Online learning, also known as distance learning or e-learning, refers to a type of education in which students learn remotely using electronic devices such as computers, laptops, and smartphones.
Online learning can be used to deliver a variety of educational materials, including lectures, readings, assignments, quizzes, and exams.
The move towards online training was set in motion in the 1990s when CALCampus first introduced the idea of online schooling using various online software. Then as technology kept advancing, so did the facility of remote education.
However, it was still considered the lesser of the two learning models. For conventionally minded people, e-learning remained a foreign idea for a while.
Then comes the pandemic, wreaking havoc worldwide and caging approximately 1.2 billion students at home, educational institutions had no other option than to switch to e-learning completely.
This has changed the way we learn forever.
Many individuals are gravitating towards setting up their own online education programs on different digital platforms, such as Udemy, Coursera, and Silkshare, apart from many others, to educate interested learners.
Thanks to the ever-evolving internet and virtual tools, trainers now have an exceptional assortment of options to reach students digitally.
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Moreover, these already remarkable, technologically advanced e-teaching platforms are continuing to evolve, thereby providing more and more improved experiences to trainers and trainees alike each day.
While all online platforms are beneficial for e-learning, some serve better than others based on the needs of the parties involved.
For instance, if a course is to educate a younger lot of students, it will have a higher retention rate if the chosen online channel offers finer provisions for engaging learners.
That is, younger children tend to lose attention and get distracted much more quickly than older students, which is why a direct, robotic learning style on a dull and unimaginative channel will not yield the desired results that a more creative and engaging platform will.
Therefore, every trainer and teacher needs to carefully choose the medium to publish their course.
And that’s just one aspect to consider when selecting an online system to access digital classes; there are many other factors at play as well that you need to weigh in to pick the right platform to sell your course.
How To Decide On Where To Publish Your Course?
Choosing a virtual portal to launch your course may seem relatively straightforward, but it’s not, especially for beginners. Online forums for publishing education courses are learning management systems that allow trainers to reach students.
Although LMS and online course platforms are often used interchangeably, they are a little different in who they give access.
That is, LMSs are generally closed-group online platforms used in educational settings and corporate environments to train members in an organization. But general online platforms can be used by anyone.
When picking out an online course platform, the first thing to consider is your top priority or goal; what do you want to achieve? Of course, you want to make money, but how do you wish to do that? Do you want an established classroom, or are you okay with gradually building one for yourself?
For the former, you’ll have to pay a higher price than the latter.
In a systematic manner, here are all the considerations you need to make to pick the right platform for your online course.
What Is Your Top Goal?
If all you want is to earn heaps of money, then choosing a platform that has a well-established student base will serve you best.
But if you wish to engage students and make an impact (since some people like to teach as a side hobby to attain satisfaction), you will have to look into other aspects.
How Important Is Branding For You?
Do you want to make a distinguishable name for yourself, or do you wish to be just another player in the online course market?
If your goal is to build your brand, publishing on platforms such as Udemy or LinkedIn Learning might not be ideal for you because, on these systems, all the courses in a particular category are displayed alongside each other.
That means your class might not stand out as you’d like. For first-timers, such forums can be helpful as you get access to an already established consumer base. However, experienced professionals who have enough following prefer to publish content on their own sites.
How Much Control Do You Want?
Are you one of those fastidious people who love to do everything themselves?
If so, then you’d want to sign up on platforms that offer sufficient room for customization. WordPress is an example of such a site. On the other hand, Rainmaker doesn’t give users much control over how their product is delivered to the audience.
Consider Affiliate Programs
Affiliate programs are incredible for those who can partner up with already thriving trainers.
Front runners of the industry share your course and get a commission for every conversation, which works as an excellent incentive that ultimately benefits both parties.
How Much Technical Support You’ll Need?
If you’re not technologically savvy, chances are you’ll need some help with the publishing process.
Therefore you should look into a forum that offers hands-on support at all times. You don’t want to work with a site that doesn’t tend to your concerns, that might lead to learners turning away from your course because of technical glitches.
Does The Portal Have An Analytical System To Gauge Effectiveness?
If you’d like to know how well your course is doing and whether or not it’s helping leaners, then you need to choose a channel for your class that has a decent evaluation system so that you can measure the efficacy of your methods and modify them accordingly.
Do You Get Enough Tools To Reengage Students?
