Keeping up with tech trends: Online classes we love

9 min read
Leeha Debnam

It’s inevitable that technology developments will keep business owners on their toes. That’s why online classes have become such a necessity. An online class is a great opportunity to:

  • Try your hand at something new
  • Expand your skill set
  • Become more attractive to future employers
  • Run your small business or side hustle more efficiently

Whatever your learning needs may be, there’s an online course waiting for you. Keep reading to learn about all the different choices and where to find them.

The top 9 online small business tech classes we love

Alright, let’s dive into a few online paid and free classes that will help you stay in the loop when it comes to small business tech trends.

1. SEO (search engine optimisation) training by Moz

Provider: Udemy

Available: Online, on-demand

Cost: Free

Who better to learn SEO tips and tricks from than a leading SEO software provider, Moz?

This course is quite in-depth for a freebie and covers:

It’s everything you need to know to make your website pull in the people most likely to buy from you.

Related: What is SEO? 

2. Google Ads tutorial for beginners

Provider: Coursera

Available: Online

Cost: Free

While we’re on the subject of search engines, let’s talk about Google Ads. This advertising program has been around for almost 20 years and involves bidding on keywords so that your business’s clickable ads appear on Google’s search engine results page.

Desk with laptop, monitor and notepad

The course is only two hours long and comes with a guided tutorial to help you out. You’ll learn everything from:

  • How to set up your Google Ads account
  • Setting up your first campaign
  • How to do effective keyword research

Google ads can be a beast to navigate and understand on your own -- especially if you know nothing about how it all works.

In the world of online classes, you can learn for free.

Make sure to check it out and take advantage of everything it has to offer!

3. Marketing automation and email marketing course

Provider: The University of Sydney

Available: Online via Zoom

Cost: $496

Automation is a real buzz word in business. And, if you’re wanting to keep up with the latest workplace tech trends, an online course in marketing automation and email marketing is a great start. According to Marketing Land, the benefits of marketing automation include:

  • Increased marketing efficiency
  • An enhanced ability to generate more high-quality leads

This course is a full-day Zoom session. There are seven modules covering topics like:

  • Marketing automation design
  • The five cornerstones of successful marketing automation
  • Creating an email marketing plan
  • Segmentation and lead scoring

Related: Find more customers with these 5 marketing strategies

4. Cloud-based accounting courses

Provider: Various

Available: Online

Cost: $49.99 - $395 

Still using Excel for your invoicing and accounting? Manually balancing your books? Cloud accounting is not a new trend, but it is one that some older businesses haven’t yet embraced.

The benefit is simple — access your encrypted business bank accounts from any computer, tablet or mobile anytime.

Most integrate with your bank, which makes reconciliation a breeze. Below are three online classes you can take to learn more about cloud-based accounting:

Each one offers different features and payment plans, but all will help you speed up your operational processes.

5. Diploma of social media marketing

Provider: Upskilled

Available: Online

Cost: $4,420 (if paid upfront), weekly payment options available, may be eligible for Government Funding.

When it comes to reaching your ideal market, there’s no doubt that business owners need to take advantage of this growing trend.

In January 2021, almost 80% of Australians were active social media users, compared to just 58% in 2015.

With this comprehensive and highly practical paid course you’ll learn all aspects of social media marketing and gain a nationally recognised qualification.

Related: 10 social media trends to watch in 2021

6. Artificial intelligence in marketing

Provider: RMIT Online

Available: Online

Cost: $1,200

Years ago, artificial intelligence (AI) seemed to be something way off in the future. In reality, it’s right here and has been for quite some time.

In marketing, AI uses technology to improve the customer journey and boost the returns on marketing campaigns. It’s also a huge time saver.

This six week course uses real-world business examples to give you an understanding of how to:

  • Automatically optimise marketing campaigns
  • Determine if a chatbot is right for your business
  • Get the most out of your marketing funnel

Look into this course if you’re ready to advance your online business with more technical AI marketing technology.

7. HR information systems and services

Provider: Accredited Online Training

Available: Online

Cost: $580

A quality HR system that enables smooth processing has never been more important. Whether employees are in the office or working remotely, this online class can help you pick the right HR system for you.

