People have moved on from flashy marketing and empty promotions; they want value.
Whether you’re a business, course creator, training manager, or teacher, having a course is a great way to share your knowledge with your target audience.
You can create an online course and promote your offerings while enlightening your audience and giving them something valuable.
But all this still isn’t enough to understand the need for creating an online course, is it?
So, let’s start with the basics and work our way up to discover how to create an online course with easy steps.
What Is an Online Course?
An online course is an educational program delivered over the internet. This allows learners worldwide to access these programs through an online training platform, such as a learning management system (LMS).
Online courses can cover a wide range of topics and can be designed for various levels of learners, from beginners to professionals.
Online courses can be offered by universities, colleges, K-12, businesses, non-profits, government agencies, or subject-matter experts. Generally, these courses include engaging elements like videos, interactive quizzes, forums, and live webinars, and learners can engage in self-paced learning.
The ability to access anytime, anywhere and flexibility in scheduling are other hallmarks of an online course.
Why Create an Online Course?
There are many reasons to create an online course. It offers several benefits to individuals or businesses that are using it for different purposes. So, we’ve segregated the benefits into three broad categories based on who creates it and why.
Benefits of creating an online course for businesses:
- Potentially gain more customers or clients by educating them on industry-related trends.
- You can sell courses and increase revenue streams as an additional source of income.
- It helps develop credibility and establish authority in your industry.
- It allows you to emerge as an industry leader by showing your expertise and knowledge.
Benefits of creating an online course for training managers:
- Enables managers to streamline employee training through training automation.
Watch: How to Create Employee Training Courses Online
- Cuts training development costs as you can create an online course once and reuse it multiple times.
- Online courses are widely accessible, allowing employees to learn at their own pace and schedule.
- You can easily create more engaging and interactive courses to make the experience informative and exciting.
Read: 15 Best New Employee Training Plan Templates for Simplified Training
Watch: How GLS Improved Employee Communication with Cohesive Training Using ProProfs
Benefits of creating an online course for online educators/subject-matter experts:
- Offers a global platform to share your knowledge and help others achieve their goals.
- A great source of passive income since you can publish and sell your courses online.
- Helps you develop a personal brand and come through as a leading figure in your niche.
- Offers opportunities to work on the topics you’re passionate about and connect with others with shared interests.
Now, let’s move on to the heart of the discussion: how to make an online course.
How to Create an Online Course: 14 Tips to Create Effective Courses
Watch: How to Create Online Training Courses
If it’s your first time treading the path of designing an online course, just follow these steps. By the end of it, you’ll know how to create a digital course confidently.
1. Break Your Mental Blocks
It is often not the lack of resources, research, or will that hinders a smooth online course creation but the mental blocks and initial hesitation of simply beginning with the process.
Positive thinking enables you to approach the course creation process with an optimistic outlook and focus on the task at hand while minimizing stress and anxiety.
Additionally, to create an online class, try to stay organized, break the course creation process into smaller tasks, and seek inspiration from successful online courses creators.
2. Choose the Course Topic You Are Passionate About
When creating an online course, one of the most crucial steps is to pick the course topic. Choosing the right topic ensures your course is engaging, relevant, and valuable to your target audience.
Before settling on a topic, it’s important to do user research, identify gaps in existing courses, and analyze the interests and needs of your intended audience.
It’s best to select a topic you are passionate about and in which you have expertise. You can start with entry-level topics such as ‘getting started’ or ‘Basics 101’ and build your way up.
Also read: 50 Best Online Course Ideas for 2023 With Examples
3. Finalize Your Course Type
Another vital step for making an online course is to determine the type of course that you want to create. Some of the most common types of online courses are:
- Self-paced courses
- Instructor-led courses
- Hybrid courses (a combination of self-paced and instructor-led)
- Live courses
- Microlearning courses, etc.
Your choice of course type should depend on your goals and target audience. For instance, a self-paced course would be ideal if you want to provide maximum flexibility to your learners. In contrast, an instructor-led course would better suit learners who prefer a more structured learning experience.
