These days the landscape of education has changed significantly. More than ever people are opting to study online. Online education allows for more freedom and flexibility. It also gives the opportunity to take specialized short-term courses without too much disruption to existing lifestyles.
It is the desire for specialized information that the online course market has sprung up and blossomed from. You can find courses on just about anything and in any field.
The market is saturated with persons and companies offering courses and it can make it hard for “students” to know which one to choose. There is also the issue of people making courses that lack substance and generate results. To stand out in the market you have to go above the grain. It is more than just a money-making tool but rather a way to impart expertise in an impactful and lasting manner.
Starting an online course also takes a lot of work and planning. It can be hard to know whether what you’re putting together is something the market needs or how successful it can be. More than that there is also the thought of whether the information is structured in a way that your students will understand and benefit from it. No one wants to have bad reviews on their course.
We’ve put together a few tips to keep in mind as you’re working on your online course.
Build Your Tribe
There is a misconception that you need to have your course ready for the get-go. Going the route of gaining interest from the ground up. You will find that this takes a long time. People need to know you and trust you. A better way would be to “Build Your Tribe”. If you have a following on YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, and Blog, etc, then you can start building interest in your course by putting it out to them.
Show that you have specialized knowledge in a particular area and cultivate your following around that. By the time you launch your course, you will have a base of people already excited to sign up.
Plan It Out
The hardest and most painstaking part is going to be the development stage. You will speed many sleepless nights and days putting it all together. You will doubt yourself and you will want to quit. But Don’t. We won’t pretend that it’ll be easy but having a plan to follow can help to streamline the process and make things a little bit easier. There are more great articles and advice on edwize.org all about online courses and the planning phase. Layout everything so you have a clear roadmap for the journey ahead.
- Pick your subject – decide from the very beginning what you want to teach about. Tip: choose something that you’re knowledgeable about or have qualifications in.
- Research market value – wanting to put something out is great but it should be something that people want or need. Otherwise, you will waste time, money, and effort.
- Results – think carefully about what results your students can expect after taking your course. A course that doesn’t end with tangible results will not get good reviews.
- Develop content – creating the content that will go into your course. What information, tips, tricks, and other knowledge do you want to impart? Create it.
- Structure your modules – once you’ve put the content together you have to think about how you want to separate the lessons. What will go into lessons 1 then 2 and so forth.
- Teaching method – the next thing you want to consider is your teaching method. How are you going to convey the information? Will you use videos, reading assignments, or worksheets? All of these can impact the success of your course.
- Film and Edit – once you’ve finished putting it together and structuring how you want to do it and the ways you will do it, you have to film it. Filming can be you sitting in front of a camera and talking, or doing a voice-over, or shared screen. Once that’s done you need to edit or hire someone to do it for you.
- Setup – next is the setup. Whether you host your online course on your own website or you use other host websites you have to make sure it makes sense for your students. Make sure that access is easy and the layout is user-friendly.
- Market and Launch – the last stage is marketing and launching. You should begin marketing at least a month in advance of your actual launch. You need to build excitement around it. People need to know you’re out there and to feel encouraged to sign up for your course. Once it’s ready there is no time like the present, LAUNCH IT!
There may of course be other steps you want to add in and some you want to take out but this is the basic run down.
Use What You Have
When we say use what you have we mean to use content that you’ve already put out to help structure your course. You don’t have to completely start from scratch. Using blog posts, videos, and other content and stepping stones for your course can save you time and also give you a foundation to build from.
Aesthetically and Mentally Please
Design your course in a fun and interactive way. You need to keep your students engaged. This type of learning is very independent and as such students to help to stay motivated. You can do this by using visuals and interactive software to have them be more involved in the learning process.
Keep It Simple
This is your first course and you are bound to make mistakes. It’s okay. Keep the layout and everything simple to start with. Don’t overwhelm yourself trying to make it too fancy. You can hinder yourself this way and never get to the launch phase. Make it approachable, user-friendly, and engaging. You can add on more with each course you do going forward.
Starting your own online course is a fun but challenging endeavor. Keep yourself organized and plan your process well. You’ll thank yourself for it later.