How To Successfully Create Your Online Course
In no other year has the importance of digital learning been more apparent than in 2020. The shift towards online education continues to grow, and online sources especially have enjoyed increasing popularity. We at EdTick understand this emerging movement and want to facilitate the development of your very own online course.
This article is our ultimate step-by-step guide on how to successfully create your own online course. From the initial idea to publishing and selling the course - we’ve got you covered.
8 Steps to successfully establish your online course
Online courses offer many advantages, like flexibility and efficiency. They allow both teachers and learners to enjoy a deeper, more enjoyable educational experience. By the end of this EdTick guide, you will be fully prepared to kickstart your very own online course in only 8 steps!
Step 1: Choose the right subject and define your purpose
The possibilities for online course subjects are endless. To narrow down your choice of subject, you should follow these three criteria:
First, it is important to choose a topic that you are passionate about. If you love what you teach, your enthusiasm will spread to your students, making for better learning outcomes.
Second, you should choose a subject with which you have expertise. If you can demonstrate your expertise from day one, students will be more confident and your educational program will be more attractive.
Third, conduct some market research to be sure there is demand for the studies you want to offer. Find out if people are talking about your chosen topic, and what they say they want from an online course on that subject. Don’t give up if you find there may be many competitors—instead, focus on the unique benefits your course will offer, and use related courses as a standard for comparison.
Ultimately, the purpose of your online course should be clear from the beginning: do you want to create an income stream by selling the module, or do you want to offer it for free, possibly as an introduction to further products that you offer? These questions will determine the capacity of the studies, as your marketing strategy. We will talk more about the pricing strategies in step 6, so stay put!
Step 2: Set realistic and appealing goals for the educational program
Once your idea is proven to be attractive for your potential students, make sure to brainstorm several learning outcomes that they will achieve by taking your study program. Bear in mind that you are creating the digital course for real human beings who want to get the highest possible value from your knowledge - setting realistic goals is crucial for keeping them motivated and satisfied. The focus should be on skills that students will obtain while taking your course. Communicate these goals clearly, so attendees know exactly what they will gain from your expertise. Dividing the goals into weekly, daily or monthly intervals can help to keep motivation up and functions as a natural framework for the course.
You may also consider getting help from a Subject-Matter-Expert (SME), a proven expert in the field of study that you will be covering. Apart from helping you organize and establish explicit learning objectives, an SME can provide you with additional knowledge and can support your course content.
Step 3: Create exciting and engaging content
Now comes the fun part: developing actual online course content! We suggest creating a content map which outlines how you will organize and sequence content, so the workload is less overwhelming. You might want to consider composing a storyboard, which can include text, images, and icons for each section and gives a clear overview of the whole course.
During this process, you also need to decide how you want to deliver the content to your learners. There are many possibilities to present information online. Whether you choose video, audio, or a screen sharing format - make sure that the style suits your target audience. Speak the language of your students, and try to create a friendly and thriving learning atmosphere, so they feel comfortable and aren’t intimidated by too many incomprehensible technical terms or tools.
In recent years, the term “Edutainment” has become more popular. This term describes the linking of education with entertainment. Making education more entertaining can help students better grasp concepts and achieve their learning outcomes. Your course content may benefit from incorporating Edutainment concepts. Ultimately, it’s up to you—it’s all about the right mix of different teaching methods. And although there is no silver bullet to the question of what method is right for you - make sure to take a look at our 5 step guide on how to deliver a top eLearning experience to create an inspiring learning environment.
Step 4: Record and polish your content
It is time to grab your camera and/or microphone and step into the spotlight! This step is all about recording the content that you designed in the previous step. Regardless of your chosen content style, make sure the video and/or audio files are high quality. A professional appearance is indispensable and will contribute to the students’ willingness to participate and continue your course. Once you have produced all the necessary content, edit the recordings and separate them into digestible portions.
If you decide to record your screen and use supporting slides, choose a clear and readable design. The main focus should be on spoken audio - do not distract students with too much text in a slide.
Also, be aware of the different devices that your students may use to access your content. Ensure that the content is user-friendly on any kind of device, whether it’s a desktop, laptop, smart phone, or otherwise. The main advantage of online courses is that they can be attended from everywhere - the user-friendliness of your content will help support this advantage.
Step 5: Find your online school
Congratulations - you are only three small steps away from publishing your very own online course! The time has come to find the perfect online school for your program of studies. You might find yourself asking where to host your online course and which online teaching platform is the best—we at EdTick have already prepared a decision guide for you. Choose between Learning Management Systems or Virtual Learning Environments. Feel free to make use of our search engine tool to find the perfect fit; or contact us, we are happy to help you run your own online course!
Step 6: Set the price of your digital course
Keeping in mind your course’s purpose as established in step 1, it is time to set the pricing model for your digital course. We recommend using your competitors’ prices as a benchmark and following a similar pricing approach. You do not want to undersell yourself, nor be too expensive for your target audience. If you choose to offer a free online course, make sure to clearly communicate the values that the course provides. That helps you avoid appearing as an unnecessary or superfluous course - and students will happily attend a course that offers the possibility to learn something valuable for free.
Step 7: Launch your online course
The most exciting part has come. After all the hard work that you put into your course, it’s time to launch! Before putting your course online, however, we recommend running a trial course with a small number of students. Their feedback allows you to make final improvements before putting the course on the market.
Once this is done (or if you decide not to test the course), it is finally time to proceed with the launch. After putting the course online, expert marketing is crucial in order to obtain students. Focus on your target group and approach them through appropriate media channels. If you decided to sell your course online, take introductory offers into consideration to make your course even more attractive. Pat yourself on the back—you’re a proper online teacher now!
Step 8: Review student performance and implement feedback
The development and improvement of your online course is an ongoing process. The bulk of the work is done, but remember: the primary goal is to provide value to your students. Their satisfaction and feedback should be your focus from now on, as it will help you constantly improve your course. Therefore, make sure you regularly assess student performance and run evaluations to see if their desired learning outcomes were achieved. This work will strengthen the foundation of your course and benefit both you and the students in the long run.
Setting up your own online course is not rocket science. With the right idea, a clear passion, and an eagerness to push through the eight mentioned steps, there is nothing holding you back. Now it is time for you to roll up your sleeves, put on your reading glasses, and get started. Your future students are already waiting for you!