Another type of course you can consider is hybrid courses. It combines both the self-paced and instructor-led formats and is great for learners who need flexibility while also requiring some level of interaction with an instructor.
Microlearning courses are ideal if your course topic can be optimized in bite-sized pieces. It also depends on your target audience. For example, employees who don’t work behind a desk like constructor workers can learn on the go while out in the field.
Also read: What Is eLearning Courseware & How to Develop It
For businesses, microlearning and self-paced courses are the best bet. They can create such digital courses for the following purposes:
Watch: How to Train Remote Employees Effectively
Watch: How to Create an Employee Onboarding Training Program
- Skills development programs
- Sexual harassment at workplace, and more
An online course builder like ProProfs Training Maker allows you to design engaging, self-paced, and microlearning courses supported on portable devices. You can turn these courses into a blended learning experience by using in-person methods such as webinars, workshops, role plays, Q&As, group discussions, etc.
Watch: How to Design Online Training Courses Effortlessly
4. Check the Course Demand by Pre-Selling
Once you know the topic that interests you for your online course, you must check whether people actually want it before you start creating an online course.
Ask these three questions to pre-sell your digital course and gauge its market demand:
- Are people searching for and asking about this topic?
- Is there anything your competition doesn’t cover or doesn’t cover well?
- Will someone pay money to solve the problem your course solves?
You can conduct user research surveys using online survey tools like Qualaroo. You can collect feedback from the target audience to see the level of demand for your online course topic.
As a business, if you’re designing a course for customers, you can launch surveys on your website or app to see the gaps in your content strategy so you can create courses on topics that are valuable to your customers.
As for the internal training, you can create surveys for employees to identify their skills gaps and plan your training course accordingly.
Conducting thorough market research and analyzing trends can help you identify if there is a demand for your course. You can also explore popular online course platforms to see what topics are currently trending.
*Note: Don’t discard a topic because it has high competition. High competition means there’s a thriving market for the course. However, it doesn’t guarantee the success of your course either. It simply helps you reach a wider audience.
Watch: How to Sell Your Quizzes and Courses Online
5. Establish Practical and Motivating Goals
Learning goals are simple statements you offer as an introduction to your course, telling prospects the learning outcomes. Creating compelling learning goals is an essential part of designing effective online courses.
A well-crafted learning goal helps guide the course design, engage learners, and ensure they achieve their desired outcomes. For instance, if the online course is about social media marketing, the learning goals could include the following:
- Creating engaging social media content
- Identifying the target audience, and
- Measuring the success of social media campaigns
Each goal should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART), which helps learners understand what they are expected to achieve and how to track their progress.
Watch: How to Set SMART Goals | Training Course Introduction
Additionally, using action verbs in learning goals such as “design,” “create,” or “analyze” helps learners to understand the expected outcomes and the skills they need to master.
*Note: Your goals should fill the gaps left by competitors and provide what users want to achieve.
Bonus read: 15 Best Online Training Software to Achieve Your Learning Goals
6. Diversify Your Course Content Sources
When creating an online course, gathering all the necessary content beforehand is important. This content can come from various sources such as textbooks, academic journals, research papers, online articles, video lectures, and audio recordings.
For instance, if you’re creating a course on marketing, you can collect relevant case studies and articles from popular marketing blogs like HubSpot, Neil Patel, and MarketingProfs.
Another helpful resource for course content is online courses and tutorials that cover similar topics, as they can provide valuable insights and examples to build upon.
Gathering content from various sources can create a comprehensive and engaging online course for your learners.
7. Structure Your Course Materials Into Modules
Structuring your course plan is essential when creating an online course. One effective way to structure your course plan is by breaking it down into smaller, more manageable modules or units.
You can also create a storyboard to organize your materials, add structures to them, and create a skeleton of your course.
For example, if you’re creating a course on graphic design, you could create modules on color theory, typography, etc. After that, each module could be further broken down into lessons or topics, such as color psychology or using grids in design.
Another helpful way to structure your course plan is organizing your modules and lessons in order of complexity, starting with the basics and gradually building upon more advanced topics.
