How to Create an Online Course

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Want to create an online course in 2024? Of course you do—and it’s easy!

With ThriveCart Learn, you can create and publish in-depth online courses in minutes. Our world-leading platform allows you to create some of the best learning experiences out there, for a fraction of the cost of other software.

But why create an online course in the first place?

Online courses are some of the best digital products you can sell, for a few reasons:

  1. Global reach – you can reach an international audience easily with an online course. By tapping into diverse markets you can scale your educational offerings and attract learners from different time zones and cultural backgrounds, maximizing the potential for sales.
  2. Flexible and convenient – online, your students can access study materials at their own pace and fit education into their busy schedules. This makes courses an attractive prospect for working professionals, busy moms, and more.
  3. Cost-effective for everyone – online courses are cheap to produce, and cheap to consume. Note: that doesn’t mean low value! Low production costs means higher profit margins, and more people will be able to spread the word about your awesome course.
  4. Diversifying your income – instead of relying solely on teaching, consulting or book sales, an online course lets you deliver much of the same material in a different format. This lets you sell to an unlimited number of students without a proportional increase in effort. 

Are you convinced yet? Creating modules, lessons and content is rewarding work, but if you’re not sure where to start, read on to discover how to create an online course in 2024.

Did you know? ThriveCart Learn is available as part of the ThriveCart platform, available for one low-cost lifetime license.

Identify Your Audience and Niche

Before you dive into the nitty-gritty details of course creation, it’s crucial to pinpoint your target audience and niche. Who are you trying to reach, and what specific knowledge or skills do they seek? Understanding your audience allows you to tailor your course content, teaching style, and marketing strategies to meet their needs.

If you’re offering your course on the back of an established online presence, you’ll have already done a lot of audience research which can serve you now. If you have an email list, it’s a great idea to put out feelers to discover what they’re looking to achieve, and how you can help them do it with an online course.

Ask them questions like:

  • What’s your biggest obstacle to achieving your goals with [niche]?
  • What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned from me so far?
  • If I was to release an online course, what would you like to see included?

Never underestimate the power of crowd-sourcing – especially when it comes to creating digital products your audience loves!

Define Clear Learning Objectives

Once you’ve identified your audience and roughly what your course is going to be about, it’s time to establish clear and measurable learning objectives for your course. What do you want your students to achieve by the end of the program? Define specific goals and outcomes, ensuring that they align with the needs and expectations of your target audience.

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Providing a specific learning goal will make it easier for students to track your progress and give you feedback. Instead of cramming all your ideas into one course, consider splitting them into multiple course ideas if you have too many goals in mind.

ThriveCart Tip: with one larger goal in mind, have smaller, achievable goals for each module: this not only provides a structured learning path, but gives students smaller rewards to work towards along the way!

Choose the Right Course Format and Structure

The format and structure of your online course play a pivotal role in its success. Consider whether your content is best suited for video lectures, written materials, quizzes, interactive assignments, or a combination of these elements. A well-thought-out structure enhances the overall learning experience and keeps your students engaged.

It’s a good idea to leverage the power of multimedia by incorporating a variety of content formats. Mix videos, downloadable resources, and interactive elements to cater to different learning styles and preferences.

For example, consider videos where you stand at a whiteboard and draw diagrams to explain concepts, or even provide animated portions of your videos. Include demonstrations, and even roleplay, to keep the format interesting and students engaged.

Create Engaging Content

Content is king, and in the world of online courses, it reigns supreme. It’s not quite enough to randomly throw together a variety of formats of online learning materials: if you connect them together with an overarching story or narrative, this can keep attention focused on tasks in order to build up to their learning outcome.

Use real-world examples, case studies, and practical applications to illustrate key concepts. Incorporate storytelling techniques to create a narrative that resonates with your audience, such as the Hero’s Journey.

Also, it’s important to note that you should invest in quality production for your video content: clear audio, crisp visuals, and a well-lit environment contribute to a professional and engaging learning experience.

Leverage the Power of Your Platform

To streamline the delivery of your online course, you need a platform that can provide a centralized hub for course materials, communication, and assessment. Enter: ThriveCart Learn.

When you host your online course with ThriveCart Learn, you not only get a fully-flexible and customizable online education platform that lets you create lessons and modules, drip-feed content to your students, and set up advanced rules to control the learning flow.

You also get the power of the ThriveCart shopping cart system, so you can seamlessly handle payments, subscriptions, and access control. This enables a smooth and secure enrollment process for your students, so you can focus on providing value to your audience.

Foster Interactivity and Community

One of the advantages of online learning is the potential for a global community of learners. Encourage interaction and collaboration among your students by incorporating discussion forums, live Q&A sessions, and peer-to-peer feedback. Consider setting up a Discord or Facebook group for your students. Fostering a sense of community enhances engagement and contributes to a more enriching learning experience.

Offer exclusive bonuses or discounts for students who actively participate in community discussions. This not only incentivizes engagement but also strengthens the bond within your learning community.

Implement Effective Assessments

Assessment is a crucial component of the learning process. Develop assessments that align with your course objectives and provide meaningful feedback to students. Consider a mix of quizzes, assignments, and practical projects to gauge understanding and application of the material.

With ThriveCart Learn, you can give your students awards for completing modules or a certain amount of time after they’ve enrolled. Gamification of education is a powerful tool to increase engagement and keep your students happy!

Optimize for Accessibility and Inclusivity

Make your online course accessible to a diverse audience by incorporating features that accommodate various learning styles and abilities. Great ways to do this include closed captions for videos, downloadable transcripts, and ensuring that your course platform is compatible with assistive technologies.

ThriveCart’s customization options let you create a user-friendly interface with easy navigation. It gives a seamless user experience that enhances accessibility for all learners, so everyone has an equal chance of benefiting from your knowledge and experience.

Develop a Strategic Marketing Plan

Even the most well-crafted course won’t succeed without effective marketing. Develop a strategic marketing plan to promote your course and reach your target audience. Utilize social media, email marketing, and partnerships to generate buzz and attract potential students.

Integrate your course with ThriveCart’s marketing features to create compelling sales pages, run promotions, and track conversion rates. The built-in analytics provide valuable insights for refining your marketing strategy.

Gather and Implement Feedback

Continuous improvement is key to the success of your online course. Encourage feedback from your students through surveys, reviews, and direct communication. Use this feedback to identify areas for improvement and update your course content accordingly.

A course is a living thing, especially if your area of expertise is constantly undergoing updates and new ideas. Keeping your course current is a fantastic way of engaging students and proving that you care about their online education.

Ready to Create Your Online Course?

Congratulations, you’ve (almost) created an online course! By identifying your audience, setting clear objectives, creating engaging content, leveraging technology, fostering community, and implementing effective marketing strategies, you’re well on your way to crafting a successful online learning experience.

Remember, the world of online education is dynamic and ever-evolving. Stay informed about industry trends, continuously refine your content, and adapt to the needs of your audience. With dedication, creativity, and the right tools – such as ThriveCart Learn – you can create an online course that not only imparts valuable knowledge but also leaves a lasting impact on your students’ lives. Happy teaching!