It’s a nationally-recognised program that offers training on how to research and plan for a human resource management information system (HRMIS). It’ll even help you select and implement the appropriate system.

8. User experience (UX) fundamentals

Provider: Udemy

Available: Online

Cost: Free

Your customer's experience should be as seamless and enjoyable as possible. This includes any instances where customers are:

  • Moving around your website
  • Using your app
  • Interacting with your product

In this free course you’ll learn the fundamentals of UX design and processing, including:

  • A better understanding of what UX is
  • UX design benefits
  • The obstacles to great UX design and how to overcome them

When a customer has a great UX experience, it’s great for business! You can attract new users and create a sense of loyalty from existing customers.

9. Diploma of information technology (cloud engineering)

Provider: Upskilled

Available: Online

Cost: $4,680 if paid upfront, weekly payments available, may be eligible for Government Funding.

It has been estimated that smaller businesses are more likely to be targeted by malicious software and hackers than large-scale businesses. As the world evolves into this new age of digital and remote working, now is a good time to wrap your head around cyber security and all that it entails.

Over the course of 20 units, you’ll be trained in areas such as:

  • Designing and implementing security systems
  • Managing network security
  • Interpreting threat data

Because of its advanced technical aspect, this isn’t a course for the faint-hearted. But if you’re into technology and looking for a formal qualification, this is your online class.

Types of online classes

Online classes vary in topic, quality, length, price and the result (what you walk away with). Let’s explore some now.

Massive open online courses (MOOCs)

By the end of 2020, more than 180 million learners had signed up for at least one massive online open course (MOOC). These classes are readily available online through multiple providers and will pretty much cover any topic you’re looking for.

Many MOOCs are 100% free.

In Australia, you can explore online classes with MOOC providers like:

MOOCS are a convenient way to learn given that they’re accessible from anywhere, anytime. Simply choose your course and work it around your schedule.

Online training providers

The line is blurry when it comes to distinguishing between MOOC providers and others offering online classes. In fact, many training providers have also dipped their toe into the MOOC education pool.

For example, you can find a mixture of online classes and learning opportunities through training providers like:

Most of the above options tap into the resources of universities both in Australia and overseas. You can choose from short online courses, professional accreditations and full online degrees.

Local universities, TAFEs and trade groups

If you’re looking for a combination of online classes and face-to-face learning, consider exploring options provided by universities or a technical and further education (TAFE) institution in your state.

You could even look into professional trade groups like your local Chamber of Commerce.  And, if you’re considering an online TAFE course, be sure to check if you’re eligible for subsidised training.

Woman sitting on bed working on a laptop

Deciding between paid or online classes depends on your end-game. Some people are willing to pay more for more classes that offer more features, while others only need basic concepts at a minimal price.

Below, we’ll discuss the difference between each one, so you can determine which one is right for you.

Paid online classes generally offer more bang for buck. You’ll have access to:

  • Advanced topics
  • A higher standard of course material
  • More one-on-one access to your educators

If you’re keen to boost your credibility in a particular field, a paid course is the way to go.

Free online classes

Now, that’s not to say that you can’t gain great skills and knowledge from qualified and highly- experienced educators through free courses.

Credible companies like Google and Moz offer plenty of quality learning materials you can benefit from.

Plus, many of the free courses offer more flexibility when it comes to learning at your pace. The only downsides are:

  • You won’t receive qualifications (without a fee)
  • Your upskilling will be more generalised or provide a basic understanding

Both options will help you level-up your skill set. But again, you’ll need to determine which one fits your needs better.

Which online class will you choose?

Marquee sign reading “you got this” on desk

Keeping on top of the latest tech trends for your workplace or business doesn’t have to be hard. Whatever your interest or business need is, you’ll find free or paid online classes to give you the knowledge and skills you need.

From AI to UX, Google Ads to social media marketing, CRMs to HRIMs – there’s an online class out there.

All you need to decide is whether you’re happy learning something new, or if you’d like to dig deeper and hang that formal qualification or industry certification on your wall (or website).