How to Create Online Courses
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There’s a growing trend for online courses and it’s only getting bigger.
Right now, the e-learning market is valued at USD $190 billion with an expected growth of 7% by 2025.
If you’ve been thinking about tapping into this market, now is your time to do it. However, if you’re not sure how to get started, this article will guide you through everything you need to know to create online courses.
- Choose Your (Profitable) Idea
- Test Your Idea
- Create Your Course Content
1. Choose Your (Profitable) Idea
You can create a course on anything you know. In fact, you could even create a course on something you’re learning right now.
You don’t have to be a world-leading expert on the topic you provide, however, you do have to focus on providing value to your students.
Here’s the thing, the internet is exploding with courses on every topic imaginable:
- How to fly a drone
- Oil painting
- Spiritual healing & meditation
- Digital marketing
- Dog walking
- And more…
The question to ask yourself is: WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO TEACH?
This is the starting point for creating online courses. And, you should choose something that…
- You’re passionate about doing (and teaching);
- You can make money doing it.
Obviously, passion will keep you motivated to create and market your course. But the real money comes from a topic that people want to learn and have a willingness to pay for it.
If you want to create a course simply to share your knowledge, go for it. On the other hand, if you want to create a course to earn revenue, passive income, or a livelihood, CHOOSE A PROFITABLE IDEA.
Think about this: if your online course idea is new and never been done before, do you really think people are willing to pay for this?
Most likely, there’s a reason its never been done and that’s because no one is interested in buying it.
Alternatively, if you’re creating a course on a topic that’s already created, that’s a good thing. It means that there’s a market out there and students willing to learn.
Here are a few strategies to finding and creating a profitable online course:
- Create a list of all the questions, concerns, and problems people ask you or want advice on;
- Identify all the top struggles your clients, customers, or fans deal with all the time;
- What are people’s pain and how can you solve it? You might have to research the real problems people have to create a course that can solve it.
Just as in any business selling a product or service, point number 3 is critical. People have a problem that pains them and the seek an answer to relieve it.
So, focus your course on a problem people have – AND – actively seek a solution for it.
Be as specific as possible when creating a course centered around a problem. It will make the solution easy to implement for your students but also easy to sell for you.
2. Test Your Idea
Do you have a great (profitable) idea for your online course?
Well, before investing any time and money to create it, consider testing your idea first.
You can start by asking your friends and family, but this often leads to a biased result. To get real results from real people who would be interested in buying your course, there are a few things you can try:
Test Idea #1: Free Webinar
Instead of creating a full-featured 12+ hour course, why not create a “crash-course” that’s just 20-minutes long?
Creating an educational webinar on the topic of your course allows you to identify who’s interested and willing to dedicate their time learning about it.
You can record a webinar using a camera and props or create a slideshow guiding viewers through your content.
Consider this a condensed version of your main course which covers just enough information to grab people’s attention and have them wanting to come back for more (i.e. the full course).
Test Idea #2: Free Email Course
Wouldn’t it be easier to send 6 to 8 simple emails than creating videos, worksheets, landing pages, and additional resources?
Creating a mini-email course that delivers value to people’s inbox is a simple strategy to:
- Validate your course topic…
- Building an email list of future students.
You won’t need anything more than an email automation provider to run your course and get results.
Test Idea #3: Pre-sale
Imagine selling your course before you made it?
This might sound like a scam but that’s only if you don’t deliver what you promise.
What you can do is create a landing page and use a call to action like “pre-sale special” with a discounted price for first time students.
You can send it out to your audience or run some ads to test engagement and interest.
You don’t necessarily have to take money upfront but instead, use this idea as a lead generation campaign. As you collect emails, you can market your published course later.
Alternatively, some course creators offer the first module or lesson then continue to create the remaining sections of their course once they reach a certain student threshold.
3. Create Your Course Content
If this is your first-time creating a course, it can feel overwhelming to come up with a multi-week course that doesn’t bore or torture your students.
There’s a lot of information you can provide, however, just how much should you include to ensure that your course delivers what you promise?
The first this to do is start small.
You can start by recording 3 to 5 short videos with a worksheet to go with it. That counts as an online course.
Then, if you have bigger ideas to offer more content, you can use this small sample as an introductory offer for those unwilling or not-yet-ready to buy the full (and higher priced) course.
To make things simple, brainstorm your course content ideas and create an outline that segments each module/lesson/section of the course.
Here’s an example of an introductory course to Digital Marketing:
- Understand the “Digital Umbrella”
- Target Your Ideal Market
- Digital Marketing Strategies & Hacks
- Optimize Every Element
- Increase Conversions & Sales
In this course outline, each step leads to the ultimate goal: getting more conversions and sales via digital marketing.
This is exactly what you should do when creating your course. Start with introductory content then gradually provide more information that solves a problem and builds their confidence or skills.
Create “Consumable” Course Content
Most online courses are delivered in video format, either as a video with an instructor or a screen recording of a presentation.
The duration of course modules are typically between 5 to 10 minutes. The maximum length should be no more than 20 minutes long.
Course content should be consumable and broken down into smaller sections if you are covering an in-depth topic. If course modules are too long, students will tune out and lose interest to complete it.
At the same time, try not to worry too much on production quality. This can be something to be improved with time, however, your primary intention should be teaching valuable content.
You can use any method to produce your course, text, audio, or video, but as mentioned, video is the most popular.
You don’t have to hire high-end professionals to shoot your videos. You can use a simple camera or your smartphone then polish the content with easy-to-edit tools.
If you’re creating a screen recording, Camtasia is a popular tool to use.
Once you have decided the format for your content, the next thing to do is create it. Be sure to take the time to review and edit the content. You don’t have to be a perfectionist, but ensuring that tone and style is consistent are a couple of the fine details to include in the final product.
Then, include a few worksheets and resources for added value to your course. For worksheets, use PDF files so they are easy to download and print out. If you don’t know how to do that, simply click on “File” then search for “Download as…” or “Save as…” and choose PDF.
Once you have created your online course, its ready to publish and sell online. To learn more about how to publish your online course and how to find students, read this.