What Online Course Should I Create – Online learning or e-learning offers a number of advantages to today’s learners, whether they are in the workplace, academia or anywhere else.
The benefits of creating online courses include the ability to scale learning to reach a wider audience than traditional live, classroom training, and at a lower cost.
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Using interactive elements such as interactive quizzes, dialogue simulations, scenarios and multimedia, e-learning is a highly engaging medium that can drive customer engagement and conversion.
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With these many benefits, it’s no wonder the eLearning industry is booming. If you’re ready to start creating online courses, follow our 10-step strategy to set you on the path to success.
Then you can start creating online training materials for your business marketers. We offer presentation format templates that can easily be exported as PowerPoint files for use in any online course.
There may be different approaches to this depending on what you are developing it for. For example, if you are going to create your own online course to sell it online and make money, the smartest thing to do is to choose a niche in your profession and a topic that you know inside out.
To design your course, think about the audience you’re targeting and what problems they might be facing that you can solve.
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For example, you may find that your customers want to use visuals in their communications, but they lack design skills. You can solve this problem by offering an easy design solution and a comprehensive course on how to use the platform for non-designers.
Do an in-depth analysis of what you can provide to your customers and what differentiates your course from others. This will serve as a foundation for your next steps, which include setting course objectives, writing a course script, and more.
Note: based on the content, it would be better to create a webinar instead of a course. Check out our comprehensive guide to webinars and how to best create one.
Of course, there is another approach to choosing a topic if you are going to create online classes for employee training. Here you need to strengthen your employees’ weaknesses and stimulate their growth zones.
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Consider using an employee skills training matrix to help you easily identify existing skills, identify potential skill gaps, and determine what training an employee should take to improve their skills.
A learning objective is a shorthand way of stating what the expected outcome is for the learner after completing the course; in short, it is what they will be able to do after acquiring skills or knowledge during training.
In the workplace, this often corresponds to on-the-job behavior. For example, learning objectives may include:
Also, every goal is something that can be observed and measured. It’s clear when someone is doing these tasks correctly, and you can provide feedback or guidance if they can’t complete the task (tip: connect your learning objectives to your assessment, which we’ll discuss later in the article).
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For best results, think SMART when writing learning goals and objectives. SMART objectives, with their detailed structure, give you a clear idea of what your learners need to achieve.
As a designer, learning objectives are your north star that determines what content you should and shouldn’t include in your course.
Objectives also provide similar guidance to your learners by answering the question “What’s in it for me?” and telling them what to expect from the course.
You will work with both subject matter experts (SMEs) and stakeholders throughout the course development process. We define each role as follows:
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For example, if you’re creating a sales training course, your SMBs might include the VP of Sales, sales managers, and even the salespeople themselves. Your additional stakeholders may be the executives who commissioned the training and/or the project manager who is tasked with overseeing the implementation of the new training initiative.
Early in the design process, it’s important to define roles and responsibilities for both your SMEs and stakeholders to ensure the course runs smoothly.
By deciding who should be involved at what point in the process and what their responsibilities are for providing and revising course content, you’ll be less prone to revisions and rework when you start building the course.
Customize this communication plan and share it with your SMEs and stakeholders to help them engage in the process;
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After compiling all the information that will go into your course, the next step is to map it out, known as a “storyboard.” This can be in the form of a document or presentation board, or even a rough prototype or model of what the final product might look like.
The purpose of the storyboard is for your SMBs and stakeholders to review the course content and workflow before creating anything in the authoring tool.
In addition to written content, include any images, multimedia (such as videos or podcasts), and navigational directions for how learners will progress through the course. You’ll want to give your reviewers a complete picture of what the course and each microlearning module it will include will look and feel like.
You can also use this template to create your story, add images, icons or illustrations to it and export it as a PNG or PDF to share with your stakeholders.
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Making changes to the document at this early stage is much simpler and faster than later in the process. The time invested in storyboarding is time well spent, as you will be rewarded with faster course building and review experience later in the development process.
Like a play or movie, your course script includes all audio narration as well as all screen text. The instructional designer must write the copy of this course based on the information provided by the SME(s), which may come from any number or type of source files.
During this step, it’s important to consider not only how the words sound, but also how they look on the screen. Here are some tips on how to write a good script for your online course:
If you get tongue-tied or confused while reading, it won’t sound good to your students either.
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If your learners are likely to complete your course on mobile devices, you can also use short snippets of text that learners can read with minimal scrolling.
After all, your course content will be more engaging and effective if it reads like it was written (and narrated) by a human, not a robot.
Think about your audience when you’re writing your script as well, and make sure you cover the “What’s in it for me” aspect well in your copy.
Once you’ve finished writing your script, you can use this template to help you write a course outline that can be shared with your stakeholders or used in a formal course:
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Once your story and script have been approved by your stakeholders, you’re ready to start building your online course.
The authoring tool is the software where the course comes to life. If you have some experience in instructional design, you’ve probably come across tools like Articulate 360 or Adobe Captivate. They are quite common, but definitely require training for the novice course developer.
If you’re not ready to invest time in training and want to start building courses without prior knowledge of instructional design, you can try a tool with a familiar interface and no learning curve.
For example, iSpring Suite uses PowerPoint as its foundation. So you can build a course the same way you create a presentation, then publish it online in a few clicks.
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To make content development even faster, you can use ready-made course templates. For example, iSpring has its own Content Library with templates that include basic course elements: title slide, table of contents, chapters, timeline, and more.
You can also customize easy-to-edit webinar templates, export your designs as PowerPoint slides and use them for your courses. Here are some great options you can use:
This template was created for the Infographic Masterclass, but you can easily edit it to use for any product’s internal training.
You can use this template as is or easily add any additional slides. With a business account, you can apply your branding elements to your design and export it as a .pptx file for presentation in PowerPoint or Google Slides in just a few clicks.
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This can easily be adapted for any training that deals with a new or complex concept/process that needs explaining to your employees, especially new hires;
Here you will also find some charts and other infographic templates that you can use for your courses to make them look more effective and professional.
For example, you could use this simple chart as a slide or stand-alone PDF for your workplace violence policy and program course.
You can easily adapt this template for your course overview or a course that spans multiple sessions (click to see the full infographic).
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Think about your learning goals. What measurable, observable actions are your learners expected to take after completing the course?
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