Create Online Courses - Just Start Your Race
Creating online courses requires lots of energy and time. However, success and opportunities will just enter your life if you love what you do.
Online Course Business is quite competitive, but at the same time, most on-demand industry nowadays. Therefore, in this article, we will review each aspect related to this enjoyable course creation process.
So, if you are ready, let's just start.
Why should you enter the online course race?
We will dive deep into the practical steps you need to take to succeed in the online course market. But before, let’s understand the main reasons and motivations you would have to enter this industry.
Build your brand, increase brand awareness and become Authority in your market
Online Courses can be beneficial for you in multiple ways. First of all, if you decide to become a full-time creator, this can become your primary source of income. As well, you will be able to gain global audiences’ trust and generate limitless profits.
Also, you can become a part-time creator. If you have a course with all the required materials, including course outline, objectives, and certificates, you will be able to become the authority on the subject matter. Suppose you work as a programmer in some company, imagine how easy it would be to get a better position. Maybe you will get a promotion and more bonuses if only people knew how cool you are.
So, offer online courses on programming and market those right. You will not only generate worldwide clients, profits, and positive reviews, you will also increase awareness of your brand. Companies will “fight for you,” offering better and better options so that you can work with them. It is simple logic; no one will know about you unless you let them.
Own your freedom
Being an online course creator is like Freelance; you are your boss, you own your time and freedom. Being a full-time creator is not an easy task; however, just imagine that you will be able to:
- Work from wherever you wish
- Work whenever you want
- Wake up, and take vacations whenever you need or want
- Work with people you genuinely enjoy the process
- Have more free time for yourself and your family
How can all of the above-mentioned points not sound attractive? Of course, you will have to put some effort first and invest lots of time, but it will make your future a lot easier. If you choose a prerecorded course format. With this format, you record a course and sell it multiple times to as many people as you want to.
For example, you can create a prerecorded course on "Copywriting," then publish it on your website or other platforms and just start selling it. Students will buy it, start learning whenever they want and gain their certificates at the end of the course. If they have any questions, they will contact you; to check their knowledge, you can have multiple automated quizzes and exams in the course. So, if the student gets below 70%, they do not get the final certificate. If they do the above, they learn enough material to get the certification proving a certain skill.
By the way, a random tip - do not forget to share your grading policies in the course outline. If you want students to trust you, you have to put some effort into offering high-quality material. The material should include all the rules, policies, and additional resources related to the course.
So, basically, even though it requires some time, if approached correctly, online courses will provide you with a rare opportunity to Owning Your Freedom.
The E-learning industry is on the verge of its popularity, simply put, it is currently BOOMING! And, it will only increase in popularity because it offers multiple benefits such as:
- Time flexibility: Students can learn whenever they want, in their own temp, unless it is a live training session. Online learning is self-paced, and of course, students won't have to waste extra time on transportation.
- Cost-Effectiveness: Online courses are pretty affordable, and there is no secret to hide. Due to being offered online, creators save money on the room to rent, equipment for the students, etc. So, Creators can offer high-quality courses at very affordable prices. Therefore, students prefer e-learning over traditional learning due to its cost-effectiveness. And the opportunity to gain necessary skills without investing lots of money and going into debt.
- Safety: Due to pandemics, and not only it but generally healthcare and mental reasons, many students feel safer learning online from the comfortable atmosphere of their own houses.
And those are not the only benefits; there are countless of them. I want to say that this industry will only grow and expand, so take your chance and jump onto the train. If you are committed to what you do, you will be able to offer high-quality courses and succeed in this industry.
Do what you love
When you choose to become an online coach/teacher/professor, you are gaining the chance to do what you genuinely love and enjoy. No one is going to force you to create a course about something that you hate. If you specialize in beauty, create a course on how to become more stylish or start an online training program on makeup tutorials. This industry provides you the freedom of choice to do what you love. The only crucial thing to remember is that you have to be careful about the accuracy of your information throughout the course.
In order to become an authority and win students' trust, you have to teach something that you are a true expert in. For example, a programmer could not teach content writing without first learning themselves. The same goes for any other profession.
Simply put, you can teach whatever you want and love; just make sure you are an expert in it because you should be a trustworthy coach.
Reach a Global Audience
Most of us have access to the internet. Luckily, nowadays, most of us are eager to learn and acquire new knowledge to become self-fulfilled. There is an increased tendency worldwide to enhance one's experience and skills in almost every possible area, so take your chance and enter the market now.
You will be able to reach global audiences, level up your skills, alongside provide learners with valuable insights into the specific industries and topics you teach about.
