How To Create an Online Course

Today, I will be showing you how to create online courses that attract students/learners like magnet.

A lot of people go with this common belief, that the process of making online courses requires a lot of money to create them but this teaching will show you the contrary. If you are passionate about creating profitable online courses, you can achieve that at no cost at all.

Making successful online courses is liking creating powerful magnets

It is true that money can be used to haste up some specific steps while creating online courses but it is not the major determining factor for having a successful online course.

I will be showing the real determining factors in designing successful online courses. These factors are the steps that I will be showing in this write up below.

But I must say it really requires time and effort and most importantly is reaching out to your target audience and creating a value reaching course outlines.  These are some of the keys to successful online courses.

If you are creating your online course for the first time, I will advise you to follow these steps closely.

Here are the steps of how to create an online course:

  1. Choose Your Course Topic
  2. Identify the Target Audience
  3. Gather and Structure Your Knowledge
  4. Create an Online Course Outline
  5. Choose Your Online Course Software or Platform
  6. Create the Course Content
  7. Launch your online course
  8. Conclusion: Adapt, Improve and Update



Choose Your Course Topic

The common saying- if you fail to plan you have indeed plan to fail. This is truly applicable here. You make a plan for a successful online course by first choosing a topic for your course.

Your topic could be a niche of your expertise or something you are passionate about that can be of value to your students.

Your course topic will determine your audience, your method of teaching, and a lot of factors. So, it is important to decide on a specific course topic at the starting phase of developing your online course.

Be as specific as possible.

Do not try to do so much a topic in your first course. This is common with first-timer, who always have this misconception that the more you dish out the better it becomes.

From the students’ point of view- that might be too burdensome and overwhelming. And also from a profitability point of view, it is a no-no. focusing more on short courses is more profitable than a single huge course. The smaller course gives room for improvement and can be sold individually.

You need to ask yourself the following questions before you pick a topic for your course:

  • Are you an expert on the topic?
  • Is there enough demand for the topic?
  • How deep will you go into the topic?

Go through these questions carefully, they will be your foundation for the online course you are about to build.

Are you an expert on the topic?

Before you can ever think of creating an online course, you should have had some measurable level of expertise in your chosen subject of teaching.

You don’t just feel like teaching; you should have shown some level of demonstrable expertise.

This will make a big difference in establishing the trustworthiness of yourself to your students.

My advice is don’t start a topic that you are not good at and comfortable with.

 Is there enough demand for the topic?

Sometimes you have to give a sincere answer to this question, is there enough demand for the topic you about to create.

it is not enough to be an expert in the topic but do you have the required audience to be successful.

In economics, I was taught the forces of market demand and supply.

Don’t be too excited about the topic but do you have demand for the topic.

Some tools help you know if there are demands for the course topics, such as tools like Google trends, FutureLearn, edX, Coursera, etc

If this is answered you then go ahead with the next step.

How deep will you go into the topic?

The depth of your topic also matters. Are you creating the topic for beginners, intermediate, or professionals?

This will determine how deep your course should be.

It will be so unnecessary to create a very deep course for a beginner’s class, what you should be more bothered about is getting across the basic details to the students.



Identify the Target Audience

After you have gone through the first step of choosing the topic for the online course. The next thing is to identify and define your target audience.

A target audience is the group of people to whom you are writing your course.

Here again, there is a need for you to be specific, you need to know the type of people that are interested in your course, and this will take you to the level of identifying them.

There are things you need to use to identify your audience:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Level of education
  • Employment status

Defining these demographics stated above is not always an easy process.

The use of social media will help simplify the process of target audience research

Using Social Media for Target Audience Research

Social media platforms have become a must-use tool for target audience research. With social media, you can put up a post and also measure the response.

I will share with you, one great method of using social media for audience research:

  1. Look for Facebook groups in the topic area you are planning to teach.
  2. Create a group post which describes your wish to make an online course
  3. Ask the people who interact with your post for a one-on-one interview.
  4. Alternatively, you could set up an online course survey.
  5. Gather data about the audience and their learning wishes
  6. Analyze the data and try to find similarities between the answers from different people
  7. You now know who is your target audience and what they want to learn.



Gather and Structure Your Knowledge

You need to build a system and structure around your knowledge in order to build a successful course.

After you have determined what to teach, the people that will be taught and you have gotten something of value to teach, then the next thing is to get started with the course itself.

Which means you need to get your knowledge together

Knowledge as they said is power, but knowledge alone is not enough, you have to master the art of delivering it a way the will make sense and acceptable to the learners, and also make it easily understood.

So, once you do have the right amount of knowledge and understanding, you’ll have to structure it up.

You have to consider the following points while making your online course structure:

  • What should be learned at the beginning
  • What should be saved for later?
  • What logically connects one topic to another?
  • At what point can a student be considered as having learned enough about the subject?

With the right system and structure, it will be easy to teach the students and they will have an equally easier time understanding what you are trying to teach.



Create an Online Course Outline

You have put together your knowledge, that’s great!

Trying to develop an outline for your online course will not happen in a day.

What you need is to be consistent!

The next thing is to think about how to deliver your knowledge to your students.

