This study explores the learning experiences of seven educators who participated in an authentic learning-based, fully online postgraduate certificate programme for teaching in higher education. The author concludes that the findings clearly underline the transformative value of stepping out of the comfort zone instead of accommodating for familiar and preferred ways of learning. The participants who endured through a difficult ‘climax’ in their learning journey described a powerful experience of professional growth. The author argues that the professional growth was caused by the advanced self-regulation skills that the participants demonstrated. The authors recommend on designing online learning environments that promote the development of self-regulation skills as well as strengthening the facilitation of collaborative learning.