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Which is the Best Online CIPD Provider for You?

The best online CIPD provider for you is entirely dependent on one thing: you!

Your unique circumstances, objectives, needs and budget will define which is the best online CIPD provider for you. That means that only you can really decide what is best for you.

So, how do you actually go about finding that perfect provider for your CIPD course and for helping you develop your human resources or learning and development career? One of the easiest ways is to compare how different CIPD providers perform in certain areas. Here are some of these areas, as well as how you can go about using that information to decide which online CIPD provider might be best for you.

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1) Cost

Cost is usually the biggest motivating factor when choosing a course and course provider for a lot of people. Why pay through the roof for a qualification that’s essentially the same across the board when you could find a cheaper provider, right?  Well, with online qualifications, choosing the course with the rock bottom price might seem pragmatic at the time but it can store up a whole host of problems later on.

It’s tempting to save yourself time and choose the cheapest course we can find, but it makes much more sense to approach the situation carefully, with an element of strategy and logic. After all, a CIPD qualification will be a significant investment of your time, energy and finances — you want to be getting the best experience possible from it. And that means looking a bit deeper at what you’re actually getting for your money.

Here are some key areas to examine that should inform your decision about whether you think a CIPD provider provides the right value for money:

  • Study support: what level and type of support does the provider offer? How long does it last?
  • Tutors: how experienced are the tutors delivering the course? Do they have skills and experience that match what you want to learn.

That said, by their very nature, online courses are, usually, already significantly cheaper than physical courses, so by choosing an online qualification you’ve already saved some money based on if you had just chosen the usual, classroom-based qualification!

Check out our previous blog on how to choose the best CIPD provider for you to find out what to consider. 

2) Duration

If you have a busy schedule and you’re trying to balance the demands of your life with learning, you’ll probably be wanting to find a provider that gives you a generous amount of time to complete a qualification.

Whilst the CIPD offers rough indications to providers about how long a qualification should take to complete, there are no strict rules about what timescales you should complete a qualification in — that’s decided by the provider.

The duration of a course varies from provider to provider and from qualification to qualification, depending on the level of resources that they are able to sink into the course. Most learners look for providers that offer longer time periods that they can complete a qualification within, allowing them flexibility and a bit of breathing space when it comes to juggling prior commitments.

Of course, a long qualification duration can be a double-edge sword though — you might want to complete the qualification as fast as you can, in which case finding a provider who offers a shorter, but more intensely-delivered, CIPD qualification might be the best option for you.

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3) Format

The format in which an online course is delivered will also significantly affect whether or not you feel a provider is right for you and your needs.

Studying is a very subjective experience because we all learn and process information in different ways. We also all have different commitments pulling at our time and energy, whether that’s full-time or part-time jobs, family commitments or hobbies. All of these things can influence whether the format that a provider offers is right for you.

Basically, learning is complex and we need to go with what works for us as students — whether that’s our specific learning style, or a particular need that we have with our study.

The format of the course that you choose can influence how successful your study is. Whilst you won’t be able to decide every aspect of how your course is delivered, you can find a provider who delivers it in a way that supports your needs and preferred learning styles.

Surprisingly, CIPD providers offer quite a few different formats for online study which naturally affects whether or not they might be a fit for you. They include formats like:

Self-guided online study

Most tutorials are pre-recorded and course materials are readily accessed whenever you want from an online portal. You work through the course at your own pace.

Live online study

Most tutorials are delivered live, and you log in at a pre-arranged time to take the course. Some materials and resources might be available online for you to work through in your own time.

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4) Testimonials

You can find out most of the technical information that you’ll need to compare providers on their website: things like detailed information about the qualification, like it’s cost, how long they take to complete, and what student support is available.

For more detailed information about what it’s actually like studying somewhere, you need to drill down into feedback from previous students who’ve chosen that provider. Testimonials are a great way of doing that.

Testimonials are essential reviews, written by students. They’re short case studies that describe a student’s experience of studying with a provider. Most providers will carry some kind of testimonial on their website and there will be a range of third-party review sites, like Trustpilot, that carry reviews of a provider’s service too.

Doing some research into testimonials for your possible CIPD providers can help you find one that shares your values and gives you the best value for money!

5) Modules

You’ll find that your CIPD qualification is made up of modules — units of study based around a particular subject. Some of these modules will be compulsory and you’ll have to take them to pass the qualification. Others will be elective, meaning that you get to choose which module you want to study, based on your own interests and passions.

Unfortunately, because of the nature of teaching, it’s sometimes physically impossible for learning providers to offer the full range of elective modules for you to study. That’s because their resources and, the expertise of their tutors, only goes so far. Usually, if a learning provider doesn’t have a tutor that’s skilled in that particular unit, they won’t offer it. Sometimes, they also might not offer a particular unit if it doesn’t match with their particular interests as a provider either.

All of this means that if you’re looking to study a particular set of elective modules in the qualification that you’re studying, it makes sense to check that your provider actually offers it beforehand. Doing so before you enrol can make sure that you’re choosing the best online CIPD provider for your needs.

You can check out the elective modules in a qualification by reading the qualification specification (basically, the technical information about a qualification) on the CIPD website.

Choosing the right online CIPD provider for your needs doesn’t have to be as overwhelming as it might seem. Just examine how your chosen providers compare for each of the five points listed above — cost, duration, format, testimonials, and modules — and how they meet your own needs and requirements.


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