One of the biggest issues with online learning is the attrition rate of courses. As quickly as people sign up for a course, they also leave it that way. Since there aren’t any obligations on students to finish an online class, they tend to leave it as they please.
While the lack of retention doesn’t impact your profit for the course in question, it will reduce your chances of future subscriptions.
When a learner doesn’t complete your course, they are more likely not to choose you as the instructor the next time they think about taking up an online class. Why?
Because they’ll feel that they dropped your series the last time, so they might do it again and lose money (again).
To ensure a decent member retention rate, you need to select a virtual system that allows you to get in touch with your students so that you can reach out to them and encourage them to stay.
Is It Device-Agnostic?
Generally, now most people have an array of gadgets to go online. That means they might use one device at one point and another at a different time. So, you should choose a platform that’s compatible with all types of electronic products.
When you have a clear understanding of your needs, you’ll be able to pick the right online portal for your course.
Type of Course You Want To Make?
The type of course you sell has a significant impact on the traffic you’ll get. That is, you need to carefully consider the field of study you want your content to belong. Students prefer certain subject matters more for online learning than others.
Typically, theoretical content or material related to the digital landscape, such as marketing, is better received on virtual forums. Study fields that entail practical understanding are better suited for traditional educational settings.
Of course, your area of expertise also determines the kind you create. If you don’t have a writing background, you can’t teach it. But regardless of what your forte is, you should choose a subject that can be easily explained via a screen with only so much supplementary material.
Here is a list of courses students prefer to learn digitally.
- Childhood, primary and tertiary training
- Digital marketing
- Criminology and criminal justice
- Community service and counseling
Aside from the mentioned disciplines, you can choose the one you are comfortable with, even if it’s something as practical as photography.
As long as you can engage your audience well through a screen, you can make good money teaching anything online. But be prepared to put in a reasonable amount of effort and creativity into it.
Are EBooks Still Viable In Today’s More Video-Oriented Market?
Reading books versus watching videos, which is the better option for learning- is a question that has been making the rounds ever since the internet evolved and gave everyone access to a digital medium.
But even though people have been debating over the said topic, nobody has ever reached a definitive conclusion to this date; perhaps, because the answer to this puzzle is somewhat subjective than scientific.
At the end of the day, personal preference significantly impacts how well a person responds to a particular medium when learning. However, many experts have conducted studies to reach a somewhat accurate conclusion.
But every researcher ended up supporting their initial hypothesis based on their understanding.
Most investigators sought to provide scientific evidence for what they thought worked better; hence their conclusions were not a hundred percent accurate or objective. Nonetheless, some findings remained the same across the board.
- Reading eBooks (see also ‘How To Write An EBook and Make Money‘) – or any text for that matter – is an active practice that requires a singular focus. Therefore, it is a better alternative to acquiring a deeper understanding of a concept.
- On the other hand, videos-or any visual medium is better for a quick run-down of a concept. Since watching doesn’t require active attention, a person can take in a lot of information at a time, albeit it won’t be in-depth. Another case in which a video can be more helpful than an eBook is cracking a hard-to-understand topic. That is, when studying a difficult concept for the first time, going over it using a visual clip will allow the learner to make some sense of the topic. In other words, a course of which you haven’t been able to make head or tail off, watching a video might be a smarter choice to make some headway.
- While most studies support reading for a more in-depth command over a subject, there is also reliable evidence that supports visual learning. Therefore, which medium works better for education depends on the learner and their level of concentration at a given time. Hence, questioning the viability of eBooks in today’s video-oriented world is pointless as both mediums continue to exist side by side and generate results according to their own ability.
If you are planning an online course to sell, consider using a combination of both methods so that every individual’s needs are catered.
What Are The Profits On Online Courses?
The profit margin when creating an online course varies from trainer to trainer and course to course. There is no one definite equation to calculate how much you can make selling education online because there are a bunch of factors that impact the profit-making.
For starters, the topic is crucial in determining the shape of your profit curve. Then, how targeted is the content? That is, what is your target market, and how well does your course speak to it?
Next, the size of your consumer base. Naturally, the bigger the scale of your class, the more money you’ll make.
However, to give you a rough idea about the kind of money a content creator can make, we can tell you that if you put in the time and effort in your course, you can make up to $50k per month. No, it’s not too good to be true.
According to a report published by a popular online course platform, teachable, many experienced trainers on the forum have made up to $75k a month. But, those teachers had been training for about 15 months.
