Making your first Online Course

Many business owners such as consultants, therapists and coaches are making online courses as part of their website offerings. But if you’re creating your first ever online course, the journey can be daunting. Worry, not! This article gives the basics on how to get started with online course addon for your business website.

Tools for online courses

As a website owner, you have a choice. You can create your online course with tools such as Teachable, Kajabi, Thinkific as well as an elearning addon for your WordPress website – LearnDash. So which option is best for your business website?

I love LearnDash because it connects well with your existing WordPress website and shop. That means, your customers can purchase an online course from the same website where they see your business offers and a business story. Looking for examples? Here is one of our customer’s websites with an online course.

Planning your Course

Planning your online course is as important as recording your lessons. With a clear course structure, your students will truly learn from you!

List your course chapters

The first step is to look at the big picture of your online course. Just take any book and see the list of chapters to get inspiration. Now, imagine how your course could have a similar list. What will people learn about when going through your course?

We have a tip here. Take a sheet of paper or better, a bunch of sticky notes. On each sticky note, write down “I will teach ….” On each sticky note, write down all ideas that come to mind when you think of your online course. One idea per sticky note. Now, group similar ideas together. Well done! Here, you have a big picture of your course. We can call this list your course chapters or “course modules” or a “course outline”.

Get a presentation template

Now, when you have a rough idea of what your course will be about, get ready to get some help for teaching. It’s always easier to teach with a visual presentation. Imagine how your customer will feel like looking at the screen. Surely, their attention will follow you when they see visuals on the screen. We call it “course slides” or “course presentation”.

There are two ways to get your course presentation together. Hire a designer to create an online course slides for your PowerPoint or Keynote. Or, use a template from Canva or Google Slides . A template is a great start. It will help you to get your ideas out of your head. You can always get in touch with a professional designer in the process.

Reuse the template

Now, when you have a course presentation template, you want to keep reusing it to make sure your course materials are on-brand.

Let’s go back to the previous step for a moment. So, if you made a list with 3 things that you’re going to teach throughout your course, this means you need 3 presentations. Each presentation will be used to explain one chapter in your book (online course, I mean!).

Fill the presentation

Now, you’re ready to make that point that you want to teach! We have a tip again. Express first, edit later. Imagine you’re in front of your student. Fill each slide with whatever comes to mind. You’re a teacher here. (If it’s easier for you to create slides when a real human is present or if you want someone to be your mirror and create your online course presentations for you, we are always here to help of course.)

Now, let’s say we have a course presentation ready, so we can record the first video lesson.

Recording your lessons

For this article, we’re looking at the basics of making your first ever online course. So, we’ll use the easiest way to record your lessons: Zoom.

Prepare tech

Have your laptop connected to the WiFi. All screens like Internet browsers closed. Open Zoom, your video and audio on. On Zoom, share a screen with your course presentation.

Prepare yourself to teach

Wear the colour and a smile. Get lots of light to your face. It’s acting time. Yay!

Record your video lesson

Hit the “record” button. Smile. Imagine you’re delivering the great news! Talk through the slides.

Pause the recording

If you’re sharing some exercises where you want to show something with your hands or face on camera without the slides shared, simply pause the recording, un-share the slides, hit the record button again and do the exercise as part of the lesson. Then, stop the recording again, share the slides, continue with the slides. Tip: These bits can be edited later on as well!

Close the recording

When finished and closing the Zoom, a pop up should show up saying “saving this recording on your computer”.

Editing video lessons

Rewatch your recordings and do it again if needed.

One thing to mention about editing your video lessons. Yes, of course, we can go fancy with editing your videos, like adding a logo before and after each recording or adding sounds in the background, but this article is about the basics of making your online course, so let’s forget about those fancy things for now.

The most important when making your first course is to get going and get used to be in front of the camera. The rest is easy and comes step-by-step.

Adding lessons to the course

When video lessons are recorded, we have two options to put them on the Internet and onto your online course made with LearnDash and WordPress. Upload your videos to Youtube unlisted setting, from there we can embed it into your course. Another option is a paid Vimeo PRO account which allows a private sharing.

Tips for recording videos

In general, technology aside, what you want out of your online course is your personality shining. You want to connect with your learners in a human way. So here we have a bunch of funky tips ready to boost your creative mood!

  • Smile and improvise with the body posture (“gorilla exercise”)
  • You’re the actor here delivering great news!
  • Wear colour or funky outfit – to spark a funny mood!
  • Alternative to outfit – decorations that spark a funny mood!
  • Lights on
  • Record in short chunks (3-5 mins per recording, 15mins max) with creative mood in mind, when still feeling rested
  • Conversational tone is great, starting with a question is perfect

What do you say? Have you tried recording your first ever online course yet? How did it go?

Fancy a help with making your first online course? Let’s talk.

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