Online Course Creation Made Easy
This article explains how to create online content. It breaks down the process into five easy-to-follow steps, and discusses each step in detail.
Creation is a process that cannot be induced at will. However, it is not an impossible process either. With the right mindset and correct guidance, creating content can be achieved.
You might have had a great idea, but are struggling to translate it into a comprehensive online course. There is no need to worry. Follow these five simple steps and before you know it, you’ll have created a most effective online course.
Step One: Defining Learning Outcomes
As with the first step of any process, Step One of creating an online course needs time and attention. If this step isn’t planned meticulously, it can create more work for you when you’re already into the next steps. At times you might have to abandon all your good work and start on a clean slate.
Step One focuses on defining your aim.
The Two Whys
To define your aim, simply ask two questions to yourself. Both begin with ‘why’.
- Why do learners need this course?
- Why is this information important to your learners?
In other words, once your learners finish the course, what particular task will they be equipped to handle? Why do they need to learn about specific policies? What is the exact outcome of this course and why is that outcome important?
By breaking down the first ‘why’, the outcome of a course gains clarity. It will make the process of selecting content simpler, as the course-creation progresses.
Now we come to the second ‘why’. Why is this course important? The answer might be obvious to you, but not so to your learners. It is imperative that you make it clear to them. At the onset of your course, clearly outline the following:
- How the course will enable them to meet their needs
- Why this course is relevant
- How this course will help them achieve their goals
Step Two: Who is it For?
Since you are creating the content, it goes without saying that you’re an expert in your chosen domain. But your learners are yet to reach that level. It is important to have this differentiation clear at the onset.
Having a clear idea of your learners will enable you to create content successfully. It is a smart move to provide a wide range of elements in your course. This will ensure it’s receptivity to a wider audience.
Focus equally on audio and visual content. Some learners might prefer one over the other. Consider making your course a rich mix of video content, text and pictures. This also generates greater learner engagement.
Don’t hesitate to ask your learners what they want and what they like. How comfortable are they with technology? Are they adept at eLearning? What is their preferred mode of retaining information?
The more you ask, the more you learn. And the more effective your course gets.
Step Three: Content Mapping
Creating an online course without a clear map is like trying to build a house without a blueprint. Both attempts are bound to fail. Therefore, you need a detailed map which will guide you in the process of creation.
Make a structure of how to push your learning towards higher levels of thinking. This will allow learners to understand and retain information better. Instead of focusing on memorized definitions, encourage learners to apply their education to actual situations.
Word documents are crucial to this step. Divide each category of learning into three sub-categories: a header, several topics and elements. Once you have the sub-categories ready, it will be easier to structure your content.
In the sub-category of ‘elements’, mix it up with text and images. This will keep the learner engaged and interested.
Step Four: Content Building
This is the actual creation part of your online course. One word of advice: instead of going all out, try making do with what you already have. This will save you on training. You can then use the savings to make your content more sophisticated.
Consider implementing elements of social learning. Social media tools, forums and discussion panels help learners to share their experience and learn from one another. It instills a spirit of teamwork and bonhomie.
Step Five: Feedback
You might think that your work is over once you have created your content. But that’s not enough. You need to constantly get feedback for your course to keep fine-tuning it’s effectiveness.
A great way to ensure feedback is to make surveys a part of your course. The course should also be reviewed every few months to keep the information updated.
Now that you know the five steps of content creation, let the sky be the limit. Keep focusing on the non-creative aspects of content creation as well, and see your content achieve great success!