How to Find the Next Big Idea for Your Online Course In 2021

COVID-19 has forced nearly every industry to enter a digital space just to stay away from any potential problems we faced because of the virus. And e-learning is no different in this scenario. Times are tough but, in fact, online education is booming and e-learning only keeps gaining popularity. Today, people do make decent money by selling online courses. This is a pretty darn good and legal way to earn an income in 2021. Got any big ideas for your next online courses? Feel exhausted trying to find them?

Yes, figuring out the next big and selling idea that would make a course successful can be quite challenging. In case everything seems vague, don’t give up thinking that you’re just wasting your efforts. Do some research or go to e-learning websites for more inspiration! There are plenty of popular online certification courses today in 2021 that can give you a hint.

Find your next big idea with 6 proven tips that we’ve listed here in this blog post. Read this article and learn how to generate an idea for your next online course that will help you to convert your extensive knowledge into cash!

Laptop with text elearning on a screen
Get Some Heads Up On Where To Start Generating Ideas

Any idea can become good and profitable if there is a demand for it. This is not much about the idea itself, but about the course content. And don’t forget about your target audience, of course! Start out by answering these simple questions that should help you figure out your next big idea for an online course or at least to get some insights:

  • What were the most awesome achievements that you had in your life?
  • Have you helped anyone else get good results in something?
  • What are you particularly skilled at?
  • What do you really love to do in your free time?
  • What’s your current job?
  • Do you think you can turn your skills or professional knowledge into a course/online training?

Whatever answers you came up with, a smart move for you would be to google for hints anyway. That way you’ll see what already out there exists on the topic that you’ve picked for a course idea.

Okay, let’s talk about what else you can do or what resources to use for finding a big idea for an online course that will sell well.

Tip 1. Find Out Which Courses Are In-Demand In 2021

Check the number of common courses that are categorized as “most popular” and are in demand in our current post-covid environment in 2021.

Here is a list of the most popular categories based on the popularity of online courses in these categories:

  • MS Excel basic or advanced level online courses
  • Google Ads analytics/measurement
  • Digital marketing (anything else that can be included in this category)
  • Programming – Python, R, SPSS, C++, Java
  • Social media marketing (including SEO)
  • App development courses
  • Artificial Intelligence/machine learning (models and applications)
  • Language courses
  • UX/UI design
  • Data scientist courses (including programming, data/business analytics, etc.)
  • Customer-centric training for professionals (journey mapping, service design, product development, and anything else related)
  • Digital graphics (check specific platforms like Adobe).
  • Video editing
Tip 2. Pick Through e-Learning Platforms For Insights

A bunch of e-learning platforms offers courses online today. They even put courses out for free or with good discounts, so keep an eye for good deals. Also, check out free online university certification courses/training (Harvard offers free online courses popular amongst learners). Read Udemy reviews, collect any useful info about particular courses that are doing really well and are highly rated.

Here is just a quick list of some particular e-learning websites that offer an excellent course structure:

  • Languages – Edx, Grinfer, Coursera, Udemy
  • Programming, AI, cloud technologies – Udacity, Edx, Grinfer
  • MS Excel, Python, DAX – Edu4sure, Grinfer
  • Digital marketing/SMM – Coursera, Grinfer, Hubspot, Edu4sure
  • UX/UI design – Futureskills, Grinfer
  • Google Ads – Google Skillshop
  • Data Science – Coursera, Udacity, Simplilearn
Tip 3. Think Through How Would Your Knowledge Help To Transform People’s Lives For The Better

Start by evaluating your own past achievements. Then dive into your past to remember whether you had an experience helping others with anything. Most importantly, remember whether your help was useful to people. If your knowledge was valuable and beneficial to others and helped people to get great results, use it. Find 2 or 3 people who would want to work with you on a 1-on-1 basis. Have some skin in the game and make them work hard! For example, put a 60-day limit on your training program which will potentially increase the desire on their side to achieve goals.

