Whether you plan to create courses for the corporate sphere or sell them for individual learners, creating an online course is a process that requires a careful approach. In this article, we provide you with a grab-and-go scheme to help navigate this process and get set up.
To start off, let’s define the type of course you’re going to create. The main types of courses created to sell to individuals are:
- Courses for leisure
- Hard skills training courses
- Personal development courses
- Coaching courses
If you plan courses for employee training, they might address:
- Job-specific skills
- Soft skills
- Product knowledge
Courses can address various tasks, differ in structure, and include several content types. But all in all, the process of their creation is pretty much the same and starts from assessing the audience, needs, and goals of your training.
Step 1. Provide a training analysis
During the preparation stage, you should ask yourself the essential question: “What will my learners be able to do after the training?” Think about your target audience. If you’re creating it for a company, here are the things to consider:
- Which department(s) will take your course?
- What results do you or your manager expect to see from the learners?
- What are their positions?
- What is their prior knowledge of the subject?
- How do they feel about the idea of training?
- Will it help them in their work?
Try to answer these questions precisely, identify a concrete training need, and set a specific goal. For example, you can formulate it like “We aim to increase our customer base by 120 percent,” or “After this course, my learners will be able to create their first game in Java.”
Step 2. Organize your work
At this step, you clarify the expectations of your client and lay out a framework for your eLearning project. There are some things that you and your customer/manager should agree upon before developing a course.
Points to consider:
- Who are the stakeholders and decision makers in your project?
- What is the deadline?
- Do you need the help of subject matter experts (SMEs) to prepare the course?
- Where can you find appropriate SMEs? How do you communicate with them?
- What is the budget?
- What are the limitations?
- Do you need help administering the project and delivering it?
Step 3. Generate a storyboard
Let’s say you’ve consulted with an SME to get a notion of the future course contents. Now it’s time to map out what your course will look like. A storyboard can be created in different ways: as a Word file, a PowerPoint presentation, and more. You can even sketch it out by hand, as in the example below.
Step 4. Prepare the texts
Texts are the backbone of your course scenario, but keep in mind that they shouldn’t be excessive or lead to boredom. This applies to both the texts that you put on screen and the scripts that you plan to record as a voiceover. Voiceovers might not be necessary for all courses, but they can be essential for language training, for example.
When writing texts for a course, it’s better to adhere to the following rules:
- One screen should convey one idea.
- Write only core concepts on slides.
- Test how your texts are displayed on different screens.
- Highlight the key points.
- Support your texts with multimedia.
Step 5. Think about style and branding
Not only is the content of your course important, but the way it looks too. If it’s for corporate use, it should adhere to certain requirements in terms of design. When preparing a course, follow the brand book or brand style guide of your company/customer, which usually includes appropriate color themes, fonts, image formats and resolutions, and more.
If you prepare a course for individual learners, also try to make the style of your course consistent. Tend toward pleasant colors (it’s a good idea to research the effects of various colors), choose a font for the course that will be clear and understandable, and stick to this style along the course. Make sure all visuals (graphs, images, and video previews) match the chosen color scheme and aren’t irritating.
Step 6. Assemble the content
Now that you have the structure of your course and have the needed texts and media at hand, you can build a course from these materials by using an authoring tool.
If you’re new to eLearning, you should opt for a handy tool that doesn’t require programming skills to build a decent course with interactions. You can try iSpring Suite for free. It’s a robust software that helps you put it all together: add visuals, choose from 14 types of interactions and assessments for your slides, record audio and/or video, create a dialogue simulation, and more.
Step 7. Add the finishing touches
Finally, make sure your course is all set: check that the animations and triggers function as planned and slides are in the proper sequence. Also, check how mobile-ready your course is. If you select a mobile-friendly authoring tool beforehand, it won’t be any problem. Preview the course, check how the texts and images are placed on various screens, and adjust links and tabs to the different mobile devices.
Your course is now ready. Well done!