Simple steps for your successful online course
As far as we are clear on why you want to enter this market, let's identify the must-take steps to become successful.
1) Choose your specific niche
Having trouble deciding your niche in the online learning industry is quite an understandable issue. Many first-time creators, even experienced ones, face it. So, let's start from the beginning.
What is a Niche?
Niche is a segment of a larger market. So, for example, if you offer "Content Writing and Copywriting" courses, this is your target area of expertise. But, it breaks down into several niches, such as:
- Blog-post writing
- Case studies
- White papers
- Landing Pages
- Marketing Writing
- Business Writing
- Academic Writing, etc.
See, where am I going with this? Yes, absolutely correct. When you specialize in one area, there are multiple niche-specific things you can create courses about. For example, you can create a course on:
- Content Writing for beginners
- Technical Article Writing
- Business Writing & Copywriting
Why should you pick a niche?
When you know your niche, it gives you benefits such as:
- It will help you to find your target client.
- You will be able to identify your customers' needs and wants
- Therefore, you will be able to meet customers' expectations.
- Also, knowing your niche will help you optimize and develop the right marketing strategy. Develop a strategy that will be most appealing to your target audience.
How to Identify your niche?
There are several steps you need to take in order to be able to identify your niche. And major ones are presented down below.
Step 1 - What course are you going to create?
The important thing to understand is what type, of course, you want to create for your students. Without this, you won’t be able to identify your niche. Here are several types; choose the one you are planning to create on and move to the next step.
- Introductory course
- Transformation/signature course (more for lifestyle coaches)
- Certification course
- Membership course
- Employee training course
Step 2 - Who am I?
In order to identify your niche, you also will have to understand:
- Your level of expertise
- What are my passions?
- My USP (unique selling point) is what differentiates me and my courses from competitors. Basically, the reason why customers should choose your course over others.
Step 3 - Niche
After choosing what type of courses you will create and identifying who you are and your areas of expertise, it is time to pick a niche. Narrow down and choose one that most interests you and is profitable. Because let's be realistic, not everything will bring you enough income for financial freedom. The most profitable markets in which you can create multiple niche-specific courses are:
- IT, Computers, and Technology - if you choose this area, you can create niche-specific courses such as programming languages, app creation, data science, web development, game development, AI, and machine learning.
- Business & Entrepreneurship - some topics on which you can offer courses in this area are accounting, marketing, digital marketing, SMM, eCommerce, Affiliate marketing, and business administration.
- Arts - in this area, you can offer niche-specific courses such as photography, digital art, animation, painting, and game design.
- Education - an area where you can teach how to teach or offer courses such as psychology, effective communications, introduction to scriptwriting, etc
- Lifestyle - one of the most in-demand areas in the online learning industry; here, you can offer niche-specific courses such as secrets of motivation, how to be more productive, 80/20 rule in practice, meditation techniques, etc.
2) Validate your idea
The second major step in your journey to becoming the best Online Coach is to validate the course idea you have. When you validate your idea, you will have more confidence in moving forward with it. You will have a clear vision besides a few more thoughts on further course development.
How to validate your course idea?
- Searching the internet: you have access to the most fantastic thing on this planet - the internet, so use it. Search your idea on Google, Udemy, Coursera, YouTube, and other relatable platforms. This will help you to check out the competition and overall demand.
- Exploring forums: While researching, you have no idea how valuable forums can be. First of all, they will provide direct insights into the customer's needs and expectations. Secondly, you will check the overall demand for your idea and tendencies. Some forums I recommend checking out are Quora and Reddit.
- Asking Customers: One more validation method is direct interviews and surveys with potential customers. The most effective technique is finding a focus group, contacting each individual, and collecting direct feedback on the overall idea and further improvements that can be made.
- Using Lead Magnets: With this technique, you will be able to gather some real evidence about your course idea being on demand. Basically, all you need is to create free pieces of content and check out your audience's reaction to it. For example, before launching a whole course, write a "How to/tutorial" article, check how your audience reacts to it. You can even turn on paid promotion to see the reaction of potential clients and overall engagement rates.
3) Choose a teaching method
There are various methods of teaching and a wide variety of strategies to imply to be a good coach. Being a coach is not just telling about your experience in hopes that students will learn; being a coach is an art. However, before implying certain strategies to be a good coach, identify what teaching method you are going to use.
- Presentations: Using presentations will help you enhance the students' learning experience. Most of us are visual learners, and that is a fact. So, employ some visual elements throughout the course to make it more interactive and memorable.
