5 Easy Steps To Create a Successful Online Course
Updated: Mar 27
Creating a successful online course is easier than it ever has been!
Just under a decade ago, creating an online course required a number of experts in software development, information technology, and instructional design.
With today’s tools and technology, we are able to create successful online courses on our own at home. Of course, they still require many of the same steps as yesteryear, including project management, content production, and pilot testing, though it is much easier to get through the process now.
If you’re looking to create a successful online course, though you aren’t sure where to start, the team at Course Creek is here to help! Here are the five easy steps to create a successful online course!
Step 1 - Establish Learner Identity and Training Goals
It is necessary to get an in-depth understanding of your audience and your customer base in the planning stages. After all, you are creating the course for a specific target audience, right? This means you need to consider a few questions.
Who is your target audience?
What kinds of things are they looking to learn?
How does that target audience learn best?
By thinking critically about these questions, we can begin building a strong foundation for the identity of your learners.
You will also want to determine the purpose of your online course.
Are you teaching a specific skill or program?
Are they looking to evolve and grow as skilled practitioners?
Is the course a series of learning paths or is it a quick, one-off course?
You can use online courses to help us define an impacted business metric with your training. A decade ago, instructional designers and training managers did not consider business goals as much, as their main goal was to deliver content for learners.
Of course, accounting for business metrics can help you to get a better view of your ROI. This is why it is important to establish your business metrics early on so that you have a goal for what you’d like to impact.
For example, you may want to focus on your Net Promoter Score.
Step 2 - Create An Outline For Your Course
Now that you have an understanding of why you are creating your course, you can use your learning objectives to help you curate a good outline for your very first course!
To do this, you may want to begin by making a topical outline. An example of a topical outline would be:
First Main Topic
Second Main Topic
Third Main Topic
Your main topics are the overarching folders in which the subtopics will serve as the line items for content or activities. Always make sure that each main topic and subtopic is relevant to the learner identity and training goals that you established in the first step.
If you’re a visual learner, you could create a storyboard to help you visualize where the images, videos, text, and other content, will appear on the screen. This can be as simple as sketching out a small storyboard.
Step 3 - The Building Phase
The Building Phase is the most important step and will be the most time-consuming. You will begin by considering the course content that you have already developed. That course content can be anything from digital training manuals to PowerPoint presentations to pre-recorded videos and beyond.
The most important thing is to stay organized. The last thing you want is to be overwhelmed with irrelevant learning files.
Once you have your pre-existing content gathered, you’ll know what you need to develop or update.
Look above to check out Bloom’s Taxonomy. This method has been used by educators since the early half of the 20th century, simply because it works. By utilizing Bloom’s Taxonomy, you can craft a better balance for the activities in your course while providing different methods for learners to engage.
Here are a few pieces that we highly recommend adding to your course:
Positively impact 21st-century learners with creative design
Make sure the curriculum flows smoothly from one topic to the next
Ask your learners to blog
Propose forum prompts that focus on learners sharing their personal, relevant stories
Provide learners with a scenario and give them several different options for the conclusion
Design a simulation to allow learners to engage
Step 4 - Deliver Your Course To Your Learners
It’s now time to deliver your course to your learners and get them to engage.
Well, for starters, it is important that your course feels accessible. If learners don’t know how to get to your course, they’ll never get to engage with any of the content that you’ve created!
When we talk about accessibility, what we’re actually talking about is the point at which a learners stumbles upon your course to the time they are engaged with it. It is best to make this process as quick and seamless as possible.
You would much rather allow prospective learners to access your course in one click rather than a series of unnecessary and offputting steps or menus. Here are a few ways that you can simplify the access to your online course:
Embed your course link on your website
Send your course link in a bulk email
It can also be helpful to set up a few nudge reminders so that they continue interacting with your course once they’re in. When it comes down to it, you will get as much engagement from your learners as you decide to put in.
Step 5 - Calculate Your Engagement
Now that your learners are using your course, it is important to track how they are progressing and engaging. Your learning management system should have some sort of analytics dashboard.
Analytics will provide you with the necessary information to help your learners move through your course more efficiently.
Are your learners progressing in a logical manner?
Are there a few points in your course where many learners are having difficulties?
Are there technical issues in the system at any point?
By paying attention to these analytics, you can help to better understand your learners, which will ultimately help you hit your target goals.
Success Is Imminent
Follow the steps above and we promise that you will find better success while crafting your online course. There is no reason to make this any more complicated than it needs to be.
Here at Course Creek, we are dedicated to helping everyday people build successful and scalable online courses so that they may create passive income for themselves. If you’re ready to begin your online course journey, make sure to contact our team.