10 tips to create successful online courses
Do you have the expertise, ideas, passion and patience to share and teach your skills? Well, good for you. Now what? Now come the part that a lot of elearning instructors can find overwhelming: create successful elearning courses. Creating and launching your first online courses (or even onsite courses) involves a lot of moving pieces: from choosing the right LMS platform for your need, to growing your audience, and figuring out your enrollment or payment platform, there is a lot to keep track of and a lot to accomplish to be successful with online courses.
Luckily, the Apprendo team prepared a list of tips and tricks for you to create great courses. It is by no means an exhaustive list of all the things that need to be done to create a successful online course, but it will provide you with a overview of the major milestones to know, think about and expert during your elearning journey before you get started.
Choose your course topic and define your target audience
Choose a topic that you LOVE and where you are an expert. Teaching a topic leaves no shadow of a doubt that you know what you are talking about and that you are an expert in your field, be sure to know your topic inside out. Teaching the wrong topic can make it difficult for you to engage your audience but it can also be a risk to stop creating courses pretty quickly.
Ensure your course idea has high market demand
Online teaching requires lots of time and commitment. Before you start, make sure to have a topic that people are actually looking for, buying and engaging. Ask the opinion of your network, read articles about the top elearning trends, check the competition on other LMS platforms to know what people are buying and what other instructors are teaching. Do you see a lot of competition for your topic? That is actually a good sign of there being a strong market demand for your topic and is well worth investigating further. If you are able to find a gap or answers that are not covered by the competition, this is where you can make the difference!
Create compelling learning outcomes
Make sure to bring value to your course users. What will they learn? What skills will they acquire? Make sure to know exactly what you can bring to your them and to share with them the outcomes of each course. Don’t limit yourself by thinking about the outcomes of each of your courses, one by one, but make sure that you take a step back and have a global and consistent outcome. If you can show to your audience that they can learn everything on your topic, instead of having to go from one instructor to another, that is a key selling point for you and guaranteed higher engagement. Having clear learning outcomes also ensures that only the right students are joining your course, which means higher completion and satisfaction rates.
Choose your course content
Whether they have all the knowledge in their brain or lots of books or articles to refer to, instructors can be overwhelmed by the volume of information that need to be processed in order to create a course. What you should realize is that not all information need to be included into your courses, and that for a few reasons:
Your courses should have a reasonable length. Too long, and you can expect your audience to never finish your courses
You need to think about level. Don’t teach content that is more advanced during a beginner class for example. Give the information gradually.
Choose the content only relevant to your defined outcomes, that your audience want to know.
Structure your courses and modules
This is the stage where you take a look at all your content and start grouping together similar themes, into modules depending on your audience level and understanding of the topic.
Choose the right learning & delivery methods
Onsite training, online video, webinar, article, infographics, audio content...Which methods will is the most likely to engage your audience and which one are you the more at ease to create. Everyone is different and learns differently, make sure that you have a balance of visual, audio and practical methodologies to that your audience is engaged and has the best learning experience.
Produce the right content
Filming, recording editing, this is the production phase. Let’s face it, if you have the right content but not the right production, you won’t keep your audience very long. Just wanting to be Spielberg, doesn’t make you a film director, but with some easy tips, you can become the Spielberg of elearning! What you should think about before producing an elearning video:
Choose the right location to film: right lighting, good sound, background, screencasting… Avoid anything that could distract your audience but also thing about adding your personal “touch” in your videos.
Prepare yourself: choose the right outfit (comfortable, no strips, no black or white), not too much makeup, know what your will talk about and practice, practice and practice again. Don’t talk to fast, not too slow, don’t be too monotone.
Choose the right LMS platform
Setup your learning school. Whether you want to sell online courses, onsite courses, both, that you need an enrollment management system or not...you have lots of different options, marketplaces and learning management systems that can help you reach your goals.
Choose the right pricing model
How much do you want to sell your courses? Will your audience have to pay for each course or can they subscribe to a learning plan? Make sure you have strategized how and where your online course will fit into your overall business model to define your pricing strategy. Be also aware that a low price could make your expertise or content has less value than your competitors.
One key step that a lot of instructors are forgetting once they have their online courses ready is advertising it. Whether you are an instructor or an institution, you need to make sure that your audience know that you have courses they can enroll to. How to do that? Different options are available to you: social media posting, ads (Google Ads for example), contact lists, influencers or business partners... Choose the strategy where you are the most likely to reach and enroll your audience.
Now you are ready to create your courses and have fun sharing your skills with your audience.
Need extra tips to know how to successfully teach online courses? This article might interest you!