What are the 3 most important elements to include in your online course?

I’m sure that you want to create the very best online course that you can, something to be proud of and something that people will enjoy and learn a lot from. In order to create a course that resonates, here are the 3 most important elements to include in your online course.

1. Clear and compelling learning outcomes

I have added this as the first element because it is the most important. Think about it, would you pay someone for a product if you don’t know what that product will do for you? Of course not. Your course attendees need to know what they’ll be able to do, know and feel when they have completed your course.

  • What skills they’ll gain
  • What new knowledge will they have
  • What feelings or emotions will they have moved towards or away from

I mean, would you buy a mystery face cream that may give you a beautiful clear complexion, but may also make you grow a beard? Sure some people want a clear complexion – and some people want to grow a beard. But these are very different people. If you tell people the outcome is to grow a beard, it’s very clear to those who want a beard that this is the course for them. But if people don’t know HOW your course is going to help them, they’re not going to sign up.

2. Effective and engaging content

Think back to when you were at school, did you have a teacher that stood out from the others? What did this teacher do that the others didn’t? It was probably one or more of the following things:

Effective teachers…

  • Understand the different ways that people learn
  • Use a variety of course content. They create course material for different learning styles ie. auditory, visual and kinesthetic.
  • Don’t drone on and on. Make sure lessons are concise and to the point. People are busy and too much fluff and not enough content is likely to annoy them.
  • Are passionate about their subject matter. Passion is infectious, so a passionate teacher leads to passionate learners. Passionate learners will want to learn and enjoy what you’re teaching them.
  • and lastly, Effective teachers care. They aren’t interested in making a quick buck, they care about providing lasting value to their clients.

So with this in mind, you need to decide on the best way to deliver your content. Will you have video or audio content, PDF’s to read, will you provide activities for people to do? Providing a variety of different materials ensures that the different types of learners will be engaged and learn.

3. Personal interaction

People need to know they will be supported when taking an online course. Knowing they can reach out to someone if they don’t understand something or have a problem helps. Here are a couple of ways to provide personal interaction for your course attendees:

  • Let them know how they can get in touch with someone if they need help as soon as they sign up.
  • Share a schedule for when you’ll be present in Facebook lives or live Q&A sessions (for example).
  • Community learning areas like Facebook groups and forums are another way to provide personal interaction. People can engage with fellow course attendees and help each other out and you can join these discussions.
  • Post weekly announcements to provide an overview of the coming week’s topic.
    Regular emails and announcements are another way you can “be present” to your course attendees.
  • Post a quick video to clear up and misunderstandings about a particular topic or assignment.
  • When you are present and engaged in the online classroom, your course attendees are more likely to be too.

Last thoughts
It’s not too complicated. If people know exactly what your course outcomes are, before signing up. If you give them engaging course material and have lots of guidance and support throughout the course, you really can’t go wrong. So what are you waiting for? Why don’t you share your knowledge with an online course?