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Aug. 6, 2022

Five Simple Steps to Create an Online Course

Five Simple Steps to Create an Online Course

Today we're talking about building a course, something that is a great option if you're an author, a content creator, a thought leader, a coach, or a consultant. 

Building a course can take your one-on-one training and change it to one-to-many so you can save time and effort while bringing in more money.

We're going to simplify it by sharing five simple steps to create an online course.

Watch the video to see the same ‌slides that I use when I create a course.

Who Should Build a Course? 

Courses are great digital products for trainers, coaches, consultants, thought leaders, and service providers to create and sell. 

If you offer any kind of service, that can present an opportunity to create a course, or a library of content for people to learn from you. 

How to Stay Organized While Creating Your Course

You need to have a system to keep your materials organized so you don't have things all over the place and forget what you wanted to include in your course.

I create Google folders, one for the course, and within that folder, I create two more folders, one for slides and one for resources

Use numbers for titling the slides. I number the introduction as 0.0. Then for section one, 1.0, and then for the next lesson, 1.1 and the next section as 2.0 and so on. 

Keep everything numbered so that it stays in order. Then when you go through everything, it's a lot simpler and keeps you organized. You can move things around or add lessons and renumber them as needed.

Create a theme for your slides and stick with it throughout. A theme is the background of the slides that you're building and what the layout will look like on that background.

Our slides have a banner across the top. Our contact information is in the bottom corner.

As you're designing your slides, think about where your video frame might appear on the slides as you are presenting them, and leave ‌space if necessary to accommodate that.

Five Steps to Build Your Online Course

  1. Topic outline
  2. Slides
  3. Resources
  4. Videos
  5. Platform

You can choose the platform first to make sure that you're confident with it. The platform you choose will also determine how you put your course together.

Start Building Your Course With a Topic Outline 

Decide what ‌you're going to be teaching and outline so you know what it starts with, what it includes, and how it ends.

Don't worry whether it's perfect when you start, because you'll be adjusting as you go along. 

Answer the top questions that you get from your clients or target audience. What do they want to know? 

Along with answering those questions, offer your experience and your insight. Share what you've learned from going through the same process that your students are going through.

That way, they'll see you've already done this, made mistakes, and then learned the right way to do it. You're helping them take a shortcut by purchasing and going through the course. 

Your Course Outline

  • Logical list
  • Introduction to the course
  • 5 - 7 Sections
  • Summary
  • Next steps

For your outline, make a logical list of what you should include in the course and in what order you will teach it. 

Your course introduction should summarize the lessons and list the expected results. People purchase a course because they want to experience a transformation. What transformation can you offer your students?

Write the titles of five to seven sections that explore your topic thoroughly.

Finish with a summary and next steps. Once people have achieved the milestones in your course, what should they do next?

For every lesson, include resources and action steps. 

The sections are the main points. You might have three to five lessons within each section. 

Build Your Course Slide Sets 

Remember that you're going to have one slide set for each one of your training videos.

We have a course on Udemy and some ‌presentations are as short as four minutes because we wanted that encapsulated capability.

We wanted to do one thing at a time and not try to fit a lot of things into a single slide set. Keep that in mind as you're creating your slides.

I've created slides so many times over the past five years that I don't do the outline as a separate step. I'm outlining as I'm creating my slides. Each slide has bullet points that keep me organized.

With Google slides, it's very easy to move, change or add slides. 

If you’re comfortable building slides, you don't need to create a written outline first. You can just jump into slides the way I do. You're actually building your outline while you're building your slide sets.

Each lesson is a slide set, and you can create organized bullet points. You'll be speaking to each bullet point to keep you on track during your presentation. 

Create an intro and a closing slide for each section and each lesson. 

Within the slide set, you'll add five to ten main idea slides to explain the concepts in that lesson.

Next, include your resources. You might say “Now I want you to go to the Livecast Life workbook and look at page six and seven. Then do the action steps.”

Incorporate the resources that you've added to your course and explain the action steps. That is the homework your students must complete so they can implement what they learn.

Possible Resources for Your Online Course 

  • Infographics
  • Ebooks
  • Templates
  • Worksheets
  • Activities
  • Additional reading or videos
  • Quizzes

If you have a free or low-cost download you’ve used to build your email list, and it fits in well with your course topic, include that as a resource. 

Worksheets are helpful interactive tools for students to enhance learning. They have to read questions and write answers so they add on to the listening and watching they’ve already done. 

Activities push your students to participate in the learning process. They require students to do more than passively listen. 

Think of some activities to get the learner involved physically with the material. Give them additional reading or videos to watch, podcast episodes to listen to or tasks to complete.

In the Livecast Lifestyle course that I'm putting together, I talk about live streaming using OBS. We've already created a course specific to OBS, so I send students to those videos, if that is something they're interested in learning more about. 

One time we were working with a client who had a lot of trouble figuring out how to make her own Google slides. I sent her to a tutorial video that we found on YouTube that was very comprehensive. I said, make sure you go through that video several times until you ‌understand how to make your own slides. 

They have to watch the video and then do the work. It goes together. They can't passively watch and expect to learn. They have to implement the learning. 

Use quizzes to test their learning. Did they understand everything? Add a quiz, and you get to see what they have done. Then you know where they're at and if they need any additional help. 

