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From kindergarten through college and from continuing education to personal interest, people from all walks of life are searching for and enrolling in online education. Online training is being used to educate children, upskill employees, transform careers, and pursue personal development. Anyone with a teachable skill can set up their own online training school or teach their skill to eager students. The key is to develop a course that people are interested in and to find the right venue for that course.
3 Things to Consider When Developing Your Online Training Course
There are three primary components to the successful development of any online training. These are:
- Your knowledge or skill
- Your audience
- The proper venue
The first step to developing an online course is to take personal inventory. What do you know, or what skill do you possess, that others might be interested in learning? Start by writing down everything you know and every skill you possess. Hold nothing back. Make it a brain dump.
Next, write down the potential audience for each thing you could teach. Whether it is specific knowledge—how wild birds mate, for instance—or specific skills, such as piano playing or business marketing, make a list of people groups (Moms, teenagers, business professionals, etc.) who might be interested in learning that skill or body of knowledge.
Thirdly, you can research the various places where online training courses are offered and choose one that would be appropriate for your online course. You can start with this list of online training course platforms.
How to Create Your Course
Once you’ve identified what you want to teach, who your audience is, and where you want to teach your course, you should start developing the course. Pertaining to venue, there is one other option available to you. If your course is specialized, you might consider offering that course through your own website, learning platform, or through email. Instructions on how to set that up will follow.
To start your own online training course and teach your expertise to others, follow these steps:
- Identify the skills or knowledge you want to teach. Make it specific. In other words, don’t go for an all-in-one business course (at least, not on your first effort). Rather, teach a specific aspect of business, such as accounting for service businesses, marketing for laundromats, or cash flow tactics for lemonade stands. The more specific, the better.
- Identify your target audience. Who would be interested in learning what you have to teach? Again, more specificity will set your course apart from others, especially if there are already courses on your topic available. One way to do this is to hone in on one narrow market. For instance, “Bird Watching for Teen Youth Groups.”
- Find the training platform most likely to appeal to your target audience. If your ideal audience is college students, you might aim your course toward Coursera, Khan Academy, or edX. If you’re looking for a business audience, try a platform with a large following in the business sector. If you think you can put together an online course, deliver it through email, and market it successfully, then producing your own course through email or a membership site is still an option. Think this part of the process through carefully.
- Outline your course. Before you lay out the meat of your training program, outline it. How long does each module need to be? Some courses could consist of short 5-minute videos. Others might require longer periods of lecture, practical application, or interaction with students.
- Outline each training module. Not only does your entire course need an outline, but each training module within the course should have an outline. What will you say in your introduction? What kind of resources will you use to deliver your training and explain the concepts students need to understand? For instance, will it be a video course, audio only, or consist primarily of written materials? Do students need special tools? What kind of examples or anecdotes will you use to explain concepts to students? Will there be student interaction or interaction between student and instructor (this is possible if you include something like Zoom in your training)? NOTE: What kind of resources you can provide students will be heavily dependent upon the technology of the platform you are using, so be sure you use the right platform.
- Develop your training course. After you’ve thought through your online course and developed your outlines, start developing the materials. If you plan to deliver written materials, write them out or hire a copywriter. If you plan to include video, you’ll need to create them.
- Upload the course material to the platform. Each platform is different, so learn the platform and its technology. If you plan to go the route of TED, you’ll have to submit an application to TED organizers and be approved. If you’re delivering to YouTube, you just create the video and upload, but the course is free to the whole world.
- Begin marketing your course. It’s time to find your students.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that because a course is already available somewhere that another course like it can’t exist. No one is going to do it the way you do it. There are all kinds of courses, for instance, on HTML, but everyone carries the personality of its instructor. If you can find the students for your course, you can earn a nice side income and even promote your business by sharing your expertise.
How to Deliver Your Own Training Through Your Owned Resources
Long before YouTube and TED created the burgeoning online video training movement, savvy entrepreneurs created their own electronic courses they delivered through email. If you have a website, you can still do this today. However, online video training has become much more powerful and much more popular.
There are three options for delivering your online training to your specialized audience:
- Email delivery
- Membership website
- Specialized platform
To deliver a successful training course through email, you need an email service provider such as MailChimp or Constant Contact, and you need a website or landing page to drive traffic to in order to solicit signups. Make sure your email service provider has an autoresponder service that allows you to deliver email automatically in periodic increments. Follow the steps above to create your course, write it out as an autoresponder sequence, or upload it to your email service provider account.
With a membership website, you need a content management solution. The most popular open-source solution is WordPress. With plugins and specialized themes, you can create a membership website that allows you to charge a one-time, monthly, or annual fee that allows users to join your success and gain access to your educational material.
Follow the process for creating your training course and create the material behind a paywall. Then go and find your audience.
With a specialized platform, you’ll need to hire a professional website developer who will work with you to determine the necessary features for your platform and how it will look. This the most costly of your options, but it also has the best potential for setting your online training course up as unique and distinctive.
As online training continues to grow in popularity, there will be a growing need for qualified instructors ready to teach what they know. You could be one of them.
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