Step by step tips on how to create a successful online training course

Step by step tips on how to create a successful online training course

26 Jan 2021

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If you have not researched into how to create a successful online course, it is important to know a few simple ways to maximise its impact and opportunity. In this article, we outline the process of creating an online CPD course, sharing some step by step tips and ideas to get you familiar with best practices.

6 Step-by-step tips for creating an online training course

Step-by-step tip 1: Choose your online course topic

It is possible to make a successful online course on just about anything, but some topics are going to be a bit more difficult to find an audience, if you do not have an audience already. Be clear on your goals. Is it money, impact, or increased branding value? Think about who you are creating an online course for. What are their demographics? Are you instructing learners on a specific program or skills? Or are you helping them become better professionals in their industry?

Perhaps one of the most important things to have when creating an online course is to do create something that interests you. If you are not particularly interested in the online course topic you have chosen, it will be evident in the final product you create. Do not feel like you have to always teach at an advanced level. It could be literally anything – from computer programming, painting, dog training, fitness, cooking, to any number of other essential and professional skills.

Step-by-step tip 2: Validate your course ideas

Once you have identified a specific topic to teach for your online course, the next step is to research the demand for that topic. This simply means make sure that people actually want to take an online course on what you have to teach. Research into demand for your online course before you invest the time, effort and money creating your online course.

Remember that a successful online course will not appeal to everyone. If you try to create an online course that appeals to everyone, it will likely appeal to no one. On the rare occasion that you are unable find any competing online courses about your topic, this could mean one of two things; (1) There is demand, but no one is serving that market yet (rare), or (2) There is no demand, and you could consider to pick a different topic.

Step by step tip 3: Outline the online course content

Now that you know there is a market for the topic it is time to create a course outline. An outline is an overview of every element in your online course from start to finish. This can include text, audio and slide layouts for as they appear on the learner lessons. The outline of your online course can be as complex or as simple as you need it to be. You can create a simple outline with pencil and paper or detailed PowerPoint slides for example.

Arrange the content into smaller sections or modules in a logical order that helps structure how learners will progress through your online course. Decide on the type of online course, for example, will it be a series of short and simple downloadable modules or a fully inclusive online course with lots of additional personal contact and support?

Step by step tip 4: Build your online course content

Create successful online course content that is engaging, effective, and worth your learners time. Make it easier for yourself by setting small, manageable goals. For instance, set a daily word count you have to hit or decide how many hours each day you want to devote to creating your online course. If you are feeling stuck try a brainstorming exercise for new ideas. Write the topic at the top of a piece of and start writing every idea that comes to mind.

Step by step tip 5: Get visual with your content

When it comes to learning everybody is different. It is important to consider a mix of online course content to deliver a successful learning experience that will diversify learning and encourage information retention and course completion rates.

Here is a list of visual ideas to consider when creating your online course:
  • Videos (recordings, screencasts, webinars, etc.)
  • eBooks or PDF files
  • Presentations or Slides
  • Quizzes
  • Blog Posts
  • Audio files (talks, podcasts, interviews, etc.)
  • Graphic Design
  • PowerPoint

Step by step tip 6: Market your online course

Analyse the different marketing channels for your online course. You can use dedicated learning platforms, a custom website, or email tools to share the course. Create a blog and announce your online course, as well as send out emails to your subscribers. Try marketing your online course across social media to a larger audience, and not just to your website visitors.

How to create a successful online course

There are many ways write an online course. No matter what subject or topic and how much experience you have in creating training, it is often better to keep it simple. The best online courses mirror the quality of the in-person training by utilising key technologies to create accessible and engaging learning environments. Engagement plays a major role in how effective and successful your online course will be, especially when face-to-face interactions between learners and trainers does not occur.

Do not underestimate the importance of learning outcomes. Having clear learning outcomes when creating an online course ensures potential learners know exactly what they are joining, which leads to fewer refund requests and higher satisfaction levels.

How to transfer your existing training courses to online

The benefits that online learning can bring in terms of costs and scalability, and how easy it is to update, makes adapting existing training courses into online a simple decision. In case you are planning to move your existing training courses to online, here are some additional tips and steps to ensure a smooth transition.

Recycle old content

Trying to create completely new content when transferring your existing training courses to online can be an unnecessary waste of time and effort when not required. You do not have to throw away everything and start completely from scratch. The easiest way to easily transfer a course to online is by reusing any existing content you have already created.

Take a look at existing webinars, blogs, articles, workshops, presentations, and other training materials you have already written. Once you know what you already have, you can determine what content you will need to update, adapt or develop for your online course.

Choose your format

Find a suitable format to deliver your online course and how leaners will access it. There are easy ways for you to deliver your online training, for instance, you could provide your course entirely through email, or create a file bundle that people can download from your website that they can follow at their own pace. Keep in mind when transferring your existing courses to online, there is a good chance that you may face some technical problems such as hardware glitches, software issues, and so on. Be patient and work through these hurdles.

Add course interactivity

An earlier tip was to get visual with your online content. Interactive contact is a popular and successful way for people to learn. If you currently offer traditional face to face training, then your PowerPoint presentations might be full of pages of bullet points for someone who is presenting in a classroom situation. This may need some improving to translate well to online learning. Remove the bullets and provide learning content with supporting graphics. A good rule of thumb is one minute per slide, which is a reminder to keep learners attention and change visual elements for online learning.

Identify the ‘must have’ content

When creating a successful online course take the opportunity to leverage newer technologies and online training best practices in doing so. When evaluating what content to keep, it is helpful to consider the following questions. What works for your face to face training, and will it still work for a successful online course? What works for your existing training, but will need to be redesigned for an online course? What online-specific needs are met and unmet, and what will you need to create from scratch? Are your courses concise and engaging enough to be a successful online course? What other support can you introduce to improve the learning experience?

We hope this article on how to create a successful online course was helpful. Established in 1996, The CPD Certification Service is the world’s leading and largest CPD accreditation organisation working across all industry sectors. For more information on how to become a CPD provider and steps to CPD certify your online training courses, please contact our team

Alternatively, if you are looking for a free online CPD record tool to help manage, track and log your ongoing learning, as well as store your professional training records and attendance certificates in one simple place, go to the myCPD Portal page.

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