Are you interested in creating an online course but don’t know where to start? It can be a daunting task, but it’s not impossible.
If you’re looking to create online courses but don’t know where to start, you’re in the right place!
In this blog post, we will provide you with some online course creation tips that will help get your course off the ground. We’ll walk you through the process of planning your course, creating it, editing it, and loading it up into an online course platform. Plus, we’ll provide you with the online course creation tools that you need to make the process as smooth as possible!
A little about procrastination…
There are a lot of important elements and steps that go into building a course. However, the most important thing about creating an online course is actually getting it done.
Sometimes, procrastination can get the better of us, especially when we’re faced with a big project. This, coupled with high expectations and a desire to teach as much as possible, can prevent you from getting your course out there.
Remember to take things one step at a time. You don’t have to do everything all at once, and you definitely don’t have to do it perfectly. Just start with the basics and work your way up.
Taking a step back
It’s good to take a step back to see what is most important for your course. It might be worth it to hone in on marketing and make sure that what you’re offering is something that people want to buy.
You may be worried about releasing a course that isn’t absolutely perfect, and you may worry that you might not be releasing a successful online course. But it’s important to remember that nothing is ever perfect.
Find ways to take off the pressure. You can always go back and edit your course later on, and improve it over time.
Another suggestion might be that you make add-on content, or extra downloads so that you won’t feel as though all of the content you make will be thrown away.
An additional, crucial point to note is that if you don’t get your content out there, you won’t be able to gather feedback that will help you improve your course. This feedback will also help you understand your audience better and determine if what you’re offering is something that people want.
Getting out of your own head
You may have a vision in your head of what you want your online course to look like… and you might find if you don’t create something that looks exactly like this idea, then you may find yourself hesitating and giving up.
Creating something that’s perfect is impossible, and it’s not worth getting in your own head and making yourself feel bad because your online course doesn’t look like what you originally envisioned.
It’s important to remember to talk to your customers and hear their opinions on it, even before putting your online course out there.
Your course could look great to them, but you wouldn’t know this unless you went out, interacted with your audience, and received feedback.
Breaking it down
It’s worthwhile to break down your process into more digestible tasks to make it less overwhelming.
Ask yourself: what is the smallest step you can break it down to?
Set a goal for the day or week, rather than thinking about the entire online course at once. Pick one or a couple to work on for today. Make it easier for yourself to work at your own pace.
This will help you stay on track without getting too bogged down by the details.
What should your first step be?
It’s highly recommended that you do some customer research during or before online course creation.
It’s important to think of market research not as something that’s taking away from you working on your course, but rather as something that will put you ahead of the curve and help you offer a course that will be helpful to those taking it.
Interacting with other people when building your online course might be hard, as it may introduce new ideas and add pressure due to perfectionism and the desire to offer the most perfect course possible, but it’s still important. It lets you know if you’re on the right track or not, and will help you build a successful online course and an enhanced learning experience.
You can also do some customer research by looking around online on forums or groups that are discussing your topic to see what questions or issues come up.
Next: Outline your course
You’ll want to go to a quiet place and get in a zone of focus. Bring your notes, customer research, and pen and paper. Start working on a mind map—start with your topic in the middle, then start branching out and working outwards.
Try to brainstorm every possible thing you could include in your course. You might notice that some bubbles are related, and you’ll want to connect them.
These patterns can help you format your online course. This may be in terms of module organization or the delivery of the content.
How much is too much?
Sometimes, too much content can be overwhelming. Not only for your students, but also for yourself when you’re creating your course.
Take the time to go over everything inside your course and see what you can leave out.
That doesn’t mean that this content will never see the light of day; you could use these ideas as pre-launch content, blog or video topics, or additional content that is related to your course but isn’t included in your course material.
Then: How will you deliver it?
There are so many ways to deliver a course…
- Video or audio
- Live, via Zoom calls, for example
- Written format
- Downloadable PDFs
- Quizzes and progress tracking
- A mix of everything
When looking at this aspect, consider both what you enjoy creating and how your students would best learn the content.
If this is your first online course, it’s recommended that you deliver your content live on a video or via a Zoom call, so that you can interact with people and improve your content.
If this isn’t your first rodeo with teaching online courses, you can pre-record your course content and upload it. Delivery is key to creating an engaging online course.
Tools for slide creation
There are many tools and resources that you can create slides with, from Microsoft PowerPoint to Apple Keynote to Google Slides.
Here’s an unexpected suggestion: Canva. There are many designs to choose from, but you can also design your own from scratch.
There are both free and paid accounts. Once you’re logged in, click on Presentations and decide whether you want to create a regular Presentation or Talking Presentation.
You’ll see a plethora of presentation styles. Choose your favorite or the one that fits your course best.
You can resize and edit things including graphics, font size, and fonts. It’s also possible to change your template style.
You can upload your logo or images. It’s easy to build a brand kit in Canva.
When you’re ready to present, you can go full screen in Canva.
Tools like Camtasia or Screenflow can be used to record your screen so you can share your video.
Your slides can be downloaded as a PDF, making them shareable.
Content recording tools and resources
If you’re wondering what tools you should use to record yourself talking through your slides, look no further.
You could do a Zoom call and record it that way, but that may not be the best method of recording your content due to potential Internet complications and poor video quality.
Dedicated tools such as Camtasia or Screenflow are great options for this phase of your course creation.
These tools can not only record your video but also offer the ability to edit your videos after recording.
Tools for video editing
When it comes to editing your video content, you have several options.
You might want to hire someone to help you edit your video and polish it up.
If you’re doing it yourself, you might find it time-consuming. Some tips to save time spent on editing include:
- When you mess up during recording, make sure to pause for a few seconds. This will make it easier to cut out these sections.
- Use a tool called Recut. It tracks and cuts out all pauses of a specified length of time.
- Just start editing. If you feel like you don’t want to do the work, just start doing the work and you may be able to get over that little hump of procrastination.
Loading it all up
When everything’s finished up, it’s time to put your course content inside of your online course platform. Before you can sell online courses, you need to put them into your online course platform or plugin.
Choosing your platform
Choosing your online course platform can also lead to procrastination.
If it’s your first time launching an online course, try something affordable and easy to set up. Eventually, once your course is up and you make some money, you can reinvest in a better online course platform.
If it’s not your first course, AccessAlly is a good choice.
AccessAlly is a WordPress-based online course and membership community solution. There’s a bit of a learning curve. If you’re very motivated and keen, and you’re a bit of a techie, AccessAlly could be a great tool to use for your first course.
Keep in mind that you don’t have to go for something with all the bells and whistles.
What are the steps?
Start by using the outline or mind map you created earlier. Map out your course content—your modules and lessons, then load up content like your videos.
A parting tip
Remember to take a test purchase, or a few. This way, you’ll be able to test out your process, from signup email to your payment to the final delivery. It can bring errors to your attention and let you experience the ordering process through the eyes of your customers.
Creating an entire course online is a lot of work, but it’s worth it. Building a successful course is a learning process and you may spend a lot of time creating your course.
These course creation tips will help you get your course off the ground and help you ensure it’s successful. Just remember to take your time (without procrastinating!), map things out, and test everything before you launch.