One of the most convenient ways of learning trading is via online trading courses. As a method of trading instruction, online courses are similar to trading books, in that they have some advantages but also some disadvantages. Note that when I refer to online trading courses, I am referring to automated instruction (i.e. a software based course), rather than live instruction that is provided online (i.e. live instruction via video conferencing).
Advantages of Online Trading Courses
Online trading courses are very convenient (especially compared to trading seminars). Online courses are available at any time, and can be completed at any pace, so they are suitable for students with time constraints.
Online trading courses are flexible in that they can cover as little or as much information as necessary, and are potentially available for any aspect of trading. For example, there are trading courses for different types of markets (e.g. options trading, futures trading, etc.), and for different trading styles (e.g. scalping, swing trading, etc.).
An advantage that online courses have over trading books, is that they can be interactive. For example, a well designed online trading course could test the student and provide more or less information depending upon the results.
Online trading courses are in the middle as far as pricing is concerned, as they usually cost more than the equivalent trading books (i.e. books covering the same topics), but a lot less than an equivalent trading seminar (i.e. a seminar covering the same topics).
Disadvantages of Online Trading Courses
One of the disadvantages of learning trading from online trading courses is that the quality of online courses varies dramatically. For example, while some online courses are highly interactive, and adjust their instruction (somewhat) to the student, other online courses are simply trading books in an online form, and are therefore not really instruction at all.
If trading instruction was to be divided into two categories, the division would be whether a professional trader was available as a live instructor. Trading books and online courses are obviously on one side, while seminars and individual instruction are on the other. Even an online course that was designed by a professional trader is still not direct instruction from the professional trader, and therefore online courses are always going to be missing some aspects of trading.
How To Use Online Trading Courses
Online trading courses definitely have a valuable role to play in trading instruction, but as with trading books, that role is as a supplementary source of information, rather than the primary source of instruction. For example, experienced traders that want to learn about a new topic (e.g. a new type of market) can use online courses with great success, because they already have the experience necessary to correctly assimilate the information. New traders can also benefit from online trading courses, but I recommend that they use them under the supervision of another form of instruction (such as live instruction that uses an online course as its teaching material).