Do you remember what it was like to be sitting at school, for hours, listening to your teachers speaking but not really understanding your courses, even though your liked the topic?
Learning is all about finding the right way to share knowledge and engage learners. If you are considering launching courses to share your expertise, you need to be conscious of that. If you have never taught a class before, either online or offline, there are some fundamentals you should be familiar with before you create your courses, sell and teach them.
What steps should you follow to successfully teach online? Here are the Top 6 tips that will help you make your start as an instructor. Why 6? Because of Fullan’s Six Cs education approach: character education, citizenship, collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical thinking.
Decide how you want to teach courses
This may not seem an obvious step, but it is perhaps the most important to think about when considering the question of teaching. Do you want to teach online? Do you want to teach onsite? What about both? Each platform will offer you different opportunities to teach and reach your learners. When choosing how to teach and where, you need to think about your teaching style, your teaching topic but also where you are most likely to find & engage your students. Depending on your topics or targeted audience for your courses, you might have to choose online over onsite courses, for example, to teach your courses more efficiently.
Decide what software to use to teach courses
Once you know if you want to teach online courses, onsite courses or both, you need to find the right LMS (Learning Management System) software which fits your need, as simple as sharing your courses with your learners and allow them to sign up for example. Did you know that Apprendo is one of the rare platforms on the market to allow management of your online, onsite courses as well as learners sign ups at the same place.
Beyond LMS, you also need to find the right software for video editing and courses presentation. The last thing you want is for your learner experience to suffer because you haven’t chosen the right technology to teach and sell your courses.
Prepare your online & offline course materials
>Depending on your subject of expertise, you may need to film and edit lectures, work with a graphic designer on course materials or maybe even talk with a developer about custom functionality. When preparing your course materials you should think about different things. To start you need to adapt yourself and your courses to your targeted learners. Are they beginners or experienced on the subject? How old are they? Learners who are older tend to have jobs and families, as well as strong self-discipline and independent learning skills, online learning works well with that type of demographic.
You also need to adapt your course materials to the nature of your subject. Face to face, video, infographics, interactive activities… Each subject discipline is different and requires its own approaches to teaching.
Finally, evaluate the resources that are available to you as an instructor. What available time do you have? What help is available to you (designer, co-instructor…)? Before teaching or selling online courses, you really need to evaluate that.
Beta test your courses
Once you have your course together, don’t rush to sell your online courses. Beta testing can help you work out some of the mistakes you could have made that would slow down your success. Was the course accessible? Did the course content match the knowledge level of your learners? Was the global experience positive for your learners? Beta testers can tell you if you have successfully taught anything in your course or if you still need to make some adjustments.
Be prepared to fail and innovate
Well, not fail permanently, but be prepared for some things to go less perfectly. Whether you are not speaking clearly, or your courses material is not adapted to your audience, it’s by trying that you will improve. Be prepared for negative feedbacks or performances on how you teach your courses and be proactive in looking for ways to make your course better. As an instructor, you need to be flexible and constantly learn to offer innovative ways to share your knowledge and teach. Keep track of what content and material will resonate the most with your audience, while experimenting and trying new teaching strategies to further advance your online teaching and learning skills.
Communicate with your learners
There is a lot of research that indicated the importance of instructor “presence” while teaching online courses. Your learners need to know that you are “there”. From trying to reach potential learners through your social media platforms, website or email, to engaging with your learners once they sign up and complete your courses, you need to make sure that your entire workflow is optimized for conversion and learners satisfaction.
Overall, online and offline education is a wonderful opportunity to share your knowledge, build your network and reputation as well as increase your revenues. It is a growing market for educators, and therefore an exciting career development opportunity. You could have the potential to reach learners you would never, could never, reach any other way. With some research and planning, you could find yourself at a turning point of your potential. So take that step and teach online and onsite courses!