Books Vs. Online Courses. Which is Right For You?
Reading is the best way to learn.
This statement can be true for some and false for others.
Reading is a broad discipline. You can read books, news, instructions, articles, novels, biography, and so on.
Comparing books to anything else is unfair. Reading books is the single most important thing for any writer. You can’t just say that you want to become a writer and want people to read your work without doing it yourself.
It is safe to assume that online courses are way better than books in certain but limited cases when it comes to online courses. One example is programming, and online courses are way better to teach online programming. The reason behind this is that beginners like to get the practical work done. They learn faster when applying.
This, of course, does not eliminate books are the first resource. Some people enjoy reading more than any other learning methods. At the end of the day you are comparing apples with oranges. It's not the same to read a book vs. consume an online course.
Comparing Apples to Oranges
There is one case that it is impossible to compare booth books and online courses. When it’s the only source for that particular topic. For example, there are amazing books that have no online courses. And vise versa, there are great online courses that have no published books from the same instructor.
When are Books Better?
- When you are looking for the in-depth details of a particular subject, books are better sources for more information — in most cases.
- When you are traveling, books are more convenient — especially if you read from a Kindle.
- When you like to make highlights and notes.
- Supper accessible. You can find them everywhere, Amazon, libraries, online, …etc.
- Books are cheaper in most cases.
When are Online Courses Better?
- For subjects like programming, online courses are better than books. The learner — especially beginners — will digest online practical courses more.
- Better for visual people, that learn faster when watching and hearing.
- Online courses are more structured and organized if you want to start learning a topic and have no idea where to start.
- Social community and focus groups, some online courses — the expensive ones — have online communities or Facebook groups that members can socialize, share, and learn from each other.
- Most online courses are accessible from any device, and you can consume online courses from your laptop, smartphone, or smart tv.
When are neither of them Good?
- When the topic is practical to the level that you need to apply what you learn in the real environment, I’m not referring to programming or cooking — which can be learnable from both books and courses. However, I’m referring to surfing, biking, martial arts, or even mountain climbing. Yes, you can learn something here and there from books or online courses, but the core teqniques and methods should be done with specialized instructors/trainers that take you along the process and corrects you along the way.
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Have a lovely day!