You can also include interactive elements such as quizzes and assessments using tools like ProProfs Quiz Maker to make the courses more engaging and motivate users to complete them.
8. Identify the Most Engaging Methods and Platforms
Finding effective and engaging course delivery methods is key to keeping your learners interested and motivated till the end.
One effective method is to use multimedia elements, such as videos, images, and infographics, to explain complex concepts.
For example, if you’re creating a course on cooking, you could include video demonstrations of recipes or animated graphics to explain cooking techniques.
Another method is incorporating interactive elements, such as quizzes, polls, and discussion boards, to encourage active participation and engagement.
For instance, if you’re creating a course on marketing, you could include quizzes to test learners’ knowledge of marketing concepts or a discussion board to encourage them to share their thoughts and ideas.
But to ace your delivery and do everything we just discussed, you need a reliable online course builder to get started quickly with creating a delightful online course.
You can rely on ProProfs Training Maker, an online course creation software that allows you to develop online courses using its vast course library, upload media, add quizzes, surveys, and games, create learning pathways, and more.
Also read: 20 Best Online Course Platforms to Create and Sell Courses
9. Bring Your Course Come to Life With Filming, Editing, and Designing
As we discussed, adding media to your course makes learning fun and allows you to be more creative while sharing your knowledge and point of view. To begin with, it’s essential to have a high-quality camera and microphone to record your lectures or presentations.
Once you have recorded your content, you can use video editing software like Adobe Premiere Pro or Final Cut Pro to edit and enhance your footage.
For instance, if you are creating a course on graphic design, you can record your screen using Photoshop or Illustrator to teach your audience how to use these tools effectively.
Ultimately, the key is to create high-quality content that is easy to follow and informative for your target audience.
10.Launch Your Course on Suitable Platforms
After creating your online course, it’s essential to find an online course platform to host it. There are several options available, including popular learning management systems like Udemy, Coursera, and Skillshare.
Also read: 10 Best E-Learning Platforms Worth Trying
These platforms allow you to upload your course content and provide a user-friendly interface for your audience to access your course. Alternatively, you can use a website builder like WordPress or Wix to create your website and host your course content.
It gives you more control over the design and branding of your course, and you can also use plugins and integrations to create a seamless learning experience for your audience.
Another option is to use video hosting platforms like Vimeo or YouTube to host your course videos and embed them on your website or learning management system. It will work as a great marketing strategy to promote your course to new audiences by showing them a glimpse of what your course offers.
Watch: How to Share Your Courses With Learners
11. Set Your Monetization Strategy
When it comes to pricing your online course, there are several factors to consider.
- Firstly, research your competitors and see how much they charge for similar courses. It will give you an idea of the market rate and help you determine a fair price for your course.
- Secondly, you should consider the value of your course and the amount of time and effort you have put into creating it. A course that offers unique and valuable content may be priced higher than one that covers similar topics but offers less value.
- Thirdly, you should consider your target audience and their budget. If your course is aimed at students or people on a tight budget, you may need to price it lower to make it affordable. On the other hand, if your course is aimed at professionals or businesses, you can price it higher to reflect its value.
Finally, you can experiment with different pricing models, such as offering a one-time fee, subscription-based pricing, or a payment plan. But of course, price is of no concern for businesses creating an in-house course.
12. Understand Your Sales Funnel Inside-Out
Understanding the course sales funnel is essential to market and sell your online course effectively. By understanding the course sales funnel, you can tailor your marketing efforts and create a more effective strategy to convert leads into paying customers.
The sales funnel is a model that outlines the different stages a potential customer goes through before making a purchase.
The first stage is awareness, where potential customers become aware of your course through marketing efforts such as social media, email marketing, or advertising.
The second stage is interest, where potential customers learn more about your course and what it offers. It may involve providing free content such as blog posts, videos, or webinars to engage and educate your audience.
The third stage is consideration, where potential customers consider purchasing your course. It may involve offering a free trial or a limited-time discount to encourage them to take the next step.
The fourth and final stage is the decision, where potential customers decide whether to purchase your course. It may involve providing a clear and easy-to-use checkout process and addressing any questions or concerns they may have.
