What is an online course? In the (not so distant) past, when you said you wanted to take a course it used to mean attending an in-person class. Or an old-school correspondence course via snail mail.

Then the world moved online

And courses moved with it. According to Wikipedia:

“In 2000 only 8% of students were enrolled in an online course, but by 2008 enrollment had increased to 20%. The expansion of online education has not slowed either; by the fall of 2013, nearly 30% of all postsecondary students were enrolled in some kind of distance education course. “

(And after “the year that shall not be named” aka 2020, I’m sure these stats will have more than tripled.)

From 2013 we saw the rise of online learning portals and MOOCs, or Massive Open Online Courses. Produced by organisations like edX or Coursera, these courses still had a synchronous and structured approach. Designed to resemble traditional face-to-face learning. They were led by experts in the field, people with what was considered relevant experience.

The rise of Google-versity or YT College

Now you can learn about everything, everywhere. More information is available now than ever before. The first step for people who want to learn about something new is to Google it or search for a video on the topic on Youtube. It’s safe to say that you’ll find information on any topic you’re interested in, using either of these tools.

And sure these tools can FIND you information on anything. But you still have to sift through all the results they serve up to find quality information. It’s time-consuming and often frustrating. Which is where the new brand of online courses come in.

The new definition of an online course

If we look at the dictionary definition of the word course it says:

” a direction or route taken or to be taken.”

It doesn’t say that the route needs to have x, y and z to be effective. Or that the route needs to follow a specific path. Or that you need to have a certain qualification to create a course. As long as you can create learning content in an organised way that allows users to progress in their understanding of a certain topic – you’ve got a course.

You also need to consider that people learn in different ways and a structured approach doesn’t always work. So if you can guide someone on a path (to a desired destination/transformation) just using FaceBook Messenger messages, that’s a course.

So what does that mean for you as a course creator?

Creating a successful online course doesn’t have to follow a cookie-cutter approach. You don’t need to include all.the.things if you don’t want to. Take some time to talk to your target audience and figure out what they want and then make sure you cover your topic in a way that suits them. It’s only as complicated as you make it.

Need help with your course?

I can help make you course creation as easy and stress-free as possible with my done-for-you services. If you don’t see anything that suits your requirements, we can work out a custom package just for you.