Online learning was one of the secret industries that were growing silently under the curtain. A lot of investors and entrepreneurs looked away because of the traditional learning industry. However, people started growing their businesses online and online businesses started to grow and save money more compared to other business models. Same revenue but lower production cost. After the COVID outbreak, everybody had to give a chance to e-learning, and entrepreneurs in the industry hit the ground running to show their talents and solutions. It was finally their time and the business world might have changed forever. But who are the main players of the industry? What was the volume before the pandemic and how much did it grow? Let’s break into it.
Online learning industry
Research and Market suggested that the online learning market will grow up to $350 Billion dollars by 2025. Not a number that could be underestimated. The goal on the market was to make education accessible and affordable for all. Why do we need to make education accessible? Because it was hard to find the best teacher when you live on different continents and speaking different languages. Why do we have to make it affordable for all? Because education is a right and to improve and adjust to the society we live in we have to keep learning.
“The right to a quality education is, I believe, the perfect path to bridge the gap between different cultures and to reconcile various civilizations. Without such a right, the values of liberty, justice and equality will have no meaning. Ignorance is by far the biggest danger and threat to humankind.” -Moza bind Nazzer
Who are the key players in the online learning industry?
There are a lot of platforms that are serving in the online learning industry, some entering market new some are very early adopters. To start with Udemy, Coursera, Skillshare, Edx, and Udacity are the ones that everybody talks about. But we never should forget the service providers for creators. A new market is emerging since more and more people started creating course content on various topics. Now online learning has a new perspective since the education phenomena are evolving. The number of billionaires that have left college started on increasing and society started asking questions like “Is this conventional system really the best?”. The major problem was that the learning trend has changed and conventional methods started on failing and be reflected as a “waste of time”. Now people want to be time effective, people want to learn the idea quickly and expect to learn by trying and failing. For that reason, platforms like Masterclass have evolved where unique talents give core information and mini-courses on “How to be X”.
Is selling online courses profitable?
The short answer is, YES! The long answer is a very detailed one. But let’s summarize it like this. A book can make you earn about $120,000 a year and teaching in an institution can make you earn up to $109,000. However turning your knowledge into mini-courses can make you up to $4,000 per month, per course. It’s affordable and profitable for a short-term goals. Also if you come up with a good marketing and upsell strategy you can increase your income in a very short period. But why is it profitable? Because day after day, reaching into a good quality education is becoming more and more expensive. People want to learn things to work and earn money but getting a quality education is already pricey. Let’s check out United States for example, an average tutuition cost per year is around $30,000 and according to the Washington Post financial aids in universities can’t keep up with the growth in the college costs. That’s why a lot of people have to work while studying or can’t afford a loan in the first place. That’s why it’s safe to say that people are willing to pay for a $500 to a good quality course that teaches tham how to build an online store. That’s why content matters! People are looking for a good quality course content to pay. If they can’t be convinced that the content will benefit them to make money, improve their skills, the chances of paying for a average cost for an online course is low. Learning about building a good content strategy and good curriculum is very important as well as creating advertisement content.
How should a course content be?
Eventhough online education is self-paced course content should be still appealing to improve the learning experience. The main thing is that, if you want to create an income from your online course you need to approach it as a business. You need to make it effective so that people get value from it, and recommend to others. The best marketing is the marketing supported with testimonials and happy users. Your happy users will be your students.
To make the course content appealing and serviceable there are few key things to consider. Let’s dig deep and discuss about how a great online course content should be.
Engaging Online Course Content
Eventhough online course success is measured with different metrics and these metrics are changing while the market grows, the completition rate still gives a really good insight about how you serve to your students.
“Gamification is design that places most emphasis on the human motivation in the process. In essence it is human focused design” -Yu Kai Chou
In order to make sure that your online course content is satisfying course completition is a good metric to follow. Why won’t a student finish their course? The reason is mostly about engagement. If the course content won’t be engaging it won’t create an excitement to follow and finish. To increase the engagement you can try to add up a few of these things often:
- An effective and useful advice that is applicable with low cost to excite them and make them to take action to try and learn
- An entertainament like GIFs, small funny clips or gamified course parts to keep students engaged
- Call-to-actions to push student to take action, observe results and come back to improve and learn more
Educational Online Course Content
Never forget the primary goal of people’s motivation in investing in online courses; they want to learn. Learn with the most condensed version. To make sure to offer a great content one should always have a key focus on the course and give quality information that they can’t find on internet easily. The information should be based on true experience and true events. In order to make sure you are giving your best information, like in every other business model, you should see how the market is crowded and how others offering things. You need to make sure that you are covering a lot of the things they cover, plus new unexplored things to compete on the same price.