Make your own simple worksheet by writing part of a sentence and have them fill in the blank with the rest of the sentence. Make sure students listen to the most important parts of your lesson by having them complete the worksheet.

The Easy Way to Create Course Videos

I recommend getting videos done quickly using slides to guide the presentation. You can be on screen in a small frame in the corner and show the slides to guide the lesson and point out everything. 

If you are demonstrating a physical task, you can insert a screencast or a pre-recorded demonstration video. 

When Toby and I were doing our Amazon live videos, he would record a video of all the equipment we were using and how it was set up for small set photography. That was a prerecorded demonstration that we could play during our live video.

If I wanted to show you how to make Google slides, that would be a screencast. It would show you all the steps on the screen. 

Screencasts and pre-recorded demonstrations help you teach with visual information. 

Once your slides, prerecorded demonstrations, and screencasts are done, then rehearse your presentation.

We use Streamyard as a recording interface. 

Rehearse the presentation once with your additional videos and then record it straight through for minimal editing. 

If you rehearse it once and then you record it, you should not have to edit that video once it's done.

Upload the video to your YouTube channel or a new YouTube channel ‌you create just for housing these videos. Keep them unlisted so random people aren't coming across them on the internet and you'll be able to use them in your online course. 

We use a screencast product called screencast-o-matic. There is a free version, and a paid version for $24 a year. We think it's worth every penny. It's a very capable screencasting tool and is constantly growing. 

Rather than being on camera, you can choose to do a screencast. 

We recommend letting people see your face at least in the introduction and conclusion of your course so they know a caring human created the course for them.

Platform Requirements for Your Course

Although we put our first course on the Udemy platform, you should know how to build and offer your course for sale on your own. That way you get to decide how to price the course and what experience you will offer your students.

Choose a platform where you're going to upload your course. You need to put it somewhere where people can easily access it.

The course platform should be simple for you to organize and work with. It needs to be user-friendly and accept video, audio, text, and images as part of your course presentation.

It should have learning management tools to provide interaction between you and your students.

There should be a payment integration.

Students can come to the sales page for your course and see what the course is about. Then they can pay for it and get started right away so that you don't have to be involved in any of that. 

Streamlined automation takes the student from start to finish.

The course platform should do all of that for you. If you find that you're doing too much cobbling together different apps to make that happen, that may not be the right platform for you. 

We're using Vonza for our course platform and it has learning management tools. It has a landing sales page funnel and payment integration. We purchased the Vonza app from AppSumo so we don’t have to pay a monthly subscription.

The more integrated the platform is, the easier it will be for you to run your business.

Instill Motivation Through Quick Wins

One of the most challenging things about offering online courses is people buy them, they don't use them, then they're dissatisfied. They might want their money back. These students buy in with high expectations of the wonderful transformation they’re excited to experience. They get into the course and it overwhelms them with information. They don't have the support that they need to get through it and they quit. 

This happens a lot with online courses and one way to mitigate that is to offer quick and frequent wins. 

Keep lessons short, fun, and interactive. 

Give students simple action steps that will build skills ‌they need to experience the results promised by your course sales page.

Students need to be engaged and interacting with the lesson materials so they can continue to move forward.

Provide resources to fill in gaps to keep people from getting stuck or feeling overwhelmed.

For instance, you can tell them if they need further help, they can watch another more in-depth tutorial video resource.

For those people who understand what you've just taught, they don't need to go watch the tutorial. But it’s available for those students who need it. 

Quiz them for understanding and to see if they are implementing the lessons.

For our livecast course, I would ask, what is the name of your livecast show that you're going to be producing?

They should have an answer for that. I'm going to call it Fun With Dogs

They thought about it and they answered it. There's no right or wrong answer. Just giving that answer is a big win for the student because it means they came up with an answer that they felt good about and they shared it with somebody.

It's super important to have that win to build their confidence.

Offer additional support through chat or email. Give them contact options so they can always reach out and ask you questions to help them stay on track with finishing that course.

They can’t experience the expected transformation if they don’t finish the course.

Membership Funnel

Encourage your students to join your membership group for additional support.

A membership community is an excellent way to offer additional coaching and support from you and the other students.

You can find out what part of the course is causing difficulties and offer workshops to cover that material. Then add that recorded workshop to the library of content available to members.

In our case, a membership group is a good opportunity for content creators to come together to collaborate. They can watch each other's shows and provide peer feedback.

We chose the app Heartbeat for our membership group. It's a great alternative to using a Facebook group. It is preferable to offer your members the privacy and convenience they ‌expect by using an app that you own. 

The Content Creator Lifestyle

We have published a book on Amazon called Livecast Life: the Content Creator Lifestyle, and part of that lifestyle is creating and selling digital products for your audience, including courses. You can go to book.livecast.life and get that book for yourself. 

This morning on my walk, I was listening to Amy Porterfield’s podcast, and she was talking about what she wished she would've started earlier when she began her career as an online entrepreneur. She focused on three things that would have really moved the needle for her in her business and helped her to grow faster. 

The number one thing she said she wished she would've started sooner was consistent content creation and distribution. 

To help you with that, we have created two infographics, the Content Consistency Framework and Schedule. You can get both ‌very helpful infographics at framework.agkmedia.studio. They're one page each. You can print them out, put them up on the wall and study them to become a master at consistent content creation.

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