The American workforce is undergoing a massive transformation.
Recent studies show that freelancers are on the rise as traditional jobs are greatly diminishing. As it stands, there are currently 55 million freelance workers in the United States, making up 35% of the country’s entire workforce.
This “ship-jumping” is far from over. Many experts predict that more than 40% of the U.S. population will be freelancersin the foreseeable future.
The transition from employee to self-starter is exciting, but will be profoundly challenging for many. In any transforming industry, there’s always so much to learn. Which means the $107 billion e-learning industry is about to see another massive influx of revenue.
As individuals shift into a more independent lifestyle, many will need a certain level of guidance and education; the majority of which are likely to turn to online resources as they are often the most convenient, affordable, and targeted towards their specific needs.
Simply creating an online course and throwing it online, however, is not going to drive signups. In order for an online course to be successful there is one element that is more critical than all others: Engagement.
If your class fails to engage an individual who has yet to take it, they never will. If it fails to engage the students it does draw in, it will quickly lose ground to a more appealing option.
In order for a course to be fruitful, it must be constructed with student engagement as its guiding light.
If you want to build an online course to help educate a new generation of students, here are 4 tips for creating a truly valuable and educational experience.
#1: Don’t Get in It for the Money
Yes, there are millions of dollars to be made in creating online courses. But if money is your sole motivator, it’s probably best to drop the idea here.
A lot of people get into the e-learning industry with the notion that it is an easy way to make large sums of money for minimal effort.
In order to create a successful online course, there must be a more profound motivator than just your bank account; most notable, a genuine desire to help others learn to improve their lives.
If it’s all about the money, it is likely to be a rocky road as building such an educational empire takes large investments of time and energy. If you are not deeply passionate about the topic you are teaching, the process can become extremely tedious, and that will show.This means that the materials you do develop are likely to be far from engaging.
Moreover, your first course isn’t likely to make you a millionaire; it will be a process of building and refining courses, creating new ones, and repeating the process over and over again.
#2: If You’re Good at Something, Never Do It for Free
While money should not be your driving force, it is an energy share, and you should never give your talents away.
Bryan Richards, creator of the e-course 15 Steps to Sponsored Blog Travel, recently had some sage advice on this talking point:
“A lot of folks will give the beta away since it’s still in testing. However, when someone receives a free course, they rarely take it. Studies show that we’ve become digital hoarders with all the free content out there. When someone pays for a course, they have more skin in the game and will actually take the course. This is important in a beta because you want their feedback and testimonials.”
When creating an online learning course, feedback is vital. This allows you to effectively identify the weak points of the module and fortify its flaws in order to develop a highly-engaging course that people will happily pay to take.
#3: Develop a Strong Guidance System
With every course, digital or otherwise, there are bound to be students who have trouble understanding materials, get lost or don’t know what to do next, and ultimately leave the study unsatisfied.
Implementing a strong guidance system is therefore critical for student success. Such a structure provides attendees with an understanding of the module outcomes, expectations, and standards, while providing them with a roadmap to meet those forecasts.
This can be a major challenge for those who elect to host the course on their own dedicated website. Doing so means that you will need to implement various features like discussion forums so that students can ask questions and interact with one another as well as other communication tools.
To prevent this, you could instead leverage an online course platform like Kajabi, dedicated to delivering courses to individuals in need of information. The tool is helpful to both creators and consumers as it implements features that help to build and brand course materials while also serving up various community features for students to leverage.
Additionally, Kajabi meets a variety of marketing needs with its email marketing systems, analytics features, upselling elements, and a wide array of other features that are beneficial for people on both sides of the virtual classroom.
#4: Implement Learning Objectives
Learning objectives are goals that students will seek to achieve within each individual module. There will also be an overarching objective for the entirety of the course, but by invoking these within each individual lesson, you are effectively creating manageable targets for students to strive for. Once they have achieved a goal, they will be more inspired to tackle the next one.
If any of your learning objectives feel a bit overwhelming, divide it up into two separate ambitions encompassed within a single module; just be sure to structure the lesson so that one is achieved before the other is incorporated.
Each objective should focus on concepts the student will understand at the end of the lesson, in a logical sequence that feels empowering and educational.
A Balance of Structure and Flow
Online courses are a fantastic tool for entrepreneurs to develop an income while serving the greater good. They are a priceless resource for anyone looking to become more marketable, more intelligent, and more versatile in their skillsets. The key to crafting a course that will be a financial and critical hit lies in the creation of riveting course materials and structure that feels both natural and thoughtful. Not an easy undertaking, but there are few things more fulfilling than teaching others your gifts and talents.