Document everything, like:

  • Conversations between you and your students;
  • Learners’ breakthroughs;
  • Important questions/issues you dealt with during training;
  • Learners’ objections.

Again, track any areas where you were really helpful and where your knowledge was the most effective to learners in achieving goals. For example, maybe you were the one who pointed out to your learner that the cause of a problem, which they were trying to resolve through your training, lies in a completely different area that they initially had in their head. And consequently, your advice led to much better and improved processes that really made the difference. And that’s how you can get a big idea for your next online course!

Tip 4. Put Your Thinking Cap On Such Course Content That Would Engage People

Keep your mind on crisp and interesting content for your next online training course. No doubt, content is always the “meat of the meal” but don’t forget to make it digestible. Basically, high-quality content should be comprehensible and inviting to learners. But the main goal is to keep it engaging and provide such a quality of information that would be ranked as “very useful” by online learners during these covid times.

Also, think about what examples, blog posts, live streams, podcasts, presentations, and case studies you can include in your online course. But make sure they aren’t too long or hard to understand because otherwise, your learners can feel disinterested in the training.

Make a rough draft and outline all important topics that you want to teach, keep sub-categories in bullet points for easy reading. Keep in mind some questions we listed below while drafting outlines for your next online course:

  • Why would learners need this information?
  • What particularly useful willl my online course provide to them?
  • What if they won’t receive desired outcomes?
  • What can I do to improve learning, if needed?

Once you get an interesting insight, think through it and validate the idea. Reach out to people that potentially might be interested in your course for a brief interview. One way to go about it is to hand them out questionnaires and ask them to fill them out. Tell them that the most honest answers will be greatly appreciated. After you got your information all sorted out, now evaluate an estimated number of people who are interested in the topic and would want to learn from you.

Tip 5. Make A Collab With Someone Who Has Similar Knowledge And Experience

If you have a good blog or a strong distribution network, you can collaborate with someone who would help you to make content that sells. For example, some course creators ask collaborators to do videos together. If they believe in your ability to distribute, you can share profits with them later as an affiliate marketer too. This option takes minimal effort on your part and does not cost anything out of pocket.

An obvious benefit of collaboration is in future promotions. The thing is that once you make a collab with somebody who already got a bunch of followers, this will increase your chances for successful promotions of your online course in the future. 

For example, you’ve created a course on meditation techniques. Wouldn’t it be awesome to partner with somebody who has published a nice book on meditation? If this author received recognition from, let’s say, over 20,000 people who have bought his published work, odds are a great number of them will be willing to buy your course as well. Especially if it was suggested to them by one of their favorite authors.

Tip 6. Generate An Idea From Learning Objectives

Basically, learning objectives are all about finishing the following sentence:

“By the end of the course/chapter/module, you’ll understand this, calculate the following, create a…, assemble a…, etc.” Use learning objectives for grouping them later altogether and turning them into topics. Those groups of learning objectives later can become sections/chapters/modules of your upcoming course.

Turn each learning objective onto a document of some kind and keep handy for future pages, slides, or whatever visual or textual content you’re going to use – diagrams, images, video or audio files, etc. Mix them up and make the content type suit the topic. Software training? Great! Record yourself going through the screens and see how it looks. Then write down review questions for each learning objective. In fact, the more people test themselves, the more they learn!


When you are online, there is an abundance of information at your fingertips. So, use information wisely for finding your next big idea! You can go to billions of web pages to dig for information. The good thing about the Internet is that you can always go to a different place and won’t get stuck on one particular website.

Also, be sure about the purpose of the online course that you’re going to work on and build with all resources that you already have on hand. Do some planning ahead of time no matter whether it’s an instructional course or a skill-based training program.

Finally, pick a good e-learning platform that would host your course and provide you everything that you need for successful marketing. You know that in 2021 there are plenty of online educational platforms. Most of them, will let you build, upload, and market your online courses in an easy way.

So, once you generate your great idea, start building your future best-selling course with Grinfer!

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