At this point, you know what you are going to teach but you now need how you are going to teach it.

I will show you how to create an outline for an online course below

  • Identify the primary learning outcome
  • List the skills necessary for achieving the primary learning outcome
  • Use the skill checklist to create course modules
  • Set learning goals for your course modules

 Identify the Primary Learning Outcome

What you want the students to achieve at the end of the day is regarded as your primary learning outcome. The following should be what your learning objectives should be:

  • What would they have learned after completing your course
  • What can they do have with your course after they have completed it?
  • what are the skills to apply?
  • All in all, what are the values would your target audience be deriving from completing your course

These learning objectives will greatly help both you and the students.

  • It will help you to organize your materials,
  • It will help you to answer the question of how relevant is what am doing to the learning outcome of the students

For the students

  • It will help them to create a goal
  • It will help them to be motivated to finish the course

Create a Skill Checklist

For to create an effective online course outline, it important to start determining what skills are needed for the students.

After you have gotten the right skill checklist, you can use it to create a course module



Choose Your Online Course Software or Platform

Now that you are done with creating your course outline, the next thing is to decide where you will put all your courses. You can create a website of your own, or use an existing online course platform like Coursera or Trainquarters.

But you must know that these platforms have their good sides and the bad sides.

Looking at these ups and downs of these platforms, there are factors you must consider in creating your online course

There are some points you must note while choosing an online course platform

  • Do you have total control of your course?
  • Do you have total control of your brand?
  • Do you have total control of your pricing?
  • Do you have total control of your marketing?
  • Do have total control of attracting students
  • Do you have total control in dealing with payment?

There are so many online course platforms such as Udemy, Google open Online, Coursera, Thinkific, Teachable, Trainquarters etc. options are depending on your preference.

With this, let me recommend Trainquarters based on my preference as a Nigerian with a Nigerian target audience.

It has got a good suite of features to control the course, it’s user-friendly, it works with a lot of online course design templates, and it’s got a lot of options for monetization.

And also Trainquarters is integrated with Paystack, a Nigeria payment gateway. You can get started with a 14-day free trial, register here.



Create the Course Content

I must say congratulations if you have gotten to this point, every seemingly obstacles are out of the way, you are now set to start building your online course.

For you to design a beautiful online course, you need to focus attention on the following:

  • Choosing the types of online course content, you’ll be using
  • Writing, recording and editing your content
  • Establishing grading & assessment methods

 Types of Online Course Content

This section is focusing on how you will present your lesson, considering the advantages and disadvantages of choosing your mode of presentation.

Here are the three primary types of online course content you can create:

  • Text content
  • Video & Image content
  • Screencasting content

If you combine these primary types of online courses, you will have engaging online courses though this is dependent on your course topic.

Now, let’s have a closer look at each type of online course content.

Text Content

This is more or less of classic lectures, that consist of text.  This method consists of a series of text-only lectures.

Obviously, this will be so boring for your students who would have preferred a written book or some blog posts to text content based online course

Video & Image Content

An easy way to make online courses more engaging is to stimulate the student visually. This means pictures and videos. The simplest method of using picture and videos in an online course would be constructing your online class more like a PowerPoint presentation:

  • Toss in some relevant videos (or even better – create your own)
  • Add relevant images to accompany blocks of text
  • Talk through each “slide” with a good microphone and solid articulation

Screencasting Content

And, of course, since you do have a computer of your own, you’ve got another option. Screencasting is still considered video, but this time it’s not a video of yourself, but rather your computer screen. You can optionally have a second camera focusing on you if you have physical material you’d like to show the students as well. In this case, you will show your computer screen to the students while leaving a small window to show the teacher. We have found that combinations of screencasting and “teacher cams” work wonders for student engagement. Give it a try.


Launch your online course


If I may say, the last step to creating an online course is to launch your online course.

This is the point you need to sell your online course.

You have to know how to sell your online course.

I will quickly state out some methods you can always use to use your online course:

  • Problem: you need to describe the problem your students are facing, this will, in turn, make them align with you, because if you understand their problem and they will assume you will give them a solution and that more reason you have created the course at the first instance.
  • Agitate: This is where you rub salt on the wound. You dig deeper into the problem. Make them feel what they are missing out on if they don’t solve it. But don’t overdo it.
  • Solution: now that they are fully aware of their problem, quickly state the solutions to them, let them be aware of what they will missing if they don’t the necessary steps in addressing their problems
  • Outcome: the next is to show their desire, what they will become if they take your course.

 Another point to consider while launching your online course is to create a Community for Your Online Course, this will help your students’ interactions and discourages social isolation.

Gather Feedback for Your Online Course

Teaching is a two-way street, and to properly gauge how effective you are, you need the means to check that your students are understanding your lessons correctly. Good feedback is an integral element of how to design an effective online course.


Adapt, Improve and Update

From what you have learned from this write-up, you see that creating an online course will take a great deal of time and effort on your side. And it also requires flexibility.

There will always be room for adjusting, improving, and updating your online courses as the time goes by based on the feedback you are getting.

There you have it the easy steps to creating an online course of your choice.

If you have any questions or comments, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below.

Looking to learning from your course you have created through these steps!

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