“There's no reason why children in inner cities or rural areas do not receive the same quality education or opportunities as those in suburbs or wealthy neighborhoods. If we truly believe in giving all citizens a chance to pursue happiness and pursue their goals, then we cannot continue to marginalize entire groups of people.” Al Sharpton
Make sure to give a great research before planning your online course content. Go to online course marketplaces try to find a great price range, and look over their course curriculums and course outcomes. These informations are the ones that can be reachable without paying money. If you want to take a step further and learn more about the content you can also purchase one to see the battlefield with a closer look. It will give you a greater chance to stand out and craft your true value proposition that will make you sell your course. Some places to look for competition could be, Udemy, Skillshare, Lindy, etc.
Entertaining Online Course Content
What is meant by the entertainment is not creating a comedy show or funny stand-up words. However to keep people engaged one should make sure to offer an easy to follow content. There are a lot of information going our there to make people watch your videos, read your blogs, or follow your content. Even after the rise of tiktok and reels people started to look closer to keep people entertained and engaged. We researched, tested and listed tips for you to follow.
Hooking the audience
This is the number one tip we and the rest of the world give when it comes to make people keep looking. This is the golden rule of marketing. To hook the audience and send them over to the sales team to close the deal. The strategy will be the same. Start your course with an interesting fact, interesting story or interesting event to keep people interested and keep people wanting to learn more. This is a storytelling technique to keep your audience interested and engaged. In online course content case the best is to start with a story. A story you have experienced and a story where your life or career changed.
Another storytelling basic is that the storyteller should create an authentic bond with the audience. It’s a statisticaly proven fact that people are generally remember the feelings more that words. And feelings are transmitted through a great story. To make your course memorible make sure to spice things up with triggering the emotions.
Challenging the myths
The online education industry is a very crowded place and a lot of people has a lot of thing to say. Most of the things are based on experience and cannot be validated easily. The one with the better marketing plan wins, even if it’s right or wrong. For this reason, like in every other industry online learning industry is also filled with myths. People enroll with a lot of assumptions. Challenge them! Challenge them and prove that the myths are wrong. Offer a different but winning solution.
To add one of the things online business owners has struggle with is to show their faces and being natural. Especially when it comes to taking action, taking the stage and standing in front of a camera. Not everyone is born to be a natural camera person. Even if you have second thoughts, small mistakes or insecurities make sure to take action and be genuine. If yuou are trying to create an online course, you are actually building a large classroom with self-paced learners. For this reason you need to make sure to be open to conversation and be natural to evoke people to come talk to you, ask for more information. This is a great way to grow your business; by building a community. Make sure to follow up on students, build trust and great conversations.
Inspirational Online Course Content
Did you know the common thing of the successful Linkedin brand pages? “Thought Leaders”. Thought leaders are the stars of the brands and they increase clickrates of the companies. For example Thrive Global is founded and backed by Arianna Huffington which is a huge inspirational leader and an influencer of the business world. Being an influencer for yourself and becoming a role model for your students is a great way to keep them engaged. If they see a solution that worked for you and your business they are more likely to see a solution for themselves and they will more likely to try it out if you have at some point of your life. That’s how influence works. Turn your identity into an inspirational story and market your course with your success.
This is called social proof. Social proof is a socialogical and physiciological phenomena that explains to taking reference of other’s actions while decision making. For this reason try to build a social identity on social platforms so people can resonate with you and your solution. If they don’t believe you they won’t be taking action with the information you offer.