- Live Training sessions: This is one of the most popular teaching methods in the e-learning industry. With live sessions, you deliver training in real-time, which enhances the students' learning experience. Because they will be able to ask questions right away and do not wait for answers. Besides, suppose students have any confusion related to the material. In that case, it will be easy to clarify everything right during the live session. This will eliminate the need to respond to countless emails in order to answer the same question.
- Pre-recorded courses: While live sessions are one of the most popular formats, pre-recorded classes are one of the most efficient online learning formats. The whole point of this format is to provide students with pre-recorded lectures and ready automated tests and quizzes. This way, you can create a course and sell it multiple times on different platforms to as many students as possible. This method is quite time-saving. Plus, students get the opportunity to learn at their own pace and whenever they find time to, be that midnight or early morning.
- Flipped Classroom: The concept of a flipped classroom is fundamentally opposed to that of a typical classroom. Students must read and examine the study material before their teacher explains it.
- Game-based teaching: This teaching technique is quite popular because it warms up the students and makes the process more interactive and enjoyable.
- Class blog: The concept of the class blog is pretty innovative. The point of this concept is to contribute to students' motivation to learn by working on enhancing their self-learning skills. In the blog, students can share their knowledge, discuss the material with one another, and engage in interactive debates.
- Know the technology: Before starting a live session with students, make sure to troubleshoot the technology. Also, you need to know how to use each tool, be that a graphic design software program for presentations or zoom. The quality of your training decreases when you are unaware of the technology and how to use it.
- Be flexible: Make sure that you always have backup plans, additional assignments, etc. For example, if a live session fails, you have to know the next steps, what to do to start it again. Or, if it is impossible, how to contact your students in order to let them know what to do next.
- Set clear expectations: In order for the student not to be confused or demotivated, you will need to set clear expectations right from the start. And I am not talking only about learning outcomes. It also includes grading, participation, classroom rules policies. Even the time within which you will answer their emails is essential to mention. Does it usually take a few hours or 1-2 business days? Make sure to let the students know everything.
- Develop a community for learners, and make sure everyone is comfortable. Students wait for you to set the tone, whether it is friendly, professional, or competitive. However, remember that they will be most engaged if they feel safe and comfortable in the virtual space you are offering. Therefore, organize group projects, encourage in-class respectful discussions, and value everyone's opinion.
- Encourage in-class discussions: If you want your class to be more interactive and students more engaged, you have to encourage in-class discussions. That will help students better comprehend the material and gain the most out of your course.
- Give feedback: Providing students with constructive criticism on their work, suggesting further improvements, basically giving them feedback is a crucial component of a learning process.
4) Develop great learning outcomes
In order to motivate students to learn and stay attentive throughout the whole sessions and course, they have to know what they are studying for. Before choosing to buy your course — customers should have some generic and specific ideas about your course. Students will be able to decide whether it suits their needs or not. It would help to outline some learning outcomes to show what your course is about and what your hypothetical students will get out of it.
What are learning outcomes?
A learning outcome is an achievement that the learner fulfills after finishing your course. It describes what information your student will gather. Alongside it describes how that will change their thinking process and how they will be able to apply it to real-life situations. There are a few types of learning outcomes. And before developing your own concrete learning outcomes, we recommend that you look at this classification:
- Intellectual Skills: This learning outcome describes the amount and quality of knowledge that the student will acquire during the course. It is more measurable.
- Cognitive Strategies: Cognitive strategies are about how to think in a certain way to solve problems.
- Verbal Information: Can the student replicate the facts that they learned during the course? That is the main question that verbal information outcome is concerned with.
- Motor Skills: Motor skills refer to the ability to be able to perform something physically and perfect those skills through practice.
- Attitude: How did the course influence the student's worldview? This is about the internal change in the student.
How can you develop learning outcomes?
Let's get to creating the learning outcomes themselves. Remember, your main priority is to make them as clear as possible, make them short and to the point; you don't want to waste your customer's time. There are a few rules that you need to follow in order to be as effective as you can be:
- Efficiency: Understand the importance of your course; then, understand the importance of your course outlines. Why are you doing this? To provide a clear view for your students, show possible customers the relevancy of your course. This will help them get a good structured understanding of what your course is really about. Now — research.
- Bloom's Taxonomy: Take a look at the pyramid that Bloom et al. have built-in 1956. The taxonomy contains six types of educational objectives – knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. Each of the above-mentioned has its own verbs to be described. This will help you with coming up with ideas for your learning outcomes.
