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When Should You Just Quit Taking a Course?

I am sitting here, watching and listening to the free Coursera class, Enhance Your Career and Employability Skills. I really want to like this class, and this is the fourth time I’ve tried to make it through week 1. It’s not been easy. I am not sure I am going to even finish all of the videos in Week 1, to be honest.

And so I’m asking myself, what it is about this class that is making it so hard for me to get into it? And should I quit?

Sometimes, a course is just not presented in a style that engages me. It may be a difficult thing to put my finger on, but this class seems to have four things about it that are possibly getting in the way of me being able to complete the class:

  1. Long videos mostly focused on the professor talking, not leveraging the video format effectively
  2. The audio is presented in a plain style without variety
  3. Assignments that occur in the middle of videos, removing the ability to listen to the video without needing to be actively involved.
  4. Assignments are based on self-reflection, not something that can be objectively graded

I’m not criticizing this course. If anything, I’m criticizing myself, and my inability to keep attention on something that could benefit me. I’ll do a proper review of the course if I manage to get through more of it.

But it’s a fair question: should I give up? Should I quit? Is it time to admit that this course doesn’t fit my style instead of investing more time and energy trying to make something work that isn’t?

I’m considering it. I probably want to give it one more week. Perhaps this is just a tough module for me, and the “future looking” ones fit me better. I’ll give it one more week, and then make that choice.

So the answer to the question, when should you quit, is:

  • when the style of the course presentation doesn’t match with your learning
  • when the topic turns out to be different than what you expected
  • the course turns out to be much easier or harder than you were expecting
  • when you’re not learning anything
  • when you’re not having any fun

Those are not hard and fast rules, but just general guidelines for when to throw in the towel. If any of those ring true, it’s time to consider it. If they all do, then what are you waiting for? Move on!


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