I have no doubt that the information you need can be found on the internet for free. It's a matter of you knowing what you need to learn and going and finding it. You won't find the best articles on every photographic subject on one site, nor will you find it in any course. If you take the time to look around you can find the information from a number of sites with experts in different topics of interest. If Cambridge in Colour is too technical for you, you can try Scott Kelby. If his jokes put you off, you can try someone else until you find a style that suits you.
A paid course has one main advantage and that is that once you pay for it, you'll have everything in front of you, and you'll hopefully be motivated to work through it.
A few things to consider:
I have looked at course materials for a number of paid courses. I found them to be fairly poor quality overall - from a few pages to maybe 20 pages on a topic - nothing you couldn't get from reading free materials online, and far less that you'd get from a good book on photography. That isn't to say there aren't worthwhile courses out there, but you should definitely ask for some sample materials before enrolling.
What kind of learner are you?
Some people can learn by reading, others do better watching video, and others need hands-on practice. A lot of online courses seem to be geared towards reading a module (online or a PDF). If that suits you, fine. But that same information can be found in numerous websites for free. You just have to be self-motivating to go out and find it, and I guess to some degree you have to know what it is you don't know, so you know what to look up!
Besides free video on Youtube, Lynda.com and Kelbytraining.com offer very lengthy training videos on photography basics, Photoshop and Lightroom, and also advance topics like food or wedding photography. You can sign up for about $29/month, and watch all you like at a fraction of the cost of a paid course. The videos are high quality and usually 1-2 hours each.
Or if you want hands-on, look and see if there are any night courses or seminars in your area. Having someone who knows what they're doing show you (on your own camera) what to do, and giving you instant feedback, is invaluable.
What do you want to learn?
Many online courses seem geared towards learning to use the camera - basics like aperture, shutter speed and so on. Topics easily learned online. While that is important information to learn (and possibly exactly what you need at this point), does the course also instruct you on the artistic aspects of photography? You can read your camera manual cover to cover, and know all the settings and what they do, and still take rubbish pictures if you can't see the light or have an eye for composition. Does the course survey any well-known photographers or talk about the history of the medium? In my opinion, if it mainly just teaches you camera settings, and costs hundreds of dollars/pounds, then I think you can do better with a 2 hour session at a local camera club, camera shop, community centre, or whoever might offer shorts beginner training sessions
Does the course give you homework? I would expect they'd want you to apply what you've learned and take some pictures and submit them for feedback. If the course just consists of written materials and no interaction between you and the instructors, then it's just an expensive set of materials of unknown quality. Buy a good photography book for a fraction of the price, or surf the net or watch some videos.
One of the most important things you can learn from is critique from others. Most online courses provide a small degree of that (the one you link mentions you can submit three photos for critique). I'm doing a full diploma course part-time, and I guess I've submitted hundreds of images by now, and received feedback on all of them. This not only gives you an insight into what others think about your work, it also helps you self-critique and develop some self-confidence and style. I don't think feedback on three images is going to make a big impact. I'd want to enroll in a course where I was expected to be submitting work throughout the course.
You can get feedback from various sites and forums. There is a question here that covers many of them: Where to get community-based feedback on my photos online
So again, the questions I would ask before enrolling in any online course:
- can I view a sample lesson?
- besides written materials, what practical assignments are there?
- will I get substantial feedback on submitted images?
So unless you feel overwhelmed and want a nicely packaged set of materials to work through, I don't think there's much value in these online paid courses. There is honestly far better material in the answers on this site than in most of the course materials I've had a look at.