According to the World Economic Forum, the global online education market reached $255 billion in 2017. Just three years later, the profound changes in education and corporate training brought about by COVID-19 has resulted in a major increase in online learning. Out of necessity or sensing opportunity born from adversity, many organizations, subject matter experts and entrepreneurs are creating online courses. For those with more interest than experience in doing so, we provide this basic guideline.
Courses are a Product of your Business
Like any other business, selling online courses also requires work on many fronts. There are several aspects to creating an online course business. It is crucial to understand that your courses are a product of your business; they are not your entire business.
An online course is not a successful standalone business model. It is true that without creating an online course, you cannot think of creating an online course business, if that is your goal. But it is vital to understand that there are several aspects to creating a successful business, and creating online courses is one part of it. As with any project, you need a clear objective and step-by-step process to successfully achieve completion.
The first step is to define the problem and identify what outcome your audience is looking for. According to Perrie Kapernaros, staff writer for Foundr – a global media and education company – “The key to creating a successful online course is identifying exactly what outcome your audience is looking for. Do they want to create their own app? Do they want to do magic tricks? Maybe they want to learn more about Java? Before you even begin building your online course you have to first figure out what results in your students are looking for.”
Taking this step can help you refine your course topic and fine-tune it to make it more useful to your target audience. In addition, the following steps are recommended by Tyler Basu, content marketing manager of Thinkific:
- Assess the demand for the topic you have selected.
- Identify and build your audience beforehand – determining this and the previous step will allow you to gauge the potential success of your course. It will do no good if you find a particular topic fascinating, but not enough members of your target audience are interested.
The Importance of Planning Content
Good online course content should deliver a step-by-step learning experience. A successful format is the modular approach, in which the course is delivered in a series of chapter-like modules. This format is especially conducive to organizing content.
As Kapernaros writes, “The completion of a module means that your student has successfully learned a new skill or aspect of your topic. It’s important that you keep your expectations reasonable so you make sure they constantly feel like they’re succeeding.”
Other aspects of creating a successful online course include the following:
Choose an engaging course title – It helps if you make the outline of your content first, then select a course title that accurately describes the course while creating interest.
Define learning objectives clearly – It is crucial to have well-defined learning objectives in place. It is important to first determine the final outcome – what do you want your audience to learn, or what do you want them to take away from your course?
Create an outline –Think about the problems your target audience is facing and what you can do to alleviate their pain points. As Kapernaros recommends, “With your course structure, what you want to achieve is a natural progression where they go from beginner, to proficient, to expert. This is why you need to know the transformation in and out because you’re creating modules based upon the different stages your students will experience. Now break those modules down into individual lessons. These don’t have to be exhaustive lessons that go on hours at a time; in fact, we recommend the shorter the better.”
Think about your unique selling proposition (USP) – You will have competition for every topic. You need to add something extra that can make your course unique. Add a USP that can make your course stand out among your competitors so that you can attract and retain your audience.
Maximize the experience of your learners – People learn in different styles. Incorporating a variety of teaching techniques can open your course to a larger audience. For example, a logical and analytical person needs facts and figures to learn. Others are more receptive to interactive experiences, such as the following:
- Link your course to other content.
- Use polls and questionnaires.
- Host webinars.
- Create forums where your participants can interact.
- Add live chats.
- Make your course visually appealing.
Select the online course delivery method – People access online courses in different ways. While some prefer to access it at a time that’s convenient for them, others prefer to receive it via email. Find out the impact the delivery method will have on your audience before selecting the method.
Know the Difference: LCMS versus LMS
If you are in the e-learning space, you need to know the roles of a learning content management system (LCMS) and a learning management system (LMS). The key difference between an LMS and an LCMS is the target user. The LMS user is the learner, while the LCMS user is the learning content creator. While an LMS is a platform for managing people, an LCMS for e-learning is designed to manage content creation.
eServe is a leader in content management, helping businesses build stronger content distribution programs –and grow revenue – through impactful creative, content distribution and marketing programs. Our LCMS tool allows you to do the following:
- Create: Develop interactive content for a range of contexts and formats, including instructor-led, mobile and PDF.
- Integrate: Merge audio, video and text files into a single document to deliver multimedia presentations anywhere, anytime, through the cloud.
- Measure: With eServe, you can analyze the impact of your content with real-time data that shows you exactly when, where and how your content is being used.
- Propel: Take your learning delivery process to the next level by integrating content creation with your current LMS, giving you the power to create better content, faster and with greater ease.
Whether you are an entrepreneur, global enterprise or a smaller company, eServe is an LCMS for e-learning that will help you meet your goals. Contact us to learn more.