The online course industry is bringing in billions of dollars per year. If you’ve been thinking about creating an online course, there’s never been a better time to do it.
Here are 7 tips to help you create a course your students will love:
1. Keep Your Course Short
People don’t finish long courses that drag on for months. I remember a few years ago I paid a hefty price for a year long marketing course. The course had 40 modules. 40!
To say that course was overwhelming would be a huge understatement. 2,000 people signed up, but only two or three actually completed it.
These days even four modules can feel overwhelming to some people, so you want to try to keep your course as short as you can. You don’t need to include every last bit of information. You just need to include what’s most relevant for your students or clients to make it to the end goal.
The more time people have to spend learning, the more time it will take them to achieve their goal. And while some courses do need to be longer than others, you don’t want yours to be any longer than necessary.
2. Make Your Course Visually Interesting
Whether you’re creating your online course in video, emails, blog posts, or even audios – you need to make it visually interesting. This will grab attention and help your students to recall information later.
This is easy to do with video. You just need some great looking slides, or if you’re doing live action video you can edit in some screen shots or photos to make your points.
But what about audio? What can you do for that?
You can create an action guide or workbook for people to use as they listen to your audio and include plenty of photos or graphics.
You can also create a cover for your audio – a graphic representation that people see before they listen. This can easily be done in Canva.
3. Make It Easy To Understand
Have you ever read a set of instructions that left you scratching your head? Maybe you were trying to put together a piece of furniture and it wasn’t clear how the pieces fit together or which screws should go where.
Or maybe you just wanted to bake a cake but the directions didn’t seem complete, or there was something left out of the recipe.
You don’t want to do this to your students!
When you’re creating an online course, you need to think about the experience your students are going to have as they go through it. You want the experience of learning something new to be exciting, not frustrating.
To do this, make sure everything is presented in a logical order, and that your instructions are easy to understand.
If you’re not using video, use visual aids wherever you can. No where is it more true that a picture is worth a thousand words than in a course! Showing someone a photo of how to do something works better than telling them audibly or with text. This is why video is so popular. People instantly understand what they can see.
4. Keep The Tech Simple
There’s almost nothing worse than signing up for a course, ready and excited to start, and not being able to figure out how to get into it.
If your course is comprised of blog posts or email this may not be a problem for you. Most people know how to find a blog or open up an email.
But if you’re using audios, videos, or some combination of the two with PDF’s, you’re going to need a way to keep it all organized so your students can find what they need when they need it.
There are some different ways to do this. Probably the most popular way is to use a course platform such as Ruzuku or Podia. A course platform will let you upload your course materials (videos, audios, PDF’s) and help you organize it into logical lessons.
If you have a WordPress website, you could also use a plug-in to organize your courses. The most popular plug-in for this is Learndash.
You may need a membership plug-in and a shopping cart in order to sell your courses with any plug-in you choose, so be sure to look into this.
Whichever route you consider, you want to look at it from your student’s point of view. How easy will it be for them to find their way around?
5. Break it up into “bite sized” chunks
When creating an online course, you not only want to keep the course short overall, you also want to break it up into easily digestible bits.
Most people do this by creating modules or lessons that go out on a regular basis – such as weekly.
Then, each lesson is organized into even smaller parts that can be completed in a short period of time – such as 30 minutes.
Breaking up your course and lessons into smaller chunks helps your students progress without feeling overwhelmed. Instead, they’ll feel like they can actually get through each lesson which will motivate them to finish the course.
6. Create A Course Your Market Wants And Needs
Nothing is more disappointing than spending the time (and money!) to create a course that nobody wants. Your course should fill a want (and preferably a need as well) in the market place.
If you have a list of people in your market that you are in regular contact with, you can ask them a few simple questions to find out what they want.
If you don’t have a list, a little market research will help you find the answers you need. Social media, forums, and even Amazon are great places to do market research.
If you have a sizeable audience on social media you can post your questions and ask for replys. Or you can create a poll.
In forums you can search for terms related to your subject matter to see what people have posted.
And on Amazon you can read reviews of best selling books in your industry.
Doing a little research now can save you a lot of heartache later!
7. Keep It Fresh And Fun
Creating an online course doesn’t necessarily mean set it and forget it. You may need to update your course from time to time.
For example, if you’ve created a course about how to use any kind of online technology, you’ll need to update your course as that technology changes. All technology changes over time – either for security reasons or because the technology becomes improved, or both.
You also want to create a fun experience for your students. Fun means your students can glide through your course without frustration or complication. Taking your course should be stress free.
You can also add to the fun with a little gamification. Some course platforms have this built in. You can create quizes and polls, and award students points and badges or certificates.
Social sharing while going through the course also adds to the fun as well as the learning experience. You can create a private forum in some platforms, or you can create a private facebook group for students.
Progress tracking also adds to the experience. It helps students see how far they’ve come and how far they have to go. As students progress through each lesson, seeing their progress can be very encouraging.
Creating a course is exciting but it’s also a lot of work. I hope these 7 tips will make things easier and more fun for you and your students!
If you found this post helpful please leave me a comment below.
With you every step of the way,
PS: If you’re worried your online course business won’t be successful, read my post on “How To Be Successful In Your Online Business.”
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