If you have valuable skills or ideas to share, creating an online course can be a good way to share your expertise and possibly make some extra cash on the side, or perhaps even build a business around your knowledge. However, it is not easy to create a course as some try to make it seem. Below I’ll share some questions that you need to ask yourself before you get started on your course creation journey.
1. Do you have the time to create a course?
Course creation is a time commitment. You’ll need time to create the course. That includes creating the content and all of the materials your students will need. If you plan to sell your course, you’ll need time to market it. And once you’ve enrolled students, you’ll need time to help them by getting them set up with all of the course materials and answering their questions (they will have lots of questions). If you plan to make a course that is self-paced for your students (meaning you will not interact with them during the course), you will still have to answer any support questions they may have. Then you’ll have to spend more time maintaining it and troubleshooting any issues.
2. Do you have the patience to learn new technology?
While the course creation technology isn’t too difficult to master, you’ll have to make decisions. You might have to learn graphic design, video editing and other software tools. You might need to learn how to use a new video camera or take high quality photos. You will need to have patience to try these tools and decide which ones are best for your needs.
3. Are you ready to make the investment?
As I mentioned earlier, you need to know if you have time – you will invest a lot of time creating and running your course. And you’ll possibly have to pay for some of the tech tools to create your course and a course platform to run it. In addition to that, you may need to invest in some hardware such as a camera and microphone, and if you have an older computer you might need to replace it.
4. Do you have the knowledge, expertise or passion for your topic?
The best courses are created by those who have interest and passion for their topics. You don’t have to be an expert if you’re willing to learn and be a thoughtful guide to your students. Your enthusiasm will make your course engaging and make it much more interesting for those you are teaching. Plus, it will make it more enjoyable to create.
5. Do you have a good idea for a course?
It’s not just about hearing that it’s fun to create a course and then deciding to dip your toe into the water to try it yourself. Yes, course creation IS fun! But you need an idea. Whether you’re creating one for free or, especially, if you want to sell it, you have to have a good idea. Let’s say you are a big horror movie fan like me. I get the idea to create a course on horror movies. And my big idea is to list 10 horror movies for students to watch and then have quizzes about them. Is that a good course idea? No, it’s not. No student would get much benefit from that. I Just make sure your idea for a course is a good idea.
6. Are you willing to put in the work?
Well, that course is not going to create itself, right? Are you willing to put in the effort to write content, record videos and learn how to create workbooks? The best courses are supplemented by additional activities and materials that you will have to design. In addition to creating things, you will need to do research on the best course platforms so that you can run your course. And if you plan to sell your course online you will need to work with marketing and ecommerce platforms.
7. Where will you teach your course?
Let’s say you’re willing to put in the time and make the investment and you have an amazing course idea. Then ask yourself can this course be taught online? Or is it better to teach locally, in person. Sometimes you may want to do an in person workshop so that your students can better interact with you or one another. Sometimes you may need specific equipment that your students wouldn’t have access to if your course was online. While most courses can probably be taught online, you will need to understand what’s best for your course.
So, are these questions you have already considered as you start planning your awesome course? Trust me, course creation takes commitment and discipline if it’s something you really want to do well, and actually finish, and get out to your students. You don’t want to start off all gung-ho and excited about it, then fizzle out when you see it seeping into your free time or your bank account! After you ask yourself these questions, and decide YES you still want to create a course, then get started! You are ready!