[UPDATED: JUN 2023]
Online courses are rapidly becoming the dominant form of learning owing to their flexibility and ease of creation. In today’s world, instructional design is not only widely accepted with academic and professional institutions but also is becoming a popular tool with online business owners and service providers to educate their audience. Often motivated by the unlimited earning potential from online courses, many solopreneurs decide to turn their expertise and online content into online courses. But in order to see successful learning outcomes (which should always be the main aim of any online course) several steps need to be taken when creating a course as outlined in the online course tutorial below.
It may come as a surprise that instructional design and subsequently course creation started in the early 1900’s. And while it has been far from what we consider to be the norm of online education today, it’s important to understand that a lot of work has gone into the process of developing educational instructions for the internet.
But before we dive into how to do it correctly with the course launch tutorial, one must understand what it takes to create the necessary content for an online education unit.
What is an online course?
An online course is designed as a built environment for learning. It’s constructed as an experience that can be followed sequentially or can be accessed throughout the designated time period depending on your learners needs and course topic.
It’s a directed learning process, consisting of educational information (articles, videos, images, web links), communication (messaging, discussion forums) and some way to measure students’ achievement (tests, quizzes, reviews).
There are several ways one can create an online course by either self-hosting it on your website or taking advantage of the plenty course platforms available to the market today.
Why create an online course?
And while all the above may be great information to know, you still may wonder what’s in it for you if you decide to launch your own online course. Below are few reasons why creating a course is a great idea:
The perfect way to share information with your audience
If you are a teacher or tutor, you can use Teachable to create course content for your current students. They can then refer to this material at home or in-class.
It’s a fantastic way to make money on autopilot
The online education industry is expected to be worth about USD $325 billion by 2025. You can capture some of this revenue by creating several high-quality courses that can be sold online through Teachable.
You can establish yourself as an authority in your field
Many authors, businesses, and academics create online courses to enhance their reputation and establish themselves as an expert in their chosen industry.
What do you need to create an online course?
Now that you understand the benefits of online courses, you just may wonder what it is that you need to actually launch your own online course.
For starters you will have to figure out the exact topic you wish to include in your online course. Certainly, you can either create an overview of your expertise or go totally into details, all just depends on your wants and your audience’s needs.
With clarity on your course topic you will need to come up with an outline for your course of what needs to be covered and in what order, what content and support materials you will need to create (videos, workbooks, slideshows, etc.) and decide on the amount of access you want your students to have to you aka the expert, and so on. Or you can just team up with me and together we can launch your online course with ease and no tech overwhelm.
I know it can be rather intimidating at first if you know so many pieces need to be created in order to make it all work smoothly, but there is always the mini-course first approach that allows you not only to start small but also test the waters into course creation land.
And of course, there are plenty of tools that can make your course creation experience so much easier. So if you want to get started right now and stop wasting time on tech, download my free Course Creator Roadmap that will help you along the way.
Step by Step Course Launch Tutorial
Thankfully, while it may seem hard, it’s really not too difficult to launch an online course. IAnd to help you with the process, ’ve put together this step-by-step course launch tutorial on how to do it. To make sure that you’re ready, I’ve condensed the process down into eight easy steps, so let’s get started.
1. Decide On Your Course Topic
The first thing that you’re going to want to do when it comes to your online course is to pick your niche topic. Any online course tutorial worth its salt should tell you the same thing.
You need to have a good topic to turn into a course because otherwise, you won’t have much content to offer! All classes start with a skill, a passion or an idea.
If you’ve picked it, you can validate it. This is a process of checking out the industry and competition to see how valid your course would be. And while at it, don’t forget to check out your competition’s offers to help you create an even better online course.
2. Plan Your Course Outline
Building an outline is a core part of an online course tutorial. If you want to turn passion into profit, that’s good, but you need a plan – you can’t just go rushing in. And there is no shame if you only want to start with the creation of a mini course.
Outline how you’ll teach the course by breaking up every part of it into a module and lesson. Make sure that there’s a point to each part of the course. You don’t want to have extraneous material or pointless sessions.
At this point you also want to think of all the support your learners will need along the way and how you will assure them that they will walk away with all the knowledge you want them to learn.
3. Select Course Hosting Platform
So, you’ve got your course lined up, and you’ve got a good understanding of what you want to do. You’ll need to research what kind of online course will work best for you, but that’s not too difficult. I have reviewed the most popular course platforms for you already.
As mentioned before there are many different platforms available, and if you’re tech savvy you may also consider hosting your course on your own website. No matter what you decide to do, don’t pick the first best one you come across as moving course platforms can be a pain. And if you want to try before you buy, I can highly recommend Teachable to host your next online course.
