Online courses can be a great deal to share your creative talents with the world and maybe even make a little extra cash. Online courses can range from free to upwards of $1,000/month and can be a helpful in making a side hustle, if you have impactful insight. There is a market in online courses for all types of skills including: Adobe tutorials, business fundamentals or even cooking basics. While, there are many affordable platforms out there to help you create an online course like Teachable, Udemy, Coursera and Thinkific, creating the actual content for your course can be tough. Here are five tips to help you create killer content for any course.
1. Organize Course Content into Sections and Lectures
First things first, when writing your course content consider the time frame your potential students should complete your course in. Colorado State University suggests that you, “provide students with the flexibility they need to work around job, family, or other schedules; busy students.” While your potential students may not be college students, they will still have other obligations throughout their daily routine. Take this in consideration when developing your time frame. Will your course take a few hours or a few months to complete? Before you begin writing, do your best to organize and divide the content either into lectures or weekly sections with a series of tasks. This will help your students manage their time in effectively completing your course.
In addition, it can be very beneficial to write a course “table of contents” or “summary timeline,” so your students are informed on what objectives they should be learning throughout their experience. Not only does this tactic help your students achieve, it will provide info on your end in measuring how well each objective is met by your students. Take this a step further by adding a short recap quiz at the end of each quiz to prevent your students from falling behind. Lastly, try using triggered emails to remind your students to stay on track throughout the course. This organization will create a positive learning environment for you and your customers.
2. Create Different Types of Content
Most often people tend to associate video content with online courses, but there is a variety of content forms that you should include in your online course to ensure success for all students. According to Chelsi Nakano from the Prezi blog, there are four different types of learning styles: visual learners, auditory learners, reading/ writing learners and kinesthetic learners. In order to cultivate the best learning for each of your students, create a broad range of content.
I recommend first writing your content and then film videos to correspond. Your written content could range from full paragraphs to a quick list of key facts. Add informative diagrams or visually appealing photos. Video content could consist of a demo video with a voice over or even just you talking to the camera. Some topics are just easier to explain in a visual form. Lastly, consider adding downloadable or printable worksheets or tools that your student can use to follow along. Mixing these types of content together, even if they seem repetitive, can foster further learning for your customers and caters to their variety of needs.
3. Add Attitude
The most important tool you can use when creating an online course is yourself. Make sure to add your voice and attitude. This is also the most fun part. Your customers bought the course to hear from you, so show them all your personality. Reflect on your own experience to provide real world examples. This will help make your content more relatable and easier to understand.
In addition, this tactic will generally make your course far more entertaining, but also make it more memorable for your customers. Doc Richey from Quroa, explains that people are more mentally connected to topics that interest them, which in turns means they will be easier to remember. Richey says, “it is ok for these connections to be subjective and not mean much to many more than yourself as long as it helps you remember what you are trying to store in your memory files”. This means that if something is funny or entertaining, they can be longer lasting in your memory. To everything in your power to add attitude and personality in order to create a prominent effect on your students.
4. Foster a Community for your Students
In addition to your original content, you should consider using technology to facilitate a peer- to- peer learning in your virtual classroom. Create online discussion forums for students to debate central topics to widen their perspectives and deepen their understanding. Pose key questions for your students to answer or share realistic scenarios for them to contemplate. For a more social aspect, consider inviting all your students to a Facebook group where they can support each other. This way students can ask questions and teach themselves. Not only does this provide many advantages for your students, it also limits the amount of questions you may have to answer yourself. This support could also include positive feedback between peers, creating a strong self- esteem and pride within your classroom.
Even if you are an expert in your field, it can sometimes be difficult to organize your thoughts in a clear, concise content. Use these best practices to elevate your online course and deepen the learning opportunities for your students. Not only will your customers be more satisfied with your product, but you will in return sell far more courses.
Digital Marketing Content Intern
Cecilia is a strategic communications major at UW-Madison with certification in digital studies and entrepreneurship. She has three years of social media and public relations experience, and integrates her photography skills on social platforms. Cecilia just returned from Galway, Ireland while studying abroad this past semester!more posts by Cecilia →