How to create an online course


Online courses are a great way to gain extra income and build a personal brand. They can also be a great tool for improving your business or getting more clients.

However, if it’s not done correctly, creating an online course can be a huge waste of time and money. I’ve created hundreds of courses since 2008 and have learned from my mistakes along the way. In this post we’ll look at how to create an awesome course that provides value to prospective students as well as yourself!

Do thorough research into the topic

It’s important to do thorough research into the topic you want to create an online course about. Researching thoroughly can help you come up with a more comprehensive and beneficial online course for your audience. Consider this list of research topics as a starting point, but also think about other areas that would be relevant to your niche:

  • The market: What are people in this industry looking for? What are they already doing? How could they use an online course?
  • Competition: Who else is offering similar content or solutions? Are there any gaps in their offerings that yours could fill?
  • Learning styles: How do people learn best—by reading articles or watching videos, or perhaps by taking actionable steps right away (such as making a chart)? You’ll need to know how people will be consuming your content when creating it so that it works best with their preferred learning style(s).

Interview people who have taken online courses to see what they like and dislike

The best way to create an online course is by asking the people who will take it. Interview and survey your target audience to see how they currently learn, what they find challenging, and where they are struggling with their goals. Then use this information to guide your content creation process. Just as you would want feedback from a friend before they start writing their novel or building their app, it’s helpful for you to get feedback from the people who will be using your course before you invest time and energy into creating something that won’t generate results.

make sure you know who your target audience is

You should know who your target audience is and what they want. Be sure to include their interests, the problems they have, and how you will solve them in your course.

Be aware of your competitors and take a look at what they offer so that you can make sure yours is better. Check out their pricing, too—your course must be worth more than theirs if it’s going to sell well.

Lastly, think about what is available on the market right now: do people have similar products? Are there any holes in the market that need filling? If so, then do it!

create something original, not a rehash of other resources

  • Make sure you’re not just creating a rehash of someone else’s work. That said, if there are resources out there that have already done the heavy lifting of research and writing, it can be very helpful to use them as inspiration to get you started — but ultimately, your content should be unique.
  • Ensure that what you create is original and adds value for your audience by doing some research about the topic and ensuring that no one else has covered it in depth before. Don’t worry so much about being “original” in terms of having never-before-seen information; rather, focus on being informative enough so that people will feel they are getting their money’s worth when they buy your course!

create an outline and syllabus for your course

After you’ve decided on a topic and the length of your course, it’s time to start creating an outline for your content. This is especially important if you’re planning on teaching this class more than once. If you have one class per semester, you can probably get away with making up some random lesson plans as needed and just filling in the holes as necessary. But if your course is going to be ongoing, or even just repeated over time, then having an outline helps ensure that every student gets exposed to all the same material in roughly equal parts.

First off: make sure there’s enough content to fill the length of your course (or at least almost all of it). It should be obvious why this doesn’t make sense—no one wants their students sitting around twiddling their thumbs while they wait for their professor to finish writing! On top of not being very efficient from a scheduling standpoint, though, having too little new material means that students won’t get enough value out of taking a class with you again later on down the line—which may mean fewer repeat customers!

Secondly: make sure that whatever lesson plan format(s) you choose fits within both what makes sense logistically as well as where they logically fit into each other (and/or other classes). For example: You might decide not only how many weeks each section should last but also whether or not students will receive extra credit based on attendance (or lack thereof). All these decisions should come into play when deciding what topics need covering first versus later – which leads us right into our next point…

use humor as part of your teaching style

Humour is a great way to engage students and help them learn. It can be used to teach difficult concepts or concepts that might be difficult for the student to understand.

  • They’ll remember it longer
  • It’s easier for them to understand
  • You’re more likely to have fun teaching (which makes you more effective)

figure out how every lesson should be structured

Step 1: Figure out how every lesson should be structured

  • Make sure every lesson has a clear purpose. You want your students to know what they’re going to learn before they get started, so make the objective or topic of each lesson clear and obvious.
  • Make sure every lesson has a clear learning objective. What is your student expected to know at the end of this section? What are they expected not to do? How will you measure their mastery of those objectives? If you can’t answer these questions, your course may not be very effective or engaging for them (or for yourself).
  • Use a variety of teaching methods. Don’t just rely on reading text and listening; mix up the activities by using images, videos, interactive exercises, etc., so that each part of your course feels different from other parts and keeps things fresh for both you and your audience.

choose the most appropriate format for each lesson (video, podcast, written text)

When it comes to teaching online, there are a wide variety of formats you can use to communicate your lessons. You may choose to use video, text, or audio content for your course. Video is the most popular format for online learning because it helps students stay engaged and creates a more active learning environment.

Video is also useful when you’re showing students how to do something, such as using software or equipment.

keep all lessons short (no more than 10 minutes)

The reason why students’ attention spans are so short is that they have a lot of information coming at them all day long. They’re bombarded with advertisements, email alerts, and new posts from their friends on Facebook. Because of this, it’s important to keep lessons short (no more than 10 minutes) and simple enough for your audience to digest in one sitting. Students need to be able to understand the lesson in order for them finally choose whether or not they want to take the course or not.

pack as much value into each lesson as possible and make it engaging

  • Make sure you’re engaging and interesting.
  • Use humor and personal stories to make the lessons more memorable.
  • Use visuals or examples that students can relate to.
  • Try out different teaching styles: videos, podcasts, written text, etc..
  • Keep it short!

find a way to provide one-on-one attention to students in the course

Provide one-on-one attention to students in the course.

You can do this by answering questions, providing feedback, providing support, or guiding them through a problem they’re having.

it’s better to spend a lot of time upfront creating an awesome course, rather than rushing through and creating an average one.

  • It’s better to spend a lot of time upfront creating an awesome course, rather than rushing through and creating an average one.
  • Don’t try to do too much in one course.
  • Don’t try to do too much in one lesson.
  • Don’t try to do too much in one video or podcast episode.


We hope you’ve found this guide to creating an online course helpful. It might seem like a lot of work, but once you get started and start seeing the results, it will all be worth it. We wish you good luck on your journey!

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