How To Launch An Online Course: A Beginner’s Guide
Part I: Getting the basics right
Have you been thinking about launching your own online course but don’t know where to begin?
If so, you’re not alone.
Many people are curious about online course launching but put it off out of fear and anxiety. Little do they know that they are missing out on a lot of money and freedom by allowing their fears to stop them from creating their online course.
Why should you create an online course?
According to Global Market Insights, the E-Learning market size surpassed USD 250 billion in 2020 and is anticipated to grow at an exponential CAGR of over 21% between 2021 and 2027.
Though creating an online course requires some tech know-how, the benefits of building an online course greatly outweigh the negatives. The reason for this is that online course creators are making a full-time living selling their online courses. This incredible monetary payoff is worth the effort of creating an online course.
Luckily for you, launching an online course does not have to be difficult. With the help of this guide, you will learn key aspects of a successful online course launch.
Getting the basics right
Before launching your online course, it is important to know the basics of online courses. Knowing these basics will allow you to determine if an online course is right for you and what you should be striving for in terms of online course creation.
In this article, we will look at what an online course entails, the benefits of creating an online course, and the attributes of a successful online course.
What is an online course?
An online course is a mini tutoring session or class that you can take from the comfort of your home. These courses can be on a number of different topics, ranging from yoga to calculus. These courses are created and taught by a number of professionals, which includes PhDs and hobbyists.
To put it simply, online courses are often created by academics and hobbyists alike and accessed via a mobile device, tablet, or web browser. What makes online courses so great is that they can be enjoyed from your home at your own pace.
What this means is that you do not have to have a lot of time to take an online course. All you need is a way to access the course and internet connection. You can take it at your own pace, and you do not have to be embarrassed if you are starting from scratch on the topic.
Another great benefit of online courses is that they can be free or cost little. This allows more people to gain a deeper understanding of a topic without spending a lot of money on classes. Additionally, some of these courses even offer certifications, which can be used to boost resumes or experiences.
A creator uses their knowledge or experience in a particular topic to create lessons that are uploaded online. These lesson plans can include worksheets, readings, or video tutorials. They put these resources on a platform or website that potential customers can reach and then use.
What are the benefits of an online course?
Online courses are beneficial to the students because it allows them easy access to more information. These courses can be used alone to further a student’s knowledge, or they can be used in junction with another class to help the student better understand the topic as a whole. More so, many online courses are free, which allows students to get an education without going into more debt. At the same time, online courses are very beneficial to the creator as well.
Attributes of a successful online course
In order for the creator to make money off their online course, the course must have several attributes. Without these attributes, customers will immediately assume that the online course may not be worth their time or money. Here are the attributes of a successful online course:
1. Quality Content
Online courses must have quality content. In other words, the content must be factually accurate and up-to-date. If the content is not relevant, students will not waste their money on it.
2. Multimedia Use
Another attribute of a successful online course is the use of multiple media outlets. Since it is online, you have access to a number of different learning tools. And since there are many different types of learners, you should use a variety of multimedia tools in order to reach the most amount of students possible.
3. Good Pacing
Successful online courses also have correct pacing. What this means is that the course needs to be structured so that way it is neither overwhelming nor underwhelming. You want to make the lesson sizes digestible but challenging at the same time.
4. User-Friendly Setup
A user-friendly setup is another attribute of successful online courses. You do not want your students confused about where to go or what to do. Instead, they should be able to figure it out themselves because of the user-friendly setup.
The final attribute of a successful online course is that it is self-directed. What this means is that the student has to have enough space to be able to go at their own pace and learn the way that they see fit. The reason for this is that most online students are busy and need to be able to tailor the course to their busy lives.
Is an online course right for you?
With this in mind, you may be wondering, “Is an online course right for me?” To help you better answer this question, here is a series of questions you should ask yourself:
- Am I passionate about a particular topic?
- Am I highly knowledgeable or skilled on a particular topic?
- Do I want to help other people learn about a skill?
- Would I still teach people on this topic even if I wasn’t getting paid?
If you answered yes to all four questions, then creating an online course could be your next best move. The topic or niche you choose must be in high demand in the market if you are to gain students and make money.
How can you can test the demand for a topic?
- See if there are courses on the same topic (visit online course platforms such as Udemy, Skillshare and Coursera to identify trending topics)
- Research future demands of the topic (udemy.com offers a really good tool to help you do this)
- Pre-sell your course idea (this means you sell your course without making it. This helps you identify if there is a demand for your course before you spend time and money creating it)
After you research the demand for your topics, select the topic that you are passionate about, educated on, and has the highest market demand.
Creating engaging learning outcomes
The next step to creating a successful online course is creating engaging learning outcomes.
Learning outcomes are direct yet engaging sentences that tell potential customers exactly what they will learn from your course. If you do not have good learning outcomes, fewer people will purchase your product.
Here’s why: Have you ever looked at a product and were unsure about what the product actually offers you?
Chances are, you did not buy that product. The same goes for online courses. If customers do not understand the offerings of your course, they will not buy it. In order for customers to purchase your course, they must believe that the course offers them something unique that they can use in their lives. More specifically, customers must have a clear idea of what they will get from your course and why they should take yours over another online course.
The best way to convince a customer to take your course is to create engaging and informative learning outcomes. When drafting your learning outcomes, think about the most important things that the student will take away from the course.
You do not want to add filler topics in your learning outcomes. Instead, make sure that the learning outcomes are tailored to the course’s main topic and parallel the course’s title.
As you write course outcomes, you want the sentences to be punchy, informative, and engaging. Make sure to use action verbs and be confident in the phrasing. Do not use filler words.
Additionally, be detailed in what the course offers. Think about answering “What, how, and why?” when creating the course outcomes. Let’s take a look at some course outcome examples: Imagine that your online course is about “Time Management.” Here is an example of a weak learning outcome: “Learn how to manage your time.” This learning outcome is weak because it does not tell the reader how they will learn to manage their time. Instead, this learning outcome simply restates the topic of the course.
Here is a better version of the same learning outcome: “Learn how to manage your time using the Pomodoro Technique.” This learning outcome is better because it tells the reader exactly what they will learn in the course.
Why you need to create a clear and quantifiable goal for your online course
In addition to the learning outcomes, you also need to set course goals for yourself. Course goals are goals that you set for yourself and your online course.
They are incredibly important because they will give you a quantifiable direction and allow you to evaluate the success of your online course. In other words, course goals are meant to give you direction and give you something to chase after.
When creating course goals, you want them to be clear and quantifiable. If they are not quantifiable, you will have no way of consistently gauging the success of your online course. Include numbers and hard facts into these course goals.
Let us look at examples of good and weak course goals: Here is an example of a weak course goal: “Make money from the online course.” This is a weak course goal because it is not specific. Though you may make some money and check this goal off your list, it does not give you a clear direction. You want your course goals to give you clear direction so you can accurately gauge the effectiveness of the course.
Here is a better version of that same course goal: “Make $1,000 from this online course,” or “Sell course to 40 customers at $25 each.” This goal is much better because it is easily measured and will allow you to easily quantify the success of your online course.
In the next article, I will explore how to engage your potential students and pre-sell your online course.
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