Leave your perfectionism aside
One of the major problem a lot of online lecturers have is to delaying launch again and again. It’s generally caused by perfectionism. Especially when lecturers launching their first courses they try to be extra professional and perfect which eventually leads to a delayed launch or no launch at all! For this reason you need to leave your perfectionism aside and take action after first edits. Without waiting launch your online course content and wait for reviews. One of the major benefits of online courses over offline courses is that lecturers can review, edit and re-launch their online courses when they need to. Every mistake can be editable in this situation. Just make sure to keep an eye on analytics and try to take feedbacks as much as you can.
How to find resources for your course content?
It’s always hard to start anything from strach, even if it’s your profession. Everyone needs a guideline or at least a pool of information to start. Before diving in and starting to record and produce course content one should always take a step back and collect every resources they have. It can be a powerpoint, a quiz, a blog, a workbook, a cheatsheet, a podcast, an infographic, a movie, etc. It’s basically anything that teaches you how to do things. Bring up those old dusty resources on the table and start on reviewing them. Find the best piece of information and start on repurposing your content. Make sure to squeeze out the information and have an extract to give to the audience with a condensed way.
Like in every other day of the week you should start with a list of things to cover. Not for the day, but for the course. Create a list of things you want to cover based on your research and always ask yourself if it’s combined with other headlines. This is how you create parts of courses or mini-courses out of big ones. Some mini-courses always brings more profit that the large one since it’s focused and condensed.
Finding the right template
Like discussed above, starting from scracth is a very inefficient way to start doing something. 60% of our users start a new thing be repurposing or start with a pre-prepared template. The good thing is that Decktopus is filled with templates especially for online course templates.
Time to shoot
Next up, shooting time! Note that not every online course content is on video form. Sometimes it can come up in podcast, a newsletter or a workbook series. So based on that you can offer your content in different formats and we suggest you to create all different formats to repurpose later or creating a diversity on your content. You can always offer as a text based content, as a video series or as a podcast. In this part of the blog we will be covering different gadgets and tools to use to produce and distribute online course content.
Tools and gadgets for course content creation
No one likes long text and no visual PDFs. If people liked to read long research papers so much, academic world would me more crowded than you can imagine. Guess what? To make your text based content engaging, eye pleasing and fun we have the perfect tool for you!
Intelligent presentation layouts with auto-adjusted components and scaled text, as well as professional customizable templates; present, collaborate, and share your deck online without the need for downloads. It is a creative online platform that allows users to save time and relieve stress while easily creating breathtaking and gripping presentations.
Creating documents for your course shouldn’t be harder than getting your experience for all these years. Don't give up just yet if making another slide show makes you want to abandon technology and go totally off the grid!
You can kickstart with ready-to-go templates, putting forms inside and make it interactive as you wish.
You can always learn to use iMovie rather than paying for a video editor. It’s relatively easy platform to create simple videos. Generally all content creators starts with iMovie at some point. If you feel like you can’t handle it, you can always pick the other answer.
You have two content choices in iMovie, you can create a movie or a trailer. For a movie, you have full control over the editing process. A Trailer, on the other hand, is a pre-made structure with pre-made titles and effects however you won’t need to create a trailer probably. There are other tools like Canva where you can create short clips to pre-launch your course.
This is a tool for the ones who want to handle two things at once. Audext is a recording and editing app that combines a video player and a text editor to help you transcribe audio digitally. It operates by second-by-second processing an audio tape, deciding what word is spoken at each second, and saving each word into an audio recording transcript. When the task is over, the computer will return a list of terms that it comprehended.
That’s how you can also create a written content while you work on your video or your podcast. Transcribe as-you-go services are a great way to save time!
How to support course content with bonuses?
Sometimes students needs extra push and content. It can be for advertisement purposes or just community purposes. Make sure to create bonus contents next to the course content. This can be different tips about your complementary courses, general summaries or cheatsheets about your contents. These things will stick with them forever like your resources sticked with you untill today. One day they might also pick up those documents to review and remember of you. The best support documents are generally short and to-do-point.
Communities for course creators
There are a lot of communities out there for creators and e-lecturers. Here is a list of Linkedin Communities for online course ecosystem:
- Online Course Creators and Coaches
- Learning, Education, and Training Professionals
- International Higher Education Teaching and Learning Association
- Decktopus Insiders Community