Don’t worry, many have done it before you and many more will after you are done. There is no need to reinvent the wheel, however it is important to understand what works online and what doesn’t.
The value of what we already know about curriculum development (from decades of research) is going to help you build the foundation for your online course. However, before you tackle this phase of the process you need to make sure (as much as possible) that there is an audience for your content. You need to know this for economic reasons as well as to help you understand what it is that your audience is looking for. After all, what is the point of all this work if it is not what people are looking for?
It is OK to build a course for a small audience, as long as we understand this right at the beginning and set our expectations accordingly. My first online course is an example of a “niche” course, my audience is only a few thousands insurance professionals and limited to one of the smaller province of Canada. I knew this when I started and I designed the marketing efforts to zero in on that audience. I also knew from my research that the workforce in the Canadian Insurance Industry is aging. So, I could safely bet on the fact that many new people would need to get licensed to become agents or brokers in the industry. My educated guess was correct. That course brought and continues to bring in a decent income every month. With a fairly small amount of work upfront, you too will be able to better understand your target audience.
Let me add that I feel a course’s success does not have to be measured only against financial return on investment (ROI). If your goal is to teach some valuable skills or concept(s) to an audience for free, you still need to research the “market” and understand your audience to make sure you are the most effective in teaching which is to have your audience “learn” what you are offering. So, early in the course we will be reviewing standard curriculum development methodology, starting with the needs analysis.
It would be sad to invest all that time and energy and have no one benefits from it. And, you can no longer use classroom teaching method for the Internet. Recording a day long class and publishing that video online is not going to be successful. Just look on You Tube for videos where the teacher is standing in from of a whiteboard and lecturing… On a standard video shot, the trainer will be 1” tall at most, the whiteboard will be barely readable and often the audio will be of poor quality. Or worst, the image from the presentation slide will obscure the presenter face and look very unprofessional.
How long can you stand watching something like that? You need to do better to stand out and succeed in the world of online learning, you can no longer assume that on the Internet, “if you build it, they will come”.
So, if your goal is to teach, and you are willing to learn and work smart, let’s get started…
On this site, you will learn how to make an online/web course. Whether you already have the curriculum developed or not.
I will take you, step by step, from the needs analysis, to the curriculum development and finally to build a web site to host it and market your web site so that potential students can find you.