How to Create an Online Course in 2020 [The Complete Guide]

First, some mind-blowing numbers. Global Industry Analysts reports that the online learning market will grow to a staggering total volume of $325 billion by 2025. The industry has been demonstrating a steady growth of 900% since 2000 without any signs of slowing down. 

Watching self-paced classes, learning foreign languages on-the-go, and working individually with a teacher by only using a smartphone is what makes more learners turn to digital education. The eLearning is becoming the main source of income for a growing number of teachers and professionals regardless of their geolocation, with many instructors making 6-figure profits and more. So, the perfect time to start your path in eLearning is today.

But, even if you’re seriously considering creating and selling an online course, lots of doubts may arise. Here some of the most common questions online instructors ask themselves:

  • What can I teach?
  • Where should I start?
  • How do I know if anybody will buy my course?
  • How much money can I make?
  • Will I be able to compete with instructors who have been on the market for a while?

The list can be endlessly continued. To address all the concerns you may have, we’ve created a comprehensive guide on how to get started with online courses. 

Creating your first course

Think of you what you will teach

Choosing what to teach is the first step in your create-a-course journey. And for many newbies, it’s the hardest one. Not to get stuck, consider 3 options and see what fits you best. 

Option #1 Be the expert

There is a high chance you’ve already gained knowledge and skills on what you do by day. Let’s say you’re a groomer. Or a certified fitness trainer. Or you’re a commercial real estate agent who knows all the tricks of b2b sales. If that’s the case, teach what you know. 

If you doubt your professional skills, there are other options.

Option #2: Teach what you do every day

You’ll be surprised how many things you would never consider money-bringing can become bestsellers on the market. One of the most prominent examples is the art of tidying by Mari Condo who teaches decluttering for comfortable living. Who could have thought that millions of people worldwide need advice and practical tips on how to organize stuff? 

So maybe you know how to track spendings and effectively save money by only using Excel. Or your grandma taught you 20 secret receipts for bread baking. Go ahead and teach others. 

Option #3: Share what you’ve learned 

Let’s pretend you’re a novice and want to learn something on your own – whether it’s designing in Sketch or cooking low-carb meals. You spend weeks reading articles on the internet, watching specialized videos on Youtube and trying to apply absorbed skills on the way. 

After hours spent, you are ready to share with others what you’ve learned. But more importantly, you remember all the pains and questions beginners face. Why not create a course that covers all those concerns and details to help rookies out there?

Creating an outline

Grab a notebook and write down the main points you want to cover. Structure your course by dividing large blocks into smaller subtopics. Drawing mind maps or using free apps like Trello can help visualize the process of content creation.

Duration of lessons 

Don’t overload lessons with information. Shoot short lessons – up to 10 minutes. With brief videos, it’s easier for students to follow and complete the course and revise it when needed.

And don’t focus on the length of a course. It may vary from 40 minutes to up to several hours. Your main purpose should be bringing valuable content, not the duration. 

Engage and interact with students

Instructors say only 1-5% of people enrolled finish the course. Students need to be motivated on the go. Add assignments, quizzes, downloadables, tests and encourage learners to apply newly gained skills. We all learn by doing. 

One of the approaches is to create a series of assignments that are parts of one big project. That way students see the connection between tasks and won’t skip the part they don’t really like. Offer certificates of completion that vary depending on the grades gained throughout the course. 

Shooting lessons

Creating a course varies from nothing to thousands of dollars. Start smart and don’t buy a fancy camera to create a course. You’re not shooting a Hollywood movie. Your iPhone camera can do the job of creating high-quality content that brings value to students. Your working desk and a whiteboard can be the perfect place for shooting a course. What matters to students is the hands-on skills they may acquire from your course, not the fancy decorations.

In your videos, look natural, positive and stay focused on what you teach. If you are camera-shy record a screen instead while showcasing or show slides with key points. 

Setting up a price

There is a correlation between the price of a course and its engagement rate. The cheaper your course is, the fewer people will complete it.

As for the cash, If you TELL students about a solution, set the price starting at $10  up to $50. If you DEMONSTRATE how to solve a problem, charge anywhere from $100 to $200. If you offer a comprehensive course with hours of practical advice that helps with serious business problems, you can price it anything over $200. When offering an expensive program, you should think of providing great customer support to your learners.

Always keep your course updated. For courses, being up-to-date is crucial. In 2020, having 2019 mentioned in the title may cause a tremendous drop in sales as your course starts looking outdated to learners.  

Marketing and promoting your course

Once your course is ready, switch to letting the world know about it. Use every possible way to promote your course. Advertising doesn’t only mean spending money on ads on social media. Consider options that cost you nothing except for your time.

Free webinars

Schedule a free webinar on a topic related to your course. Announce it via your Facebook or LinkedIn profiles. Invite as many people as you can. Tell attendees about interesting cases, common problems, and solutions. Make the webinar engaging and don’t sell your course right away. Instead, ask for an email to send useful materials or a free ebook for example. Build your community and an email list.

Direct sales

This option works great if you have no audience. Reach out to people who may potentially be interested in your course. LinkedIn is the best network for direct sales. Just don’t be pushy. You’ll hear “no” pretty often. Don’t take rejection personal. And remember: the sleeping fox catches no chickens. Take care of selling your course.

Pre-order Email Campaign

If you have an email list, create a pre-order course campaign offering good deals for early-bird registration. You can shoot a short video to tell more about the course. Make the copy sound friendly and don’t push – show the value. Use a limited-time offer to motivate students to take action faster.

Bottom line

The final and most important tip is: be self-confident and love what you do. Believing in your knowledge and skills will open up endless possibilities, don’t doubt yourself, be bold and risky. Don’t be afraid to share your experience with others – there is always someone out there who will love to know what you know.  

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  1. Like!! I blog frequently and I really thank you for your content. The article has truly peaked my interest.

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