How to Create an Online Course and Get Ideas for It

Are you looking for new ways to take your business to the next level? If so, it’s just the right time to learn how to create an online course to engage your community. To make your online community building worth the effort, be sure you start looking for creative online course ideas. You need to show your community members that they have something to learn from you to make them stick around, right? The question is — how to build an online course that will engage your existing customers and attract new ones?

If you don’t even know how to shoot a video for an online learning course, this endeavor probably sounds too complicated. But there’s no room for panic. You have a simple step-by-step guide before you, created to teach you how to create an online course from scratch. 

You don’t know how to choose a topic? Where to find ideas for your course? What is necessary to shoot a top-notch video? Or you don’t know how to price your online course? Whatever the case, you’ll find the answers to all these and many other questions right here, so let’s dig in.

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How to Create an Online Course?

Did you know that David Siteman Garland created a six-million-dollar business by selling online courses? So, no matter how challenging it might seem, building your online course can play a vital role in your business development. And with the entire process of how to create an online course broken down in the following steps, you’ll soon realize that it’s not even that challenging. Not even if you don’t even know how to shoot a video for an online learning course yet. Let’s take a look at the crucial steps to take. 

Pick a Topic That You Are Passionate About

You want to be sure that your online course is compelling and draws people to come back for more? There’s one safe way to make that happen — talk about a topic that moves you. Choose something that you enjoy learning about yourself, as you’ll need to do thorough research about it. Not only will you find it more enjoyable to build a course about a topic you’re passionate about, but your listeners, too, will feel that passion. 

Another crucial thing to remember when choosing a topic is to stick to a field that allows you to gather enough material for your course, but is not too wide, either. 

Set Your Goals

Before you can get down to actually creating your online course, you need to determine your ultimate goal to know where you’re going all along the way. With clear goals set in the early planning stage, you will ensure a smooth flow of your entire course. Ask yourself, what do you want your listeners to learn after finishing your course?

In addition to setting an overall goal of your course, you need to determine smaller goals for each individual section. Try to think about it this way — your listeners need to feel like they’ve accomplished something after every lesson of the course. It’s the only way to make the entire course purposeful. 

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Start Gathering the Content for Your Course on Time

The next crucial thing to set is the timeline. That way, you will know when to start gathering all the material needed for the course so you have enough time to collect everything you need to cover the chosen topic in detail. Depending on the topic, it might be somewhat tricky to find all the necessary information. So, you should take into account potential setbacks that could slow you down. 

If you don’t know where to start looking for your course content, it might be a good idea to check out some of your old material. For instance, you might be able to make use of the information you included in an old webinar. Naturally, you will need to reshape the content and do further research, but a piece of your old material can be a good starting point

Structure Your Modules and Lessons

Once you have everything you want to include in your course, it’s time to structure that pile of material in a logical and engaging way so that your listeners can follow the course easily. Think about what is crucial to learn at the beginning to be able to grasp the more complex concepts later on. Then put those more complex items further in the course. 

You don’t want your students to feel overwhelmed right from the start. If they feel that the beginning is too complicated and beyond them, they are likely to drop out immediately. And you don’t want that to happen, right? So, divide the course into modules and lessons that can be understood at once. Then connect them to make sure your online course flows naturally. 

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Think About the Most Effective Delivery Methods

You have found excellent online course ideas, you’ve gathered all the material needed, and you’ve created your course outline? That’s excellent, but it doesn’t mean you’re ready to move on to the actual recording. Before you learn how to shoot a video for an online learning course, you need to determine the most engaging and effective delivery methods.

What’s crucial to keep in mind at this point is that different people have different learning preferences. Considering that you want to make your course appealing to as many people as possible, the more different methods you include, the merrier. Here are some ideas to consider:

  • Include small wins. One of the safest ways to keep your listeners excited about your online course is to boost their sense of accomplishment and confidence. For that reason, you might want to include some challenges that the listeners need to meet during the course.
  • Rely on scaffolding. Start with something your listeners already know, and then add layers of new information one at a time. When they rely on something familiar, learners feel more confident about the new challenges presented.
  • Make your listeners take action. The best way for your listeners to learn something is to do something themselves. That’s when quizzes and various forms of assignments can come in handy. Whatever type of an interactive activity comes to your mind, do not hesitate to include it, as it will surely increase your community engagement.

