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9 Questions to Ask Before Signing Up For Any Educational Program

Do you think taking a new class will help you move forward? Here are some things to ask before signing up for a course.

Kara Large

Do you feel like you just can’t get ahead at work, no matter what you do? Or maybe you’ve sent out resume after resume with no job offer in sight. If you’re feeling stuck in your career, there are tools available to help you make a change. Once you recognize there is a situation in your life you aren’t happy with, you are one step closer to being able to resolve it and live a more fulfilling life. 

As you search for solutions, you’ll likely come across many courses, workshops, or seminars all claiming to be the perfect fix to your problem. While it might be tempting to immediately sign up, it is important to know what you’re getting yourself into.

After spending over 30 years developing a program to help people live more enriching lives, we understand the value that a class can add to your life. You can double your salary, skyrocket your career with a promotion, and even realize you can have fun at work. 

However, it is important to know what you are signing up for. This is why we’ve compiled a list of questions you should ask before signing up for any kind of training or education. Asking these questions about the program before you join can help prevent you from wasting your time and money. The more you know about what you’re signing up for upfront, the less likely you are to be disappointed down the road. 

1. Is There an ​​Ongoing Method for Learning?

We learn best when we are given opportunities to practice. 

One of the most important factors to determine your success in any educational program is having ongoing opportunities for you to practice what you learn. A musician doesn’t master their instrument by sitting down and playing for four hours straight. It takes a little bit of practice every day to become an expert. 

This is true for anything you learn. 

While you don’t want to be baited into signing up for more and more classes, it is important that you have opportunities to continue to learn and grow. This is especially relevant if the class you are taking meets only over a short period of time (like a weekend seminar). In a class like this, you’ll have a lot of information thrown at you at once. 

It might feel exciting and revelatory in the moment. But if you don’t have a chance to try out what you learned and get some personal experience, all of that knowledge might start to fade away. 

However, if there is an ongoing method for learning and practicing, you will experience more sustainable results.

For example, when you complete our Macklin Method Workshop, you’re invited to join our space called “The Arena” for free for two months. The Arena allows you to continue to experiment with what you learned in the workshop. This platform also gives you the opportunity to receive feedback and bounce ideas off of others.

2. Could You Eventually Become a Teacher or Leader?

If you really want to learn something, you need to teach it. 

Nothing brings you knowledge faster than trying to figure out how to convey that information to other people.  When you are evaluating the course you’re interested in, see if the program offers you the opportunity to become a teacher or leader. 

This will help you begin to master the subject as you work through teaching it to others.

3. Is it Academic or Pragmatic? 

If you want to make lasting improvements to yourself, you will need a way to correlate what you are learning in the program to your life outside the class. 

Before signing up for a course, it is essential to find out if it will be applicable to your life. If a class is academic in nature, it will teach you the theory behind something, without giving you any practical solutions or exercises for your daily life. A more pragmatic approach will offer you the opportunity to apply what you learn to your life. 

This is where growth happens. 

4. Who is Teaching or Leading the Program?

It is important that you feel confident that the person teaching the course you sign up for has actual experience with what they are teaching. 

It is important to understand your potential teacher’s background and their teaching style. How did they become a teacher of this course? What has been their journey with the subject you want to learn? You’ll also want to evaluate if the teacher or leader is someone you feel you can approach and ask questions. Do they provide opportunities to connect? 

It won’t be helpful to you if you cannot access your teacher throughout the course.

5. Is the Program Whole?

Can you go through the program and get what you need out of it? 

Many courses are designed to keep you coming back for more. While there is nothing wrong with continuing to advance yourself, you also don’t want to fall into a trap where you’re baited by one class that just sets you up to sign up for eight more. 

You’ll want to make sure that the class you are taking is actually going to help you with whatever problem you want to solve - without getting you to continue spending money on more courses or books. 

Before signing up, make sure the program is designed so that you can go through it once to get what you need, without ever having to take it again. 

6. What are the Reviews and Testimonials?

When you are trying to determine if a course is right for you, it is worthwhile to consider the experience other participants have had with the program. 

Reviews and testimonials are a great way to get a snapshot of what the class might be like and if it could be helpful to you. However, keep in mind that not every review and testimonial is valid. It is important to look at a program’s reviews on a case-by-case basis. For example, if all the reviews are 5 stars, especially if the company is new, there might have been some incentive offered for perfect feedback. This could invalidate some of the exemplary claims about the course. In the same vein, not every negative review is indicative of the program’s value. 

Look at the reviews and testimonials as a whole and make your best judgment. If there is anything you feel you need clarity on, speak to someone from the company directly to get clarity.  

7. How is the Program Relevant to You?

Will the program actually impact your life? 

If you are looking for help from any kind of educational offering, it can be easy to get into a cycle of signing up for classes, thinking the next one will be the thing that actually fixes your problem. But if you can’t relate the course to your life, is it actually beneficial to you? 

When evaluating if a program is worth signing up for, make sure you can see yourself at the end. What does your transformation look like? How will you move differently in the world? If you can clearly envision a positive outcome for your life, the class is likely going to be relevant for the change you want to make in your life. 

If you are confused about how the program fits into your overall goal, you might want to reconsider it.

8. What are the Time Requirements?

How many hours does it take each week for participation and prep work? 

When you look into how much time you need to put into the course, does it make sense with your current schedule? Or will you need to make some adjustments to make sure you can fit everything in? Be sure to get a clear idea of how much time you will actually need to spend on the class. 

It can be stressful down the line if the time requirements are more than you initially thought and you end up struggling to fit it into your schedule.

9. How Much Does it Cost?

One of the first things you’ll likely look at before signing up for anything is the financial cost. 

When evaluating the cost of a program, it’s important to know if there is a monthly fee, and, if so, what the total expense will be. Make sure all charges are discussed upfront and that there are no hidden fees. 

It is also important to note if the course offers any kind of refund options and what the terms entail for getting your money back. 

Should You Sign Up for an Educational Program?

When you feel stuck, it might seem like making any attempt to change your circumstance will be better than staying where you are. 

But there is nothing more frustrating than putting all your hope (and money) into a program that might not actually help you at all. If you research the course you’re considering and ask the right questions, you can better understand if the offer is going to be right for you. 

We hope whatever you decide to do to get “unstuck” will be transformative for your life. 

If you need more resources to help you evaluate what kind of training might be best for you, check out these articles:

What is the Cost of Leadership Training?

5 Benefits of Leadership Training

5 Problems with Leadership Training

If you are interested in what we offer, here are some Frequently Asked Questions to help you get to know us better. If you think we might be a good fit or have any questions, schedule a discovery call with us to learn more about how we can help.