Online learning is really starting to take the whole world by storm. This convenient method of learning on the go allows individuals to study around their own time schedule and at their own pace.
So really, it isn’t surprising that it is becoming ever-popular. It is a great option for those that want to take control of their own learning and thousands upon thousands of people are signing up for new online courses every day.
We’ll even include some online course creation templates you can follow. Let’s make this experience as easy and pain-free as possible so that in no time at all, you’re ready to be the best instructor you can be.
But online learning isn’t only beneficial for students, but instructors too. Online learning allows instructors to open up courses to a much larger audience from all over the world. And it’s also a much cheaper option for lecturers and instructors. So it’s a win-win.
And yet, there must be a catch, right? There is. As with any lucrative and thriving market, it’s a pretty saturated one. Simply put, while there are many students looking for online courses, there are even more instructors trying to enroll these students in their courses.
And so it is absolutely vital that the course that you are offering stands out. It needs to be engaging and interactive. It must captivate your students. And if it doesn’t you have one of two fates – either people won’t enroll or those that do will not complete the course.
And neither of these scenarios is ideal.
So if you have decided that you want to create an online course, you’ll want to follow our 10-step strategy to ensure that you are heading straight for success.
10-Step Sucess Strategy
1. Topic Time
So the very first thing you’ll need to decide on is the topic of your course. This can be anything, you’ll notice eLearning platforms have catalogs of hundreds or even thousands of different courses.
The important thing about picking your topic is ensuring that it is something you’re both knowledgeable and passionate about while also choosing a niche that is not overdone. This means you’ll need to do your research.
Find out which courses are the most in-demand and how many already established courses there are in this area. If the course isn’t in-demand, if there aren’t students who want to participate in the course then it’s not going to do well.
But if there are already hundreds of well-established courses teaching this subject, how likely is it that you’re going to get engagement and enrollment? These are all factors that need to be carefully considered.
From there you’ll want to research the preferred learning styles for this topic. As well as the main problems your students have and how you can solve these issues for them. This will draw people towards your course.
2. SMART Goals
Once you’ve decided upon your topic, you need to identify the goals and objectives that you will be working towards in your course.
These will be totally dependent on the type of course that you choose but your students need clear and concise objectives that demonstrate what the completion of the course will achieve. These objectives should always begin with verbs or ‘doing words.’
This allows everyone looking at these goals to know exactly what is expected of them, a few examples of this are:
- Apply a full set of acrylic nails
- Change a tire on a car correctly
- Describe the relationship between two book characters and their significance.
Once you have a clear outline of what you’re wanting to achieve, you’ll then need to decide how you can measure and observe how these objectives are being met by your students. Best results can be found using the SMART goals template.
3. SME & Stakeholders
Successful course creation will often involve working with subject matter experts and stakeholders.
You’ll turn to your SME for information needed for the content of your course while the stakeholder will be an individual committed to the success of your course such as management, trainers, or project managers.
An example of this would be if you were creating a course based on improving sales training then your sales manager or VP of sales would be your stakeholder and SME.
In the early development of your course, outlining the roles and responsibilities of both the stakeholders and SMEs are essential. Making a custom project communication plan can help you do this efficiently.
You wouldn’t sit down at your computer and start writing a novel without an in-depth analysis of who your characters are and a coherent storyboard of what happens in each chapter.
Similarly, you can’t speed straight toward creating your course without knowing all the details of what your course is going to look like.
Essentially, what you’re doing is creating a document or presentation that highlights how your intentions for the course. Basically, you’re creating a rough draft of your course before you actually start the real thing.
You’ll want to include written course content, images, videos, podcasts, and any other media that you intend to use throughout your lessons.
This can feel a little daunting to begin, but if you follow the storyboard template it can be a lot easier to manage and navigate. Plus it’ll make creating the end product so much easier.
5. Script Time
Step four was similar to the set-up for a novel, and step five is much like a screenplay. You don’t want to be trying to ad-lib all your narration to your classes. This is going to be difficult and time-consuming.
Trust me, it’s bad enough with a script when it comes to re-recording let alone without one.
You’ll want to write out a full script for your course. When doing so you should take into consideration how it will sound aloud, reading it out loud a couple of times can help highlight any wordy phrases or incorrect grammar.