Get Ready to Start Recording Your Courses 

Now you come to the production phase, which means it’s time to learn how to shoot a video for an online learning course. Online courses that include videos are 83% more effective than those without videos, so getting in front of the camera is your safe bet. As a result, marketers who use videos manage to grow their revenues 49% faster than those who don’t.

If you still don’t feel comfortable in front of the camera, there’s another option called screencasting. This option includes screen recording and audio narration. If you find this solution more comfortable or more suitable for your course, here are some of the software programs to use:

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Choose an Online Course Platform and Upload the Course 

When you learn how to create an online course and have everything ready, it’s time to finally upload your content. But where? There are several options to consider, so you should learn about the ups and downs of each to find the most suitable solution.

For instance, uploading your course to an existing online learning platform, such as Udemy, might seem like an easy solution at first. But you shouldn’t forget about the substantial disadvantages that this option brings. First and foremost, you are limited by these platforms’ rules and regulations. Another major downside is that you don’t own your audience. 

Your courses will be uploaded together with all your competitors’, so what are the chances of you reaching your target audience and growing a strong community? To say the least, much smaller than when you build your own membership website.

When you rely on a platform such as GroupApp, you get full control over your community. GroupApp provides a simple-to-use online course builder that enables you to share your knowledge and make money efficiently. You just need to decide how to price your online course but don’t worry about that, either — we’ll tell you more about it to help you set the right pricing plan.

Ask for Feedback and Update Your Course Regularly

You want to be sure that your listeners keep coming, right? To make that happen, you need to listen to your users. Listen to what they have to say about your courses, what they liked, what not, what they think should be changed, etc. Always encourage feedback and update your course accordingly. 

Keeping your customers happy helps you ensure customer retention. According to HuffPost, 91% of unhappy customers simply leave the brand in question. So, never underestimate the power of feedback on your business.

How to Come Up With the Best Online Course Ideas?

You now know how to build an online course. But what about online course ideas? If you don’t have one already, you might feel stuck right from the start. But even if you haven’t come up with a great idea for your online course yet, don’t worry — we have some suggestions to help you get started. 

Coming up with something original can be challenging, as there’s probably already quite a lot of material on almost everything that crosses your mind. That’s why you need to be patient and persistent. Just because the first idea you thought of didn’t prove to be a gold mine, it doesn’t mean that you should give up. On the contrary — you need to keep brainstorming. Let’s see how you can do that.

Brainstorm Online Course Ideas

One of the ways leading to the best ideas for online courses is brainstorming. If you want to know how to build an online course that will satisfy the needs of your customers, you need to think like your customers. That’s why your potential customers’ stories, questions, and wishes are an excellent start for your brainstorming session

You can look for these in blog comments, social media posts, or on websites such as Quora and Reddit. Check out what people say to see what they have problems with, then build an online course that will provide them with a solution, and voila — you have your audience. Or at least you’re one step closer to growing your audience and gaining traction. 

Check Out Your Competitors’ Online Courses

Whenever you can’t think of anything to include in your new online course, take a look at what your competitors do. Not only can this help you find new online course ideas, but it also allows you to keep up. Naturally, you should never copy anything your competitors do. Just use their courses as a source of online course ideas for your own original content — the statistics show that 61% of the customers are more likely to buy from a company that delivers original content.

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Think About Your Target Audience

Whatever way of finding online course ideas you go for, one thing should always be on your mind – your target audience. Yes, you, too, should enjoy while creating your online course. But the bottom line is that you’re doing this for them. So, you need to include whatever it is that your existing and potential customers want and need.

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How to Build an Online Course That Will Draw New Users?

Learning how to create an online course is of crucial importance for your customer community and community engagement. Not only does it help you engage existing users and turn them into your loyal customers, but it can also open the door to new users. To reach new customers, you need to put in some effort into growing your audience, choosing the right online course design, as well as promoting your content.

Grow Your Audience

If you want your online course to reach as many people as possible, you need to take some steps to grow your audience. A great way to do this is to join Q&A platforms, your niche platforms, and other places where you can offer relevant answers and help to the people interested in your field. When you save them once, they will be more likely to seek help from you next time they run into a problem.

