An online course can be a great way to learn, but it’s also a lot of work. It requires getting everything set up just right and then adding value to your students on a consistent basis. The good news is that there are lots of ways you can improve the experience for everyone involved. This post describes 6 things that will help make your online course more successful.
A Simple User Interface
The technology behind online learning has come a long way, so there’s no reason to make the platform overly complicated. The simpler, the better.
It’s important to think about who your audience is and what they want most in an online course: simplicity and ease of use. If you want your courses online to sell, this means less clicking around and hunting for things and more immediate access to all they need in order to complete the work assigned without even thinking too hard about it. This way, people won’t become discouraged by having to figure it out on their own or need constant support from you (which can turn into an ongoing relationship that eats up your time).
Clear Course Goals
An online course is different from a live class in one key way: students can’t ask questions, make comments, or otherwise engage with the material as it’s presented. This means that there are no opportunities for clarification or follow-up once something has been presented. People may sign up for your course because you’ve offered them a great deal. But if they show up on Day 1 and find that it doesn’t meet their expectations, they’re going to be disappointed and will probably never come back. So the earlier you clarify these things, the better.
At first, you should reiterate why people are taking this course and what they’re going to get out of it. Then create clear expectations for how your students are expected to complete various assignments, so they’ll know how to work within the framework of your class. It should be very clear what you expect them to do each week, so there aren’t any surprises later on when it’s time to share their progress with you.
A System For Providing Feedback
This is one of the key benefits of taking an online course rather than just reading a book about the subject. It provides you with consistent feedback that can help you see where your strengths and weaknesses lie, as well as how far along you are in mastering new skills.
When people know what they’re supposed to be doing and whether or not they’ve done it correctly, it can make them feel empowered. And when they don’t understand why something is important, it’s helpful to have someone there who can explain it without forcing too much personal interaction. This is especially key if you plan on creating several very short courses rather than one extensive “mastery style” class that requires more intensive participation over a longer period of time.
Ways To Measure Progress
If your course is too long, people may lose interest in it before they’ve made enough progress to get anything out of it (or even feel like they know what they’re doing). On the other hand, if you go for quantity over quality and create several courses that are very short but still provide value to students, people will want to move through them quickly. That can be counterproductive to learning within a real-world context because you won’t have had enough time to internalize the material or practice applying it on your own. You need some diversity there.
Flexibility For When Things Go Wrong
It’s not always possible to predict what will happen in an online class. There might be technical problems or unforeseen circumstances that just prevent people from getting their work done. And while it’s not necessarily a disaster if this happens, you need to have a contingency plan in place, so people don’t feel overwhelmed and discouraged about completing the tasks assigned to them. If someone misses one deadline, it’s reasonable to give them a little more time. But if they fall behind on several assignments, it can be overwhelming and make them feel like they won’t ever catch up.
The Ability To Personalize The Teaching Approach
Online courses can vary widely in terms of how much you’re able to personalize the way things are presented. It’s important that people feel that they have their own space within which to learn, rather than being crowded into a tiny corner where it seems like there’s no room for them at all. Make sure your course is flexible enough to allow for different learning styles, as well as any quirks your individual students might have (or think they have).
It may seem like a daunting task to create an effective online course, but it’s really not so bad if you have the right mindset. The most important thing is to make sure people know what they’re getting into when they enrol in an online course (and not keeping things vague or open-ended). People are much more likely to complete something if they can see how it fits into their overall educational goals and if there’s some sort of deadline that keeps them moving forward, even when things get tough. So sit down and schedule out exactly how long you expect each assignment will take, so you can plan accordingly, but be flexible enough to allow for modifications later on. If you prioritize quality over quantity, it should all work out in the end!