People are hungry for information that helps them find solutions and solve problems. They are looking for real information that adds value to their lives, and that is convenient for them to consume. They also need to be able to afford it.
Enter Online Courses.
An online course is an incredible value for the student.
This is true for several reasons, but mainly because of two things in particular. The first is that the instructor only needs to teach the course one time, and record it. Once recorded it can be played back by the student – anytime anywhere – and by many students at once. It works for just one new student. It does the same for one hundred, or even more – thousands to tens of thousands even.
They can all access the course anytime they like from anywhere in the world with just a smartphone or a tablet and access to the internet.
That is powerful – for both students and instructors.
In the old days and old ways, each time a new student or class was formed an instructor had to have a physical classroom or training area of some kind in which to meet and teach. Then the instructor had to travel there as did each student.
Once the class was completed it would have to be repeated again and again every time the instructor wanted or needed to teach it again – resulting in a massive waste of time for the instructor. Time that could be used to develop and teach another course…
Online Courses Solve These Problems
When you teach online courses you immediately eliminate most of the problems associated with teaching in-person face-to-face classes.
First of all, you only need to teach the course ONE TIME. That’s it. Teach it and record it. Upload it to a platform where students can find it and access it and you’re done for the most part.
You will need to occasionally update and improve it maybe once a year or so. You will probably want to have a way for students to write reviews and for you to respond to your reviews – maybe once a week or so. Even that can be outsourced to virtual assistants if you like.
There is no need to have a classroom.
That means you do not need to get a part-time or full-time job at the local community college or state university or private college etc. You do not need them at all, or their facilities – nor their politics.
There is no travel or commute anywhere – not for you. Not for your students either.
That frees up all kinds of time and saves you money on gas and related expenses each day and each week.
All of that time is time that can be reallocated to much more productive tasks – like creating and marketing more courses!
How Online Courses are Created
Basically, an online course is similar to a book in many ways.
Thinking of an online course in this way helps you to visualize it and understand the structure and flow better. The beginning will be a landing page of some sort – much like a book cover.
It needs to be visually appealing and have a summary of the information contained in the course, which is enticing to your potential students and which will help them make a purchasing decision to buy your course.
Next, you will have some free preview lessons.
These they can select and watch without having to pay anything and without having to sign up in most cases either.
One way to create your course is to build an outline.
Before you do that, go to Udemy. Udemy is one of the world’s largest and most successful online training platforms – and one where I happen to teach and host many of my own courses there.
You can browse the courses for free. You can take the preview lessons for free too.
Select some you find interesting.
Look at their landing pages and notice not only what information they provide but also how they are structured.
Next look at the course structure. Notice how many sections, how many lectures per section, and the total time it is estimated to take to complete the course.
Read the reviews. See what other students are saying about the course – and look for patterns. One bad review or one good review alone doesn’t mean much at all – but when you see lots of reviews all saying similar things that is a pattern, and that is a better indicator of the quality of the course, and the satisfaction of most of its students.
Online Course Elements
For the most part, online courses consist mainly of video and audio. Think of a YouTube tutorial.
However they are a much longer series of organized sequential videos that each builds upon the others, and they are often much shorter than many other videos found on other platforms.
For example, a typical YouTube tutorial or other videos maybe 17 to 20 minutes – or longer.
Yet a course video will typically be 3 to 5 minutes or less in most cases per video.
Each video can be a talking head or a slide or a combination. It is best to use combinations in my opinion, to help maintain interest as you proceed. However, some instructors seldom if ever appear in their videos preferring to use slides and screenshots and screen capture etc.
You can also use text and or audio.
There can be quizzes, tests, and handouts in the course structure.
All these things can be used together to add value and to reinforce specific learning objectives.
Model That Structure and Format as You Build Your Own Course
Use the information you gather to help you develop your own structure for your own online course.
Put together your outline. Then press record.
Just do it.
Yes, you look funny – and you sound funny too. So do I – and so does every other instructor.
Do it anyway.
Record your first lecture, then upload it to whatever platform you have chosen (I highly suggest you begin with Udemy unless you already have a massive audience). Then do the same with the next lecture, and then the next. Use your outline to help you stay focused and on track.
Before you know it the first section will be done.
Take a moment to reflect and celebrate. But don’t take too long – get back to work.
Press record again and continue with the next section.
You will repeat this process until the entire course is complete – then you need to go back through it and QA your own course. Do NOT excessively “fiddle with it” though. Just look for major errors and anything that is missing or not working, then as soon as you are done hit the submit button so it will be reviewed by the platform – then will become your first LIVE online course.
That is exciting!
Course Pricing Considerations
The platform you choose is going to play a major role in your pricing. Some have upper and lower limits.
Beyond that, your course topic matters greatly, as does your level of expertise and current following.
If you are an authority (recognized expert) on some particular topic then you are much more likely to be able to command and get a higher price than a new course creator no one has ever heard of yet.
Likewise, if you have a topic that is appealing and your course appears to be well laid out yet is affordable (under $200) then many people will be more inclined to take a chance and buy it at lower prices than they would be at higher prices.
Would you buy a course for $2400 from an instructor you have never heard of or seen anywhere?
But would you buy a course like that if it appealed to you and only cost you $10 or $20 or so? I think so. Most people would (and do!).
So when first starting out keep that in mind on your pricing.
You might even want to give your first course away for FREE for a period of time – just to get some students in it, get some feedback (reviews), and make some adjustments if needed – then set a realistic but still low price and market your course.
After that get busy creating your NEXT course!
I do not believe in SECRETS when it comes to business – there are none generally speaking, though the guru garbage people use that term all day every day (because it sells!). But what I do believe in is learning fundamentals and then working consistently over time to get better and better at your chosen business.
Online course creation as a business is no different.
Most people are going to need to create several courses to make decent money on a consistent basis.
I have more than 2o courses live as of today and I am actively working on more. I make some money from them all every month – consistently – and have now for YEARS. However, I make much more in total by having more than one course – and most of my students buy and take several of my courses.
Much like an author (and I write books too) who has readers who like his or her work will notice that they buy most of the subsequent books they write too – the same is true with courses. As an instructor, your students will buy and take more than one course – if you create more than one course.
So create more than one course!
Conclusion and Final Remarks for Now
There is no doubt that YOU can create YOUR OWN ONLINE COURSES.
If you want to.
It is a simple matter of learning and following proven steps sequentially. If you decide you want to do that, then I will be happy to help you too. Subscribe to my blog, take some of my courses on Udemy and join my FREE (to my students) L.D. Sewell Student Support Facebook Group, connect with me there, and let’s get to work on your first online course.
Until next time, take care, be safe – have a great day today and make it count!