Designing a successful online course is not a one-size-fits-all type of job. Every business, every audience, and every topic is different. That said, there are some basic guidelines to follow that can help you design a course that will be successful for your audience. 1) Know what your audience needs or wants. 2) Make it relevant. 3) Make it accessible. 4) Make it consistent with the rest of the site and branding in general.
5) Keep it interesting. 6) Offer incentives for participating. 7) Engage them from day one. 8) Ensure they’re on board with the process. 9) Provide support along the way. 10) Measure success throughout and at the end of the process. 11) Get feedback. 12) Be willing to adjust/adapt. 13) Have fun!
1) Knowing what your audience needs or wants is an important part of designing a successful online course. It’s good to know who they are and what their interests might be so you can create content that speaks directly to them. Ask them about these things during signup or via other means. 2) Relevance is also key: it’s no use providing content that won’t be meaningful to the people who have signed up for your course. The more closely related your subject matter is to the audience’s own work, the more likely they’ll feel like they’re getting something valuable out of the experience. 3) Making your course available is another way to ensure it will be successful for the participants. With technology being as prevalent as it is nowadays, many people learn through listening and watching media. You want to make sure they don’t need any outside equipment because then they may not participate. Consider making videos instead of slideshows if this is the case. If possible, offer closed captions (CC), subtitles (SR), and transcripts (TR) when presenting audio or video recordings.
4) Consistency with your website helps users navigate easily without feeling lost. In order to do this, make sure the courses you create fit within your overall organization. 5) Keeping courses interesting is imperative; people lose interest quickly if they find it boring or irrelevant. Don’t just think about what you would enjoy learning; think about what others would find engaging too. If a person thinks they’re wasting their time while going through the course material, they probably won’t complete it – and neither will anyone else who takes notice.