Always remember short and simple sentences are the best way forward and always write in a conversational style.
Once your script is complete you can use this template to help you write a course outline that you can share with stakeholders or use in your official course.
6. Create Your Course In An Authoring Tool
Now that you have a clear structure for your course, you can begin designing it using an authoring tool software. Adobe Captivate and Articulate 360 are both great options though they may require some training if you’re new to them.
If you’re looking for software that is somewhat simpler and uses familiar styles such as PowerPoint then iSpringSuite is a great option.
If you’re unsure of how to create and design your course, then you could base them off any of the following templates:
- Product Onboarding Webinar Presentation Template
- Phishing Treats Employee Training Template
- Anxiety Presentation Online Course Template
- Accident & Incident Investigation Training Template
7. Add Assessments
You’ve considered your objectives and goals for the course, and you’ve thought about the observable and measurable outcomes for these goals, and now it’s time to put your students to the test.
The only way to really know for sure if your students have taken in the information that you’ve provided is to use some sort of assessment at the end of the course.
Most of the recommended authoring tools in step 6 will include some sort of assessment or quiz tool that you can use to create the end-of-course assessments.
You usually have a range of choices from multiple-choice options, to true or false statements, fill-in-the-blank answers, or drag-and-drop interactive tests.
It is up to you to decide which option you want to use or whether you want to use a variety of these options.
And assessments don’t only have to be added at the end of the course, they can be a great way to gauge how information is sinking in throughout the course with mini-tests before or after certain slides.
8. Publish Your Course
Once your course is designed and your assessment is added, providing you have the go-ahead from any stakeholders, you’re ready to publish your course to the public!
Now, you’re not quite done, but most of the hard work is over, so give yourself a pat on the back and settle down, because this is the exciting bit. Publishing your course is pretty easy, with the majority of most authoring tools all you need to do is click ‘Publish.’
This will create a file that is ready to be uploaded to most learning management systems, websites, or social media networks.
9. Share, Share, Share
Now that your course has gone live, you’ll need to start sharing it everywhere you can. So, okay, you have a course, but do you have any students? This is why you need to advertise your course to as many people as possible.
There are many different places you can share your course, but let’s take a look at some of the most successful options available.
Academic Learning Management Systems
Platforms that are built with the intent of teaching students are usually a pretty good place to start. Academic LMSs such as Moodle, Blackboard, and Schoology are all great options.
These types of sites are advantageous because they allow monitoring of both assignment results and attendance.
Corporate Learning Management Systems
There are many corporate LMSs that provide access to a variety of learning materials online as well as many different training processes.
They tend to have more flexibility in terms of your course timeline and are more tailored to business needs as opposed to student needs. Some great examples are iSpring Learn, TalentLMS, Adobe Captivate Prime, and Docebo.
Course Selling Platforms
There are so many different course-selling platforms available on the market now that you’ll almost be spoilt for choice here. All of the following are specifically created with the intent of creating or attending online courses: Udemy, Coursera, Teachable, and Thinkific. And with a little bit of research, it won’t be hard to find many, many more just like them.
10. Collect Feedback
As people enroll and take part in your course it is imperative that you collect feedback on how they found the experience. Feedback is single-handedly the best way to improve your course.
After all, it is the students that the course is geared towards, so if they can tell you what they are enjoying about the course, what they are finding difficult, and parts that they found hard to get through, you can go back to your course and make it more student-friendly based on the feedback that you receive.
You may want to use your authoring tool to create a survey, or Google Forms is another great option or you can use this survey template as a starting point.
Most of the hard work of creating an online course comes from planning. Once you have a strong, concise, and clear plan as to how you want to go about your course, creating it is an absolute breeze and publishing is even easier.
The main thing to remember when creating a course is that you need a standout out course that meets demand without being a carbon copy of a thousand courses that are already available.
Finding that niche can be difficult, but once you do, you’re on to a real winner.
Once you’ve done that, it’s all about creating something exciting, engaging, and interactive. Remember the more fun that your students or employees are having while learning, the more that will sink in.
You want to ensure that you are making the most of images and videos, audio, transitions, and quizzes.
Knowing where to start can seem a little daunting or intimidating but so long as you follow any of the templates offered throughout this article, you are sure to have a course that will rise in popularity in no time at all.