Many people today are choosing to learn basic skills online for the flexibility they offer. Instead of incurring major costs in travel and accommodation to obtain high-quality knowledge and skills, students now want to log onto their portals via their laptops and tablets from the comfort of their homes. If you are an institution or teacher that can leverage this trend to your advantage, you will join the rank of thousands in the now $165 billion industry. However, joining this industry will prove to be a tasking feat, and to be successful, you need to know the right steps to take to craft the perfect online course. Below is a list of reliable steps that you can follow to start an effective online course, and get a high ROI from the start:
Pick a topic
The perfect course topic is one that you identify with, are good at, and something you enjoy. Today’s online audience is more conscious than ever, and will quickly identify a fraud who barely know what they are doing, or someone who is forcing themselves to identify or even like a topic. To make your classes engaging, you will need to exhibit enthusiasm, a deep knowledge as well as a liking for what you are teaching. People are looking online to learn about anything; how to train a cat or dog, how to make a sandwich, how to overcome grief. If you love something or have experienced it, you are uniquely qualified to offer instruction to others on how to do or go through it.
Determine your course demand
You do not want to start an online course then have no one subscribes to it. Ironically, if your course idea has no competition, it may be because people do not want to learn it. If an area has competition, your idea has potential; all you need to do is find what your competitors are missing. Some questions you can use to determine the feasibility of your test include:
- Are people talking about it?
- Is there a significant gap in what the competition is offering?
- Can you bridge the gap?
- Would you sign up for your course?
If your course has the right answers to this question, then you know that you are on the right path. With some research, you can also tailor a non-starter idea to become feasible.
Give potential clients a good reason to sign up
No one wants to dedicate their funds for just about anything. Craft powerful outcomes from the learning process that will not only give students reason to sign up for your course, but also to keep up with classes, assignments, and all the other relatively difficult parts in the learning process. Show your learning outcomes with clear statements; what will they be able to demonstrate, what knowledge they will accrue, and how this course will benefit their careers. Having clear outcomes will ensure more of the right students; people willing to go through your program to the end and who will less likely request refunds.
Gather your course content
Many people get stuck in this case because of the massive volume of information they have in their minds, books, hard drives, and other sources. Coming up with a helpful course outline is often difficult because you cannot decide what to leave out from the wealth of information and expertise. However, the research carried out, plus learning outcomes, should make this process less tasking. Ensure that your final course outline has questions that answer the market demand, is not common among competitors, and makes your course unique.
Determine the best delivery methods
Teaching online eliminates all the positive aspects of a class interaction; you can no longer tell when your students are getting lost or when their attention is waning. The lack of physical contact makes making online courses engaging a complex task. However, with the right methodology, you just might overcome this barrier. Choose quality video and audio content that will clearly illustrate your concepts, ideas, and makes learning enjoyable. Also, make quality reading material available to your students. This way, your students will have access to materials to follow as delivery proceeds.
Film your course
This should be the most exciting part for you. The production phase will finally give you an idea of what your clients will be subscribing to. Your training option will depend highly on what you are teaching. You can have some animations behind you, a green screen for later editing, or a still image. You can also screencast, where you use your laptop webcam to record your lessons. You should also identify some editing software that you can use to edit your video background, add pop-ups or logos, then save them in mp4 format for future upload.
Get your online space
There are three places for you to set up the website on which you will sell your course:
- Learning management systems
- Online course marketplaces
- SaaS platforms
A learning management system will be your own academy on which you will link your website and promote it as your platform. These are incredibly effective and convenient for setting up an online class. SaaS e-commerce platforms like Shopify are an excellent option if you want to build an online course website and receive payments via the same site.
Price your course
To determine the best cost for your clients, you must determine where it fits in your overall business strategy. Will it be your sole source of income or a lead into your main product or service? This question will help you determine the volume of value, and hence the effort and cost to place. As a beginner, the best reference point for your price is the market trends. Do not deviate too high or low; otherwise, your clients will deem your product as rather expensive or as substandard.
Market your course
Marketing is the final step on the list, mostly because marketing is a continuous process. To keep clients coming in, you have to leverage all forms of online marketing (social media, email marketing, early-bird discounts, influencers) to remind and persuade your audience to sign up.
The steps above are by no means exhaustive and are not cast in stone. However, they will give you a general idea of what you need to know to create a successful online course before you start pooling resources and effort.
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