- Action Verbs: A learning outcome should start with an action verb: "Identify your strengths and weaknesses." This saves time for you and your students/customers, and, as we mentioned above, Bloom's taxonomy will help you a lot with this.
- Follow with a statement: After the verb comes to a specific statement explaining the skills the learner will develop after your course. Don't overestimate or underestimate the result of your teaching, be as honest as possible.
- Practice: You won't probably create good learning outcomes immediately, but you can practice. By practicing, we mean going and looking at examples of good learning outcomes and creating your own.
5) Write an attractive course outline
Course Outline is often underestimated in importance; however, it remains one of the most powerful elements of the course. This document provides students with useful insights. It will help both learners and coaches be more productive and organized.
What is a Course Outline?
The course outline is basically the course syllabus, which must include: the aims & outcomes of the course, requirements, textbooks, additional materials, readings, exam & test dates, and general policies (absence, grading, certification requirements, etc.)
Why is it important?
It is important for a number of reasons, such as:
- Clarifies things: The course outline and all the elements it includes clarify everything for learners and professors/coaches. Everyone is aware of what to do, how one thing is related to another, and when the test and exam dates are.
- Time-management & more effective learning: When learners are provided with the course outline, they will know what to expect from it. It makes things such as how much work they have for each week clearer; therefore, they can better plan and manage their time.
- Peaceful atmosphere: When you share in-class rules and policies with the students, everyone will be able to comprehend and behave accordingly to the course ethics. They will be able to respect each other's opinions, develop listening skills, and engage in polite debates/discussions instead of fights.
How to write an effective course outline?
Now, let's take a look at a few methods and strategies for writing an effective course outline.
- Remember about the main elements of the course outline: To write a successful and efficient class outline, you need to be aware of the main elements that should be included. Those elements are - the introduction/description, general policies, readings, textbook materials, assignment descriptions, and deadlines.
- Use simple language and express simple ideas: While writing your course outline, make sure to avoid niche-specific professional terminology. Most likely, many students won't be familiar with it and will not get the main point of the course which may drive them away from purchasing it.
- Set learning objectives: If you want to keep your students engaged with the course material, you have to work on their motivation. One of the most efficient strategies is to set learning objectives for the course so that students will know the main reason for studying. And they will stay motivated to reach the final destination.
- Write a description: Introduction of your course should have 5-6 sentences maximum. And the only meaning you have to convey through those is - a description of the overall course. Basically, a summary of learning outcomes, expectations, and objectives.
- Quizzes: Some cannot imagine, but quizzes are truly potent tools to check students' knowledge and keep them motivated to learn. By including quizzes in your outline (dates and topics covered),your students will comprehend that they should take the course seriously.
- Certification: In the reading policy section, speak about the certification as well. More people will purchase the course if they know they will get the certificate at the end because they can attach it to their CVs, portfolios, etc.
6) Create valuable course content
The most crucial element of a course is the content. Everything you did before and everything you will do after provides a good environment for your content. There are five key rules for creating good content:
- Relevant: The information and tips you provide should be up to date. So, use sources published after 2006 or older sources republished after that.
- Clear: Remember that you will explain a concept to somebody who probably doesn't know anything about it. Use easy-to-understand vocabulary, and explain all the terms. Following Orwellian advice, "Never use a long word where a short one will do."
- Truthfulness: Double—no, triple-check your information on truthfulness.
- Cohesive: Create a continuum of information and separate it into different categories. However, ensure that everything follows each other in a cohesive order. Don't jump from one idea to the next; rather, build a bridge between the two. So, your students would have time to understand, digest, and reflect on the information.
- Concrete: Forget abstraction in a course. You want to put precise information.
- Quality: While recording/filming the course content, make sure your camera quality is good, the lenses are clean, and the light is appropriate. Visual components are quite important nowadays, as those speak about the course's overall quality as well. When potential client decides to purchase your course, they pay attention to every little detail. So, whenever they see high-quality videos, the right minimalistic background, and professionally edited videos, they realize how much effort you put towards that, and that speaks about the quality of the whole material.
- Presentations: As I have mentioned above, visual communication is pretty important nowadays. Plus, above all, most of us are visual learners. So, in order to make your course material better understandable and easier to acquire, make some high-quality presentations. There are lots of tools which will help you, one of the best ones is Canva.
7) Design your course
Course design is an essential part of developing your online tutoring course. It helps you to stay cohesive and clear, understand the structure of your course, and make sure that your students will have good outcomes. It saves you a lot of time and, generally, is a good investment. When you put together different topics, you naturally repeat them all, increasing your fluency and understanding of the material. Hence, it becomes letter-perfect.