13. Find Scope for Improvement via Feedback
Whether it’s building a business from scratch or your course, you need to be on your toes to find areas of improvement. And what better way to do this than by asking the users and customers?
You can use online survey software to conduct surveys in your course at different touchpoints to gather valuable user feedback and understand what needs improvement, what needs to be added, and what needs to go.
Watch: How to Choose the Best Survey Software
14. Develop a Community out of Your Customer Base
Creating a community around your online course can enhance the learning experience and improve retention rates for your participants. To turn participants into a community, you can create a forum or discussion board where learners can connect, ask questions, and share their experiences.
You can also leverage social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Discord to create groups where participants can engage with each other and build a sense of community.
Additionally, you can organize live Q&A sessions or webinars where participants can interact with you and other experts in the field in real time.
For example, HubSpot invites users during different touch points throughout their courses to join their community to discuss their experience with the course, ask questions, and communicate with other users.
Creating challenges or group assignments can also foster collaboration and help participants feel like they are part of a team.
By turning participants into a community, you can create a more engaging and rewarding learning experience and increase your learners chances of completing your course.
How to Create Your Own Online Course With ProProf Training Maker
Now that you know the fundamentals of creating an online course, let’s look at the simple steps you can take to create your own online course. We’ve used ProProfs as an example here.
Watch: How to Create an Online Course
Step 1: Login to your account and then click ‘Create a Course’ on your dashboard.
Step 2: Next, click ‘Create From Scratch’
*If you wish to use a template or a ready-to-use & customizable course, , click on ‘Create Using Templates or Ready to Use Courses.’
Step 3: You’ll be directed to the course cover editor. You can customize the course cover using two settings: ‘Header’ & ‘General.’
Step 4: Preview the course cover by clicking on the ‘Preview’ button and look at the changes, or you can click ‘Done’ to go back to the editor.
Step 5: Here, you can add and edit course elements to customize it based on your needs.
* Tip: Use our beautiful page templates with predefined sections and formatting to save time.
Step 6: You can preview the final design and once satisfied, click ‘Done’ to create your course.
5 Common Mistakes to Avoid While Creating Your Online Course
Now that we’ve discussed how to create a custom online course, it’s wise to also look at the common mistakes you should avoid in the process.
1. Information Overload
While it may seem like you need to cover every aspect of the topic in great detail, this can overwhelm and deter potential learners. Dumping loads of information is a common mistake many course creators make when creating online courses.
Rather than creating a specific course that covers everything at once, you can do two things:
- Focus on breaking the material into digestible chunks and delivering it in an engaging, interactive, and actionable way. It will help your learners to stay engaged, complete the course, and achieve their learning objectives.
- Or break the course down into two parts and create two courses out of it, one covering the basics and the other covering the more complex information.
You can easily bypass this mistake by focusing on the key concepts and goals your learners need to know to achieve their learning objectives. Another effective strategy is to provide learners with actionable takeaways that they can apply to their work or personal lives.
For example, if you’re teaching a course on time management, you might provide learners with a checklist or template that they can use to organize their day-to-day activities.
2. Missing out on Improvement Opportunities by Not Testing
Not testing your online course before launching can have several drawbacks. Firstly, it can lead to technical issues and errors that may disrupt the learning experience.
Secondly, your course may not be as user-friendly as you intended, leading to confusion or frustration among learners. It can also affect the credibility of your course and your reputation as an instructor.
Thirdly, the persisting issues in your online course can lead to poor course completion rates. Learners may drop out before completing the course.
This can impact your revenue and may also result in negative reviews or feedback, which can damage your reputation as an instructor and make it difficult to attract new learners in the future.
Not testing your course before officially launching it can also result in missed opportunities to improve the course content and design. You can conduct sample testing with a small group of learners before launching it to gather feedback and make necessary changes.
3. Not Leveraging Gamification
Gamifying online courses involves incorporating game elements such as points, badges, scores, and leaderboards into the course content and design. This technique can have several benefits for your course and your learners.
