E-learning is all the rage! You can now study nearly any topic ranging from coding to fashion design and everything in-between. For free or at least at a heavily discounted rate! This is thanks in part to the rise of digital learning platforms such as Skillshare, Thinkific, Khan Academy, Teachable and more.
Let me first preface by stating, I’m no stranger to the e-learning environment. During my academic career, I must’ve taken at least a dozen e-classes. Even minoring in a variation of online communication. However, outside of the academic setting, I must admit I didn’t have much experience with e-learning platforms. Well, that was until I launched my first online course via Thinkfic. So, what drew me to e-learning? I guess you can call it the Karate Kid effect.
You are being taught by an individual with real-world experience. The student has a chance to become the sensei. After friends jokingly told me I should become a social media teacher, I took them up on their call-to-action. Despite spending weeks researching what makes for a successful e-course, blog posts, forums and vlogs could not prepare me for my exploration. Below are the three most important factors I learned after launching my first e-course.
Keep Your Content Clean and Concise
One of the most challenging tasks when choosing to teach an e-course is selecting an area of your expertise that others would be interested in exploring. After selecting this topic, as the instructor you may naturally become a bit heavy-handed with your course’s content.
Speaking from personal experience, with social media as my topic of choice, I immediately began to dive into advance techniques and features of the multiple platforms I wanted to discuss. So much so, the first draft of my course’s syllabus read more like a doctoral dissertation rather than a course guide. My suggestion to you? Create course sections!
In higher education, for more advance courses, student must build a foundational knowledge of that topic by taking prerequisites. Instead of cramming all your course’s content into one class, separate the content into levels such as beginner, intermediate and advance. This allows students to absorb key theories while retaining smaller concepts without feeling overwhelmed.
Your Hosting Platform Is Equally Important
All e-learning platforms are not made the same! Now that you’ve carefully developed your course’s content, invest the same effort into researching the platforms that could potentially host your course. Compile a list of your top prospects. Study the platform’s features, pricing, built-in customer base, bandwidth, cross platform promotability, etc. and compare this to your vision for your course.
My suggestion? Be sure to read the about page on each of the platforms’ you are interested in thoroughly. Browse sample courses! Enroll in a free course being offered on the site. This allows you to get a feel of the student’s experience, design options and more.
There’s More Than One Way to Learn
The human brain is infinitely unique which isn’t that surprising considering how different we are as people. According to science, there are three types of learning styles; visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. With that said, when developing your course, you do want to keep this in mind. When you select a platform to host your course, pay particulaly close attention to the features offered. Is there an option to upload video? Audio uploads? Closed captions? File upload options?
On the same note, as the instructor it is your responsibility to package your course’s content for these learning styles. A simple talking head video will not work universally. Nor will a 35-minute podcast. My suggestion? Try to mix as many learning methods as you can! For my first course, I chose to record a series of video lecturers with visual inserts as well as design a corresponding course workbook. The workbook included mini-assignments to help students reflect on that topic’s lecture.
And there you have it! Three of my top tips to help you develop your first e-course. I hope this post helped you! If you’re interested my social media bootcamp course, Introduction to Social Media, it is available now on e-learning platform Thinkific. Click here to enroll!
Are you looking for a home for your new e-course? Give Thinkific a try! With no fees to join, an easy to use custom site builder and instructor customer support team; Thinkific is ideal for instructors with all experience levels.
For full disclosure, although this post is not sponsored, for transparency I must state that I am an official ambassador for e-learning platform Thinkific.