Another rather successful method for growing your audience is using lead magnets. This means that you offer your potential customers something for free to give them the idea of what your course is about in exchange for their emails. You can then use their emails to invite these people to check out your online course and thus grow your audience. Keep in mind that the opt-in rate can rise by nearly 85% if you give your potential customers a straightforward explanation about what they’ll get by signing up for your course.

When you start gaining traction, you won’t have to look for new users — your high-quality online courses will be the ones to attract them. But for a start, you’re the one to bring the users to your courses and engage them enough to stay loyal to your brand. Those loyal customers will then gradually turn into your brand ambassadors. They will spread the word about your online courses and bring you new users — 77% of consumers are more likely to buy a product recommended by a friend or family member.  

Turn Your Online Community Members Into Your Online Course Students 

An efficient solution for growing the network of your online course students is to turn your existing community members into your course listeners. To achieve this, you need the right tool that will allow you to grow your online community first. In other words, you need a platform like GroupApp. GroupApp allows you to create an online community that you own and can grow easily before you start building your online course.

This gives you a chance to gather a group of people around the same subject matter that they are all passionate about and make yourself a leading expert that they trust. That way, when you actually build your online course using the GroupApp’s easy-to-use course builder, you will already have many prospective students happy to sign up for your course to learn more from you.

Promote Online Courses

Just because you’ve learned how to build an online course, it doesn’t mean that your work here is done. You will need to promote it to make sure you “elbow” your way through the virtual crowd. There are so many courses regularly uploaded all over the Internet that your own can easily go unnoticed if you don’t promote it. Here are some of the many ways you can promote your online course:

  • Ask influencers to promote your course
  • Run ads
  • Use your existing pages and groups on social media
  • Rely on email marketing
  • Take part in podcasts and webinars relevant to your niche

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How to Shoot a Video For an Online Learning Course?

You’re all set in terms of online course ideas and content, but you don’t know how to shoot a video for an online learning course? Don’t worry about it — we’ve got you covered there, too. Even if you’ve never done this before, we can help you learn how to shoot a video for an online learning course like a real pro. Let’s take a look at the essential steps to take to achieve superb results. 

Gather the Equipment Needed for Shooting

Did you know that at least 55% of people watch videos every day? To be up to the task and reach all those people seeking video content every day, you need to record high-quality videos worth checking out. So, first things first — buy all the necessary equipment for online course recording. The needed gear usually includes the following:

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Find a Quiet Place for Shooting 

Nothing can spoil an otherwise excellent video and even better content like the background noise. To avoid this scenario, make sure that you find a quiet place for shooting, preferably a room away from the street or sidewalk. Before you start shooting, make sure no household appliances are buzzing, there’s no background music or voices.

But you don’t want to go too far, either, and make it an “echoey” video. This is why it’s not a good idea to shoot your video in a completely empty room with no carpets and empty walls. You can use couch cushions, sleeping bags, or moving blankets to “soften” the room and make the sound of your video as natural as possible. These little tricks can help you create your own DIY home studio and achieve superb results.

Not only should your environment be quiet, but it is advisable that you have a clean background, too. For the best results, consider shooting your video in front of a green screen

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Never Read Your Script

You might think that you’re doing it subtly and that it won’t be noticeable in the video, but that’s where you’re wrong — you can always tell when someone is reading the script! So, don’t do it. Ever. By doing so, you only give the impression that you’re not prepared enough and that you don’t really know what you’re talking about. This is a major turn-off for your listeners. Read through your script before the actual shooting, and then deliver the content in your own words to sound more natural and authentic.

Make Sure Your Tone Is Consistent but Engaging

When learning how to shoot a video for an online learning course, don’t forget about your tone. You need to keep it consistent, but there also need to be some variations, as you don’t want to sound, well, boring. So, the golden rule that applies here is to keep everything in moderation. Yes, you need to be serious to sound authoritative, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t include a joke every now and then. Your listeners need the fun part, too, to stay engaged.

Whenever you’re getting ready to shoot the next video for your course, take a look at the previous one to keep the same tone throughout the entire course.