Firstly, gamification makes learners more invested in the learning process and motivates them to complete the course and earn rewards, leading to higher completion rates and better learning outcomes.
Gamifying your online course also helps improve knowledge retention as it requires learners to actively participate in the learning process and apply their knowledge in real-world scenarios.
4. Failing to Nail Marketing
Marketing is critical to the success of an online course because it helps to attract potential learners, build brand awareness, and establish your course as a valuable resource in your field.
Effective marketing can help you to reach your target audience and generate interest in your course, ultimately leading to higher enrollments and revenues.
Here are some best practices for marketing an online course:
- Define your target audience and tailor the messaging to their needs and interests.
- Develop a clear value proposition that explains the benefits and outcomes of taking your course.
- Utilize multiple channels to promote your course, including social media, email marketing, and paid advertising.
- Leverage the power of content marketing to build your brand and establish your course as a valuable resource in your field.
- Engage with your audience and encourage them to share feedback and reviews, which can help to build credibility and attract new learners.
- Provide incentives and promotions to encourage early enrollments and referrals.
- Continuously track and analyze your marketing efforts to optimize your strategies and improve your course’s performance.
For example, if you’re teaching a course on digital marketing, you might create a blog post series that covers various aspects of the topic, such as SEO, social media marketing, and email marketing.
You can promote these blog posts on social media, email newsletters, and other channels to attract potential learners who are interested in learning more about digital marketing.
5. Judging the Worth Wrong by Underpricing
Underpricing your online course can have several negative consequences that can impact both your revenue and your brand reputation. If your course is priced too low, potential learners may perceive it as low-quality or lacking in value, which can deter them from enrolling.
More so, underpricing your course can also impact your perceived expertise and authority in your field.
If you offer a high-quality course that is priced significantly lower than comparable courses in your industry, potential learners may question your qualifications and expertise, which can harm your brand reputation and make it difficult to attract new learners in the future.
How can Proprofs help create my own online course?
ProProfs Training Maker comes with pre-designed courses and templates, enabling you to create your own online course in minutes and share it with anyone, anytime, anywhere. If you’ve the bandwidth, you can also create courses from scratch by uploading training materials you already have, such as docs, videos, presentations, audio, and recorded webinars.
How long does it take to create an online course?
With online course software such as ProProfs Training Maker, you can create an online course in under 5 minutes using purpose-built templates and courses. Even in the case of creating a course from the ground up, you can do it quickly by importing your existing content like company policies, educational videos, graphics, helpful resources, and so on..
How much does it cost to create an online course?
You can choose tools like ProProfs Training Maker that offer 100+ customizable courses on various topics through monthly/yearly subscriptions. These courses come packaged with its business and enterprise LMS plans. You don’t have to pay additional to update your course if you go for a yearly subscription.
How can I create an online course template?
You don’t have to create online course templates. A reliable cloud LMS like ProProfs Training Maker offers pre-designed templates for new hire onboarding, skills training, and other areas to get you started quickly.
How to create a course to sell
Here are a few steps you can take to create an online course from scratch:
- Choose a course topic
- Finalize your course type
- Check the demand for your course
- Establish learning goals
- Diversify your content sources for the course
- Structure your course into modules
- Create engaging media to add to your courses, like videos, quizzes, etc.
- Design a monetization strategy
- Launch your course
- Collect feedback to improve
What software do I need to create online training courses?
All leading LMS software support course authoring through various methods. So, you can adopt any of them. Just make sure the solution is user-friendly, scalable, and attended by awesome customer service.
Start Creating Impactful Online Courses!
Creating online courses can provide significant benefits to both businesses and individuals. Online courses allow businesses to reach a wider audience, establish themselves as thought leaders, and generate additional revenue streams.
For individuals, online courses provide a means to share their knowledge and expertise with others, establish themselves as authorities in their industry, and earn passive income.
With the continued growth of e-learning, there has never been a better time to make an online course.
But mind you, the success of your online course also depends, apart from other factors, on the kind of course builder you use. You can check out this list of the 10 Best eLearning Authoring Tools.
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