Online teaching is trending right now, but only a small part of courses is of real value. How to create your online course from scratch? How to make it useful, popular, and interesting?
Learning in an online course is built in such a way that you plan a training program and combine several interaction formats to improve engagement – text, video, images, tests, gamification, open-ended questions, and other interactive elements. In addition, you must give check-ins and provide personalized feedback.
This guide will tell you how to organize quality online training and monetize your knowledge.
We assume that you are already an expert in a certain field and have chosen a topic for future online teaching.
What result should a student get after your course? Will it gain new knowledge, master skills, or will you bring it to a certain result? The answers to these questions help to form the goals and objectives of your course.
The correct definition of the concept is necessary to set the right learning tools: today an e-course is not only a slideshow in PowerPoint but also drag-and-drop simulators, interactive tasks, games, tests, and much more.
At this point, the target audience will also become clear.
2. Course structure
It is necessary to build a route that will lead the student step by step from the starting point to the learning goal. To do this, it is necessary to write a scenario – a technical task with a detailed description of a future course: its sections (modules, blocks), situations for each lesson and slide, the content of tests, videos, etc.
An initial content plan might look like this:
- Brief description of the course, its objectives, and requirements.
- Presentation by the author, including the reasons that make him authoritative on the topic.
- Several chapters of the course with videos on different topics.
- Additional documentation, worksheets for each chapter with homework.
- Quiz, game, or summary after each information block.
- Conclusion with the final test.
When compiling the content of the course, pay attention to the duration of each lesson and the entire course. The duration of text lessons should not exceed 5-7 A4 pages, and videos should not exceed 10 minutes.
3. Content making
Video content is at the center of any modern online course today. Texts, diagrams, quizzes, polls, worksheets, and other additional elements are also used.
Here are some recommendations:
- Text. It should be understandable to everyone, express yourself simply, try to explain terms in your own words, and provide an example of use from your field. Be sure to simplify the visual perception of the text. Break text into blocks, highlight subheadings, use lists. Mark important notes with a separate color or background.
- Videos and images. Use images (can be your photos, stock photos, or screenshots) to complement the texts, to illustrate the described elements and examples, to show graphs. Record video in parts to make it easier to re-record a bad segment. Use a video recording and editing software like Movavi video editor to connect all the parts and add visual and sound effects.
- Screencasting. It allows you to record the screen of your computer and show how to work in the needed program or on the website. It is especially useful if you teach technical lessons (a course in photography, video editing, etc.).
- Tests. Most educational platforms use quizzes, conduct surveys, or host themed games. You can also use them to keep students motivated during the learning process.
To help students learn the topic better you can recommend them additional materials: books, webinars, or checklists. For long video tutorials and webinars, write short text notes with key ideas from the video.
4. Course design
A successfully completed online course is a beautiful and neat design. And is not necessary to be a professional designer today – you can use ready-made templates on modern online platforms.
When creating a course design, the following components are important: composition on a slide, font, alignment, free space, color, and a consistent style. The appearance of the course, the convenience of learning, and the perception of the material by students will depend on this.
5. Pricing strategy
Apart from the desire to share knowledge and help people develop, the second main goal of your work on an online course is to make money from it, right?
There are three main ways to make money online with courses:
- Subscription. Monthly or annual payments from the audience. Great if you’re willing to create new content on a regular basis. Provides a regular income, but requires constant support.
- Price per video. Each chapter of the video course is sold separately through one-time customer payments. Allows you to earn more money, but forces students to pay every time they want to move on to the next chapter.
- Full course cost. The most popular format, as it offers a reasonable ratio of price and a full-fledged product. In addition, money is paid upfront and this does not require constant maintenance of content, as with a subscription.
To sell your online course correctly it is worth looking at similar products of competitors and understanding how best to proceed: whether to choose a higher price (if your course offers more value) or a lower price (if you are trying to undermine the competition).
6. Сourse hosting platforms
There are three types of platforms available to launch your online course and reach your audience:
- Learning Management System (LMS) is a platform or software application designed to integrate learning tools, as well as administration, management, distribution, analytics, and reporting. Simply put, for a subscription, you use offered tools to create and promote your course.
- Plugins (or third-party software) on your site. They enhance the functionality of the website and provide tools similar to the LMS. The difference is that here you configure and maintain everything yourself. Finding a free website for your course is easy.
- Trading platforms (Udemy, Teachable, Thinkific, etc.). Give minimum control over design, but offer a built-in audience. You have an account and access to course management. This way is also more competitive as users rate you and people can see similar courses next to yours.
When the course is launched, be sure to organize regular communication with students. This can be a general chat in a messenger, an email newsletter, an SMS newsletter with reminders about lessons and webinars, regular polls on the platform to collect feedback. Use a planner if you need it.
7. Promotion and sale
If your topic is in demand, but no one knows about your course yet and you need to promote your course, some marketing tools will help you.
- E-mails. Provide an opportunity to explain the content of the course and sell the entire course to those who cannot make a decision right away.
- Coupons and discounts. Since you’ve already done all the work of creating a course, you don’t need to consider other overheads. Therefore, offering a discount is much easier than it would be for an online store.
- Free coaching calls. You can offer people a free consultation or a one-on-one call to highlight the benefits of the course and encourage people to learn more. Another way is a free webinar.
- Online advertising (Google Ads, Facebook, Instagram, etc.). You create an ad, pay some money, and watch people click through and sign up for your online course. And you can stop the campaign at any time, adjust the design or budget, etc.
- SMM. In addition to advertising on social networks, you can also create your own pages, communities, and increase the number of subscribers. The advantage is that it is free.
- Affiliate program. Encourages your current subscribers to recommend your course to other people in exchange for a reward (usually discount). Some platforms offer features to create your own affiliate program. There are also third-party software and WordPress plugins for websites.
Growing your online course subscribers allows you to build a brand image and continue to attract new students.
In all creative endeavors, it takes some practice to get it right. If you don’t succeed right away, don’t be discouraged and use your mistakes as an opportunity to learn. Creating an online course takes some time and testing, so don’t give up and keep moving forward. Good luck!