Think About Your Body Language

Unless you’re doing a screencast, remember that your body language will be of great importance for the overall quality of your online course. If you don’t have much experience in front of the camera and you feel somewhat nervous, try to fake it until you make it. Stand as if you feel confident, even if you don’t. Never lean or slouch, but make sure your spine is as straight as possible. The benefit of power posing can be tremendous because your body language can either draw or chase away your listeners. 

Consider Hiring a Professional Video Editor

If you’re not that tech-savvy yourself and you’re not quite skilled at using video editing software, it might be a good idea to step aside. Leave it to the professionals to do what they do best to make sure your listeners enjoy every single second of your video. Poor video editing can easily destroy even the best online course ideas and content out there. This can eventually cost you much more than hiring a professional video editor will. So, you can be sure that this is a worthwhile investment. 

How to Price Your Online Course?

Your ultimate goal of community building is to make money off your customers, right? Learning how to price your online course is the final step to take to make sure you monetize all the knowledge and effort that you’re investing in this endeavor. For a start, you should think about your goals. Then, based on that, you can set several pricing tiers to offer something for everyone’s budget.

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Set Your Income Goals

You can’t know how to price your online course if you don’t know what your desired final revenue and income goals are. When you have a clear idea of what you’re aiming at, it will help you put a price on each individual course you deliver. Depending on how much you want to earn, this can also help you see more clearly how many people need to buy the course. This, in turn, can help you with planning your course promotion and growing your community.

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Offer a Free Plan

Whether you’re just starting out, or you already have your audience, you should include a free plan as an incentive. A free course can come in handy when reaching out to new customers. They may not be willing to pay for the first course if they don’t trust you yet. So, you use your free plan to attract them, show them how awesome your course is, and gradually turn them into paying users.

Keep in mind, though, that a free plan can be a double-edged sword. Research has shown that people are more likely to complete a course that they have paid for. Plus, when you give your course for free, some might believe that it’s not worth their time, even though that’s not true. So, let’s see how to put value to your knowledge by setting the baseline price. 

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Determine the Baseline Price

Your baseline price should be affordable for the majority of people interested in your niche. Be careful not to go too low, though, as it won’t pay off. The minimum for the baseline price should be at least $100 if you want to ensure at least some profit. You will need to invest some money in ads and other forms of promotion. So, if you charge less, you will probably spend everything you earn just to cover these expenses and you won’t make any profit. 

Similarly to free plans, baseline pricing might lead some people to believe that your course is not that valuable if they don’t see a higher price tag. That’s why you also need to include premium pricing plans.

Set a Premium Pricing Scheme

Loyal customers who’ve seen your worth and really want to learn more will be willing to pay more. Higher prices might chase away those on a tight budget, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. You will have fewer listeners, but those that do choose your premium pricing scheme will be the ones to engage and stick around. Premium pricing also makes it easier to achieve your revenue goal, as you need to sell your course to a fewer number of users.

Charge a Fee for Additional Features

Even though it might seem tricky to learn how to price your online course, in fact, you should just follow a simple principle — the more you offer, the more you charge. So, when you include some additional features or bonuses, do not shy away from charging an additional fee for those. Some of the features you can charge for include:

  • Weekly Q&A sessions
  • Downloadable workbooks
  • Expert interviews
  • Video transcriptions of your courses

Include Discounts and Special Offers

In addition to free plans, discounts and coupons, too, can help you draw new listeners. For instance, you can offer an early bird special for those who register by the set date. You can also include special offers for loyal customers to show them how much their loyalty means to you.

In a Nutshell

We understand that learning how to create an online course and find online course ideas might have seemed quite complicated. You probably thought it was particularly tricky to learn how to build an online course that will engage customers. But now you’re ready for this endeavor!

With the right online course ideas, appealing online course design, and an easy-to-use online course builder like the one GroupApp offers, you’ve got nothing to worry about. You just need to have a clear idea of what your ultimate goal is and make sure you never fail to deliver top-notch content that will satisfy your customers’ needs. And don’t forget about our tips on how to shoot a video for an online learning course. Finally, make sure you develop a solid strategy on how to price your online course to monetize it.