Have you ever thought about building your own online course but didn’t know where to start? It’s daunting and can be a lot when you first approach it. Online courses are beneficial because they can allow you to monetise your content and grow your community. This is a great opportunity to take your talents and turn them into something that people can learn and grow from. We’ve mapped out the easiest and most straightforward way from start to finish.  Here are 15 easy steps for you to build your own online course:

  1. Choose a topic
  2. Make sure it’s something users want
  3. Gather content
  4. Make a plan
  5. Set learning outcomes
  6. Chose the most effective method
  7. Filming, writing and putting it all together
  8. Test the ideas
  9. Fix the issues
  10. Chose the right platform
  11. Set it up
  12. Figure out your price
  13. Get students
  14. Promote
  15. Launch

 

1. Choose a topic

First things first, chose what you want to do. There are a million different avenues to explore. My advice is to chose what you’re familiar with. If you already have a community set up, base it around that.

woman browsing on her laptop

2. Make sure it’s something users want

This seems like an obvious step but believe me, research is worth it. See what the market wants. You don’t want to spend weeks working on something amazing to find out no one wants to buy it. A good tip is to ask your community. Find out what they want to learn about. Maybe it’s worth creating an open poll and going from there.

3. Gather content

Now you’ve got a vision. You’ve chosen a topic and you know which direction you’re gonna go with it from the user feedback as well as the market research. Now it’s time to get the big stuff together. Get the course content. This can be videos, audio, or images. A good tip is using some content that you’ve already created. It will make the process a lot faster by gathering both old and new content. This takes up the biggest bulk of your time and you’ll constantly want to update the content. However, if a popular online course is what you’re aiming for, you’re gonna have to roll up your sleeves.

4. Make a plan

I’m taking you back to school. If you want to execute something perfectly, make sure you map it all out beforehand. Once you have everything together, you need to set out the structure of the courses. Take it one step at a time and make it as simple as you possibly can.

person working on blue and white paper on board

5. Set learning outcome

What do you want your students to achieve? There’s no point in making an online course if there’s no end goal. Everyone enjoys a fun, interactive online course that they can then turn around and brag about to their friends. Take Duolingo for example. This is a language learning course. Imagine how great it is to take an online course and be able to chat in a completely new language. It gives the course a purpose and drives people to it.

6. Chose the most effective method

What’s the best way to deliver your content? This will depend on what you’re aiming to achieve. However, think about what your audience will respond to. Is video the best way to teach? Or maybe step-by-step instructions. Take a fitness course for example. A lot of these use video to demonstrate the workout. It’s a good way to help the user visualise what they are supposed to do. The same goes for cooking tutorials. However, these are usually paired with a descriptive recipe. The point I’m trying to make is that you have to think about the easiest and most effective way for your audience to absorb the content.

7. Filming, writing and putting it all together

You’ve got your content, plan, outcome, and method together. Now it’s time for the next step to build your own online course. Producing everything. Have fun because if you do, so will the users. Make the videos light-hearted. It never hurts to put in some animations or music. Also, don’t forget to edit! Make sure it’s all relevant. Taking an online course already takes convincing so don’t have users sitting around watching random stuff. If they wanted to do that, they’d be on Youtube. So keep it light, fresh and above all, relevant.

woman holding camera standing near people

8. Test the idea

You need feedback. I would suggest getting a group of people together. It doesn’t matter if they are your friends and family as long as they are honest. You need to gather feedback- what features they liked and what they didn’t. The most important part about this is figuring out what helped the users learn. After all, that’s the entire purpose of learning how to build your own online course.

9. Fix the issues

Get all the information together and make it clear what you need to do next. Make a list of things you have to change. For example, if you got a load of feedback about one of your classes that confused users, then switch it up. Scrap it and re-do it into something more beneficial.

10. Chose the right platform

This is a very individual decision. That is why I have put together a list of options to help you out:

Teachable:

Their tag line is ‘you’ve got the knowledge, we’ve got the tools’. They’ve gotten great reviews saying that their platforms are easy to use and very well designed. One of the top choices out there.

Udemy:

This platform offers a 30 day, money-back guarantee. If this doesn’t give you confidence in the quality of the platform, then the fact that they have over 100,000 active online courses should.

Skillshare:

What’s great about skillshare is that they split up online courses into four sections: creative, business, technology, and lifestyle. Under each, there is a ton of information that is useful to learn how to tailor your online course depending on the topic you’ve chosen. A little bit of extra help goes a long way.

Eliademy:

This platform offers speed and simplicity. It says they can set up your course in a matter of minutes and in three easy steps. If you’re looking for quick and practical, this is the one.

Disciple Media:

This is more than just a platform for your online courses, it’s a community. Our company builds community apps where you can run your online course but also achieve so much more. You can create an environment where individuals are learning but also creating new bonds with other members. This is a space where people can learn from one another as well as the content you post.

turned-on MacBook

11. Set it up

Alright, time to go and properly build your own online course! Key all those pieces together and start setting up. The method will vary depending on the platform but it should all revolve around choosing the look and uploading the content. Make it eye-catching and fun!

12. Figure out your price

Start by having a look at the market price around the topic you have created the online course for. Then, think about what your online course has to offer. This will help you gauge the prices you could potentially set.

Next, you want to set a revenue goal for your online courses. Work out how many subscribers you will need and paying what price to reach the goal. Have a look at how many people you already have on your email list.

A good tip is to go check out competitors’ prices. Have a look at the length and depth of their content. This should give you an idea of where you should be setting the price.

13. Get students

So now that it’s all set up and ready to go, you want to figure out how to draw people into from your online community to take your course. There are so many ways to do this but the best place to start is by emailing your mailing list. Start promoting it before the launch date. Nothing gets people more excited than the buzz of something new!

14. Promote

Use your resources! Post on your social media and share it around. Make catchy adverts and get people’s attention. If you can get individuals to share the content, you’re reaching more and more people.

You can also use paid adverts to promote your products, such as through Facebook or Google ads.

If you’re stuck, have a read of our article with some extra ideas on how to get members into your online community.

15. Launch!

Here we go. After months (or weeks) of work, it’s now time to launch your online course. Hopefully, by this point, you have plenty of content and people who are keen to sign up. Don’t forget to keep promoting, keep creating content and keep it all fresh! Congrats, you’ve now learned how to build your own online course!

How can you go beyond online courses?

Here at Disciple, we believe that online courses are only a part of a greater puzzle. By building your own app you can have your community in one place where they can grow together. Also, you can incorporate online courses as a part of your app. This means that everything members need is in one place. They can take the online course while interacting with other members by chatting about their common interest. We have seen this be very successful in communities such as Rod Stryker, Results with Lucy and A Year With My Camera. If you want to learn more about building your own community app for your online courses check it out here.