What is course design?
What is a course design? The name is quite self-explanatory: you create a course. But, of course, it's not that easy. There are different factors to consider when you are developing your course. Those are your audience — its age, location, occupation, etc. — logistics, time, topic, and all other things, too. Anyway, you need to know that it consists of the content that we elaborated on above, environment — your teaching methods and the medium your students are in — and collaboration (preplan the group projects and other collaborative elements for your students).
Main Elements of course design
Let's have a look at the main elements that you need to prepare before launching your course:
- Time: Concerning time, there are a few things to consider. First, how much time you have to prepare for your course; second — how much time your course will last; and finally, the schedule. So, say, you have three months to prepare for your course that will last half a year; the schedule will be the frequency, e.g., one lesson a week.
- Logistics: This relates to the availability of your materials like technical things or textbooks or other kinds of intellectual sources.
- Target Audience: What is the age category of your future students? What do they do for a living? A student of physics and a 9-year-old have different experiences, so if you were to explain the Civil War to them, you'd have to do it differently.
- Challenges: Identify the weaknesses of your and your students; they can concern, again, time & logistics or technical restraints. Think of how you can solve some of the problems or play around with them in order to make your course more effective.
- Syllabus: Create a syllabus and include these things in it: learning objectives, outcomes, calendar, assignments, sources, evaluation methods, and ethical rules. This will help you avoid awkward situations and time-wasting but straightforward questions.
8) Start pre-selling
Pre-selling is a new strategy that will help you to validate your course idea. Besides, it will assist you in getting the necessary resources to create high-quality final products.
What is pre-selling?
Let's start from scratch. So, what is pre-selling? Pre-selling of the course is when you start selling the product without having the final product ready. It is quite a beneficial strategy because it saves lots of time, energy, and resources. In case your idea fails, the only thing you would need to do is to return funds to a few who believe in the idea.
Benefits of pre-selling?
Pre-sell of courses bring up multiple benefits within it. The major ones are listed down below:
- Relevancy: pre-selling your course will show you how your existing and potential audiences will react to it. That will give you a clear vision of your future actions.
- Improvement: one of the significant benefits of pre-selling is that it will always show you the pain points, weaknesses, and features that your product lacks. So, with the pre-selling, you will better understand what aspects of the product need further improvement.
How to start pre-selling?
Here are a few methods on how to start per-selling.
- Offer limited or special products: play on the fear of missing out. When you offer a discounted price for the first 100 clients, not only will more people purchase your course, but they will also share it with their friends and colleagues. And that will drive more clients to you.
- Launch a landing page for the course: a landing page is a decisive move you can use to gain more clients for your course. It will basically contain the main elements that will generate leads due to "being short and to the point."
- Use Networking: When you pre-launch a course and start pre-sells, use your connections to spread the idea across the network.
9) Price your course
There are a few things that may influence the price of your course:
- Experience: What is your experience? Is that your first online course? Or, say, if it is your first online course, maybe you have been teaching the subject for a few years in a university, or you actually worked on coming up with some theory, etc. More experienced tutors naturally get paid more.
- Change: How will you impact your students? It can be an introductory course just to understand the subject, or it can be a full preparation course that will help your students get a job. Depending on the volume of the impact, the price will differ.
- Content: How valuable is your content, how unique is it? If the knowledge you communicate is exclusive, your course should be a bit more pricy.
So, you need to evaluate your course content and its impact. Remember not to underestimate yourself.
Tips on how to price your course
We have already separated course content into a few categories that should price differently. And, in fact, you can sell different courses simultaneously or even in a pack.
Introductory courses can cost around 5-50$ per lesson, mid-sized courses up to 150$, and bit courses 300$+.
You can also offer different types of payment methods:
- One at a Time: This one is fairly simple: the customer pays for a lesson after attending it. This way, they can decide if the course suits them; if not, they will save a lot of money. This can also come in the form of a monthly subscription for big courses, with a few trial days/lessons with no payment.
- Buy all the Lessons! The student buys all the lessons in the course at one time; if you have twelve lessons, they will pay for a dozen. But, the price is put so that one lesson costs less if bought in the full batch than if it was bought separately.
- They Come in a Pack: As we mentioned earlier, you can sell different kinds of content for different prices. You can also sell "packs." For example, you have a podcast that costs 10 dollars for the full recording, and you have an ebook that costs 30$.
Start your teaching race right now!