Choosing a platform will vary according to your specific needs. You’ll need to consider the overall cost for visitors, what kind of services are offered, and ultimately, if the site is suitable for you.
4. Create Your Course Structure
When you have successfully found a platform, the next step in the online course tutorial is to build a structure and timeline. Surely, I can speed up the creation process but will this be beneficial to your learners? And while at it, you can grab my Course Launch Planner for free.
While you did put together an outline, now is the time to fine-tune and perhaps even move things around. Always remember you are the expert here and know best what your students need to learn about your course topic. Revise it as you go along.
We touched on this briefly before, but now it is even more critical to make sure that you structure the course to be taught effectively. Consider the purpose of the course first and foremost – what do you want to achieve, and how do you go about doing that?
5. Design Content and Learning Materials
Writing and creating content for a course can take time, so you can always outsource this part if you want to. You’ll need to put together enough content and materials for your lessons to be effective, which depending on what you’re doing, might be a tall order.
You can launch your course with a few lessons only and build it up once you get feedback from your students, or even pre-sell the entire thing before creating it. But no matter what you do, cut out all the fluff because nobody wants it and people will drop out if you waste their time.
It would help if you ensured that every module and lesson has enough information to give people the skills they need to pass the test and finish up at the end while enjoying the content and always stay motivated and engaged.
6. Setup the Course Tech
As already mentioned, when you have content, it is essential to split it up into different modules and lessons. Consider the end result you want people to walk away with and work your way backwards to the starting point. Check out this tech tutorial to see how I create online courses without tech overwhelm.
Only with all the content and supporting materials in place will you go into your course hosting platform to assemble your course. I know it’s fun to upload the content for your lesson as soon as you create it but take it from a seasoned instructional designer, you’ll save lots of time by batching the entire process.
What I mean by that is write all the course copy on one day, design all the graphics on another day, record your videos, etc. You’ll thank me later when you don’t have to re-do and upload something several times because you changed your mind during the process.
7. Launch Your Online Course
You’re pretty much good to go at this point. With everything loaded into your course hosting platform, you are now ready to officially welcome your students to your course.
But wait, how will they be able to join your exciting course? For that you need a sales page or course landing page where visitors can register and process payments. Most course hosting platforms will already have a setup for you in place, all you have to do is assign a price to your course and they handle the rest.
And if you are nervous about the tech setup, I have a tutorial on how to set up your course on Teachable in a few steps.
8. Promote Your Profitable Course
Congrats, you’ve done it. All that you need to do now is to drive web traffic to your sales page, let the world know that your online course is launched and promote your course through marketing and/or social media, and you’re good to go.
Surely, it sounds pretty easy but there are so many things to consider post course launch. After all, while it’s a great feat to create an online course, unless people know about it nobody will buy it, right?
So, once your course is launched it’s time to figure out ways how you can let the world know about your exciting offer. You can focus on organic traffic, create sales funnels or even use paid ads to grow awareness about your online course.
There is no right or wrong way, you’ll just have to try it out and find your sweet spot on the internet.
Small Step To Successful Course Launch
No matter how many steps you take to create your own online course, it’s important to take it slow. Overwhelm can kill your drive to launching your own online course. List all the tasks needed to create your online course no matter how small and check them off as you go.
You’ll be surprised how much motivation it can be to place a small check on a list of never-ending tasks. Don’t overthink the process and always remember you can go back, actually you must, and update the course from time to time or even add on more lessons.
Just like with everything else in life, an online course is a “living thing” (especially dependent on your expertise and niche) so treat it as such and make sure to give your learners the best and latest version of your know-how to not only impress them but also give them what they have paid for: knowledge to potentially pass on to others in the future.
No COurse, No problem – get started today!
And if you don’t have an online course yet or thinking of automating your expertise or passion with an online course, below are some recommended resources for you to get started:
- My Favorite WordPress Hosting Deal
- My Favorite Course Hosting Platform
- My Favorite Social Media Scheduler
- My Favorite Tool for Graphic Design
- My Favorite Email Marketing Platform
- Join Course Creator Bootcamp Course
- Watch the Content2Course Masterclass
- Or Download Course Creator Roadmap
And if all this is still too much hustle for you but you’re ready to turn your expertise into profit in 2023, join the Course Launch Challenge to launch your own course in no time.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in January 2022 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness. In addition, I believe in transparency. If you use my referral links above, then I will get a small commission at no additional cost to you.