Nonetheless, with consistent efforts, you can make a substantial amount of money by selling online courses.
And if you don’t plan to make your way into the category of top-tier trainers, because maybe you’re doing the job as a side gig, then with a decent amount of effort, you can make anywhere between $0 and $50k a month.
Avenues for Financing
When it comes to teaching or online course creation, you can sell your courses on digital platforms that will take a portion of your revenue as commission. And if you choose a forum that offers an established student base, it may ask for a fee alongside the commission on sales.
For any of these routes, you need to pay a sum of money or give out a part of your profit. But there is one way to teach online that will only bring you money and not take any away. That is getting hired by a university or college to conduct an online course.
Don’t be discouraged, thinking that the recruitment process will be too much to handle because that may not necessarily be the case.
There are many job boards for online teachers where subscribers are notified anytime a relevant position surfaces. Once you get the notification, you’ll need to apply and go along with the process.
Generally, the vetting procedure for an e-instructor isn’t as stringent as a regular candidate. Plus, you can always apply to mid-tier organizations to avoid going through elaborate hiring processes.
What Type Of Qualification Do You Need To Make Online Courses?
Though often considered uncomplicated, teaching is anything but easy. Engaging students and making sure you’re getting through to them can be exhausting and difficult to achieve.
Most learners, especially in a digital classroom setting, lose interest halfway into a session, primarily because they have a bevy of distractions around them.
On the contrary, in a traditional classroom, the chances of keeping a student interested in a topic are higher as there aren’t enough avenues that would distract them.
Because keeping learners engrossed in a subject for a considerable amount of time is pretty challenging, teachers must have absolute command over the course material. Therefore, they need to have a decent level of qualification in order to teach students.
As a general rule, to teach, online or otherwise, at a post-secondary level, an individual needs to have either a master’s degree or a doctorate, but a teacher education program and state licensure is not needed.
However, for teaching classes under the post-secondary level of education, teachers need to have a bachelor’s degree along with the teacher education program and state licensure.
Moreover, since e-courses are much more streamlined than regular programs, having specialized certification in the relevant discipline generally works to an online trainer’s benefit.
Selecting your Publishing Platform
Although we have already discussed the process of choosing a publishing platform, we’ll share the general top picks to help you decide.
- Udemy (Web, Android, iOS) for launching your first course
- Skillshare (Web, Android, iOS) for teaching creative skills
- Teachable (Web, iOS) for marketing your course
- Podia (Web) for putting up a digital storefront
- Thinkific (Web) for building a course from scratch
- Kajabi (Web) for marketing a course on autopilot
- Ruzuku (Web) for hosting webinars
- WizIQ (Web, Android, iOS) for setting up a virtual classroom
- Learnworlds (Web, Android, iOS) for creating an online school
Since selecting a publishing platform is a personal choice at the end of the day, you can do your research and choose to pick whichever forum speaks to you and works best for your particular needs.
What If You Want To Self-Publish?
Self-publishing may not be the most convenient practice, but it’s certainly incredibly liberating. Why?
Well, because when you are self-publishing, you have extreme creative freedom and liberty to set the timeline to release content.
However, releasing a course online is not the same as publishing a book yourself. You need to have an understanding of digital tools to market and launch an e-course effectively.
Ideally, if you could create a website and then publish your course there, you would be self-publishing. But that’s unlikely, so the other option is using an already existing digital domain to market your education series.
Now depending on the level of interference you want from the publishing forum, you will select an entity. For instance, Thinkific offers absolute freedom of customization to its users, so if you only need a space to put your course on the e-learning landscape, then it will be the ideal choice.
Simply put, you can self-publish your course on open online forums based on your needs.
Payment Systems and Options
Since e-learning is done digitally, naturally, payment for it is also made online. Thanks to the many online payment methods, you can pay for a digital platform and receive compensation for your course through a number of channels.
Among the most commonly used e-learning payment gateways to sell courses online are
- Merchant One
- Merchant Plus
- Authorize. Net
All the mentioned e-payment channels are easy to use, allowing users to set up an account in minutes. Plan a course, choose the right platform, decide how you’d like to receive earnings, and then make money without leaving your home.
The Bottom Line
The E-learning sector has grown exponentially over the years, and the coronavirus pandemic has led the practice of receiving education online to burgeon all the more. Benefit from this vast field by jumping on the bandwagon now!