientists, and other similar subjects.
Here are some of the steps you should take so you can choose the best online math course.
- Know More About Online Math Courses
One of the first things you should do to choose the best online math course is to know more about the various math courses currently being offered. There are numerous online math courses currently being offered by online schools and cloud-based learning providers. Each online math course has its own distinct combination of advantages and disadvantages.
You shouldn’t just pick or choose an excellent online math course per se, though that by itself should be a significant consideration. There are many other things that you should consider before deciding on an online math course. For one, you should choose an online math course attuned to your learning goals and objectives.
Furthermore, choose an online math course that matches your specific requirements. This includes the quality and intensiveness of the content or resources. Additionally, you must consider the teaching modes, methods of instruction, and competencies of the learning facilitators.
- Know And Apply Dimensions Of Critical Evaluation
The next step is to know and understand the multiple dimensions of critical evaluation. You need to know how to apply them to evaluate the various online providers of math courses. Here are some of the multiple dimensions of critical evaluation:
- Relevance: The substantial parts of the online platform’s content and resources should be significantly relevant to the stated goals and objectives. The site or app should at least explain why contents are being included if it’s not too obvious from the appearance or substance of the contents.
- Accuracy: The second dimension is as equally important as the first dimension. Accuracy means that the data and information in the resource materials are checked for factual correctness and accuracy. They can be verified by consulting primary sources and other authoritative references in mathematics.
- Bias/Perspective: You should also consider the slant or bias of the platform’s perspective when you’re looking for a suitable online math course provider. The biases and perspectives of the content authors will have an impact on the way information they produce is shaped and explained.
- Reliability: The last dimension you should consider is whether the author of the content and resources are reliable. Reliability is significant because once you say they’re reliable, you’ll start accepting the accuracy of their content materials and resources and even their methods of instruction.
Keep in mind that there’s a distinction between the dimensions of accuracy and perspective and reliability. Accuracy refers to the factual content of the materials and resources. Perspective considers the biases of the author/content creator, which could have affected the objectivity and factual correctness of the content materials. On the other hand, reliability has to do more with external factors such as how other people and institutions view the work of the author, creator, or publisher.
- Relevance To Practical Application
Another thing you should consider when selecting an online math course is its relevance to practical applications. Math is a highly useful subject even as a purely academic discipline or pursuit. But if your reason for wanting to learn is to enhance your professional competencies and skills, then you should look for an online course that would have relevance to practical applications.
An example is if you’re planning a career shift from a generalist job role or function to one of the emerging specialization opportunities in data science and analytics. If this is the case, perhaps you won’t have much use for an online course with extensive discussions on the conceptual foundations and fundamentals of statistics and statistical computation.
Perhaps you would find it more useful to enroll in an online course that provides you with broad strokes on the rudiments of the statistical underpinnings of the data sciences. But the bulk of the course sessions and materials should be focused on imparting knowledge and know-how among its learners that would enable them to deploy their math competencies and skills in solving practical data science problems in business environments.
- Instruction Methods And Approaches
The next thing that you should consider when looking for an excellent online math course provider is the instruction methods and approaches that they use. Keep in mind that the methods of instruction and learning approaches are often crucial factors that greatly contribute to the learning process.
You should choose a learning platform that teaches an online math course in a way that would enhance your learning aptitude and capabilities. For instance, if you’re more of a visual or auditory learner, they should have instruction methods and learning approaches that can be tailored to the approach most suitable for you.
You can get this information by asking the online platform if they have any online articles or downloadable brochures about their instruction methods and learning approaches. If you find the information in these references and materials inadequate, you can contact their customer service teams, and most of them would be glad to answer your queries. The key here is that you shouldn’t make it too obvious to them that you’re trying to know more about their instruction methods because you’re evaluating them.
- External Reviews
Another thing you should consider when you’re looking for a prospective online math course is the reputation of the online learning provider and the author or producer of their content materials and learning resources. This is vital because the online school or platform you’re going to choose plays a pivotal role since they’re the ones who will facilitate the learning process.
It’s also important to look into who wrote and produced the content materials and other learning resources. Mathematics relies heavily on the accuracy and exactness of the contents in the materials used to teach the subject matter. If the answers or the solutions in the learning resources and content materials are inaccurate or patently wrong, then those who use them would be learning the incorrect solutions and comparing their answers with incorrect references.
You can search for online reviews and blogs which evaluate various online math schools and learning platforms. They sometimes use different parameters to compare. Therefore, the comparisons are sometimes not that straightforward. But they can be a good baseline to start your own evaluation, just to get a sense of the advantages and disadvantages and the strengths and weaknesses of each online math course.
Another good source of external feedback would be the learners who took these online math courses. They had a first-hand experience of how these courses were taught and what was taught to them. If you can find online forums, social media groups, pages, or chatrooms with learners who enrolled in these courses, you can surely gain a lot of information and insights. These can help you make an informed choice on which online math course and school would be most suitable for you.
Another thing you should look into is the cost or expense of taking up a specific online math course. You’d probably even see some quality math courses offered for free. You shouldn’t dismiss them immediately as low quality just because they’re free. But you should take into account that most of these free courses are only introductory courses that would only discuss foundational topics at most. They’re highly useful, especially for learners who haven’t studied math or other quantitative sciences since they finished high school or college.
Keep in mind though, that jobs heavy on quantitative skills would often require applicants to have more than just knowledge of foundational topics and basic concepts. For example, data analysts would be expected to process data using industry software applications rather than just discuss or even make use of mathematical and statistical formulas. Given this, you should look more into whether the price or cost of a course would be worth the knowledge and skills you would gain from the course.
Learning mathematics is very useful, especially for those pursuing careers in data science and analytics. Online math courses provide these professionals with viable alternatives given their busy schedules. But they must choose which courses to take given the considerations discussed in this article.
You should know more about online math courses and the different dimensions that you have to look into to evaluate such courses. You should also look into their relevance to practical application and their various methods of instruction. And, finally, you should check out what others are saying about these courses and how much they cost.