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Not every online instructor will tell you all you need to know about creating online courses.
But like in every industry, there are a few hacks that can help you tap into the market easily, quicker and more effectively. The success recipe for creating online courses is building content that addresses the needs and pain points of prospective students.
If you are planning on creating an online course, you will need all the help you can get from those who have already been there and done the work.
In this article, several successful course creators are sharing their tips to help you create an engaging online course. Let’s dive in!
#1 Validate your idea
Before launching an online course, you need to check if the original idea of your course is something that your target audience is interested in. The most valuable thing a course offers is knowledge, but for it to be put into good use, it first needs to be requested for.
Just like Jen Ahaghotu – Coach and Founder of The Course Creation Guide says, ‘a course is amazing because it’s all about helping people take action’.
To validate your idea, start searching for course topics that are currently in demand. Investigate the needs around a chosen subject and come up with some interesting themes.
This process starts and ends with:
- Identifying your learners’ pain points and gathering market trends
- Analyzing available data and exploring different topics
- Pre-launching your course and getting feedback
Gathering feedback from a group of people from your selected segment is the most important step. Doing so should help you decide who this course is for and then put some key learning objectives in place.
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#2 Make use of videos
Video is king and it’s here to stay. Compared to other types of content, the video comes out as the winner, especially when used in educational settings.
Its ability to engage learners into a more interactive learning experience while fostering the understanding of more complex themes is unique and it can heavily boost students’ engagement.
Jeff Cobb from Learning Revolution encourages the use of video and other interactive elements inside the course content, saying: ‘People aren’t just Zoom fatigued, they are digitally fatigued. If you don’t give them opportunities to interact with your content, with you and ideally with other learners in meaningful ways, you will lose them.’
Creating videos doesn’t have to be expensive to start with either.
Uzair Kharawala – Partner at SF Digital Studios also advises to ‘start with short videos of up to 60 seconds. Use your smartphone vertically and create vertical videos.
So instead of solely relying on long-form PowerPoint presentations, add some short but to-the-point videos inside your course to get the attention of your learners.
#3 Give it the right price
Giving the right price tag to your course requires looking at a few parameters in course creation.
First, you need to calculate the time you need to create the course content, find out what the competition is doing, and finally check the availability of resources in your chosen subject.
These factors can help you price your course so that you cover all your expenses in terms of time and money required in the course creation process.
Having said that though doesn’t mean that you should put a price on everything. An excellent tactic to get people to enroll in your course is to offer something for free and get them engaged in a task. Giving out a mini-course, a checklist, or an ebook to get them interested can work as a great incentive for people to register for your course.
Sue Keogh – Founder at Sookio urges aspiring course creators to ‘get people engaged immediately, by giving them a simple task to complete, right at the start.’
#4 Think about your expertise
A successful online course usually explores many recurring themes in one specific subject area.
On this matter, Charlotte Beasley – Content Strategies at Content Chiefs, says ‘give yourself enough space to build authority in one topic before going across many topics.’
The topic you choose for your course could be anything from maths and history to dancing and gardening. But the most important thing is that you select one subject that you are passionate about and have expert knowledge in.
Having a passion for something is an admirable thing, but it also helps people to connect with you on a deeper level, accept and understand your perspective.
Teaching in your area of expertise will also allow you to explore the topic in more meaningful ways, build authority in your niche and inspire your students to engage with it adding their own ideas.
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#5 Create an email list
When creating content for your online course, you need to be thinking about all the promotional and marketing aspects early on as well.
That is if you are hoping to sell online courses, of course.
Taking into account all the benefits of email marketing, creating an email list is one of the best ways to engage people and build an audience for your course business.
An email list can help you create a community of people that are essentially your target audience. Making them your email subscribers and keeping in touch with them through great content, is a winning sales strategy. Once you build trust, they will be more likely to become your students.
Andrea Longcrier – Launch Strategist at Oceans Marketing, can confirm this: ‘In order to grow your audience, attract your ideal customers, and build excitement for what you’re going to offer, you’ve got to put out consistent content and show up on a regular basis’.
Ready to Create and Sell Online Courses?
The more knowledge you gather around creating and selling courses can be used to your advantage.
If you are just starting out and have no previous experience in elearning or launching an online course business, it’s important to learn from the professionals who have already tried it out and know what works best.
Get more tips from the online course creators and business owners mentioned in this article (and many more) by checking the talks they gave at the Worlds of Learning – WOL summit, organized by LearnWorlds.
Author: Kyriaki Raouna
Bio: Kyriaki is a Content Creator for LearnWorlds, writing about marketing and e-learning, helping course creators on their journey to create, market, and sell their online courses. Equipped with a degree in Career Guidance, she has a strong background in education management and career success. In her free time, she gets crafty and musical.