About the author: Evan is the creator of Instructory, an online course about creating online courses. Instructory consists of a growing number of video lectures that walk students through every step needed to affordably launch a profitable online course.
Creating Online Courses Doesn’t Have to Be Complicated
Whether they’re used to train or recruit employees or sold to earn money, the number of available online courses is growing by the minute. It makes sense. Online courses are practical. Digitizing educational content and making it accessible online allows participants to learn when, where, and how they want to.
Yet, the idea of creating online courses is daunting. Companies believe it’s too difficult, requires specialized skills, costs too much or take too much time. The truth is creating online courses can be simple or complex, but it doesn’t need to be complicated. Here’s why:
You don't need to spend a lot on new equipment
Many people believe creating an online course requires expensive cameras, microphones, green screens and lights to produce high quality videos. While you may need to pick up a few new toys, they don’t cost as much as you think. Here are the essentials:
A digital camera that shoots 1080p video at over 24 frames per second (FPS).
A 3-point umbrella lighting kit.
A USB desktop microphone for voiceovers.
A lavalier microphone for any “talking head”-style videos.
A screencast software like Screencast-O-Matic.
A video editing software like iMovie.
You can buy all of this equipment for around $275. If you want to skimp further, you can forgo the lav mic and substitute your smartphone for the camera. Then the total would be less than $200. (I think your employees are worth it!)
You don’t need to hire new employees
Another misconception about creating courses is companies think doing something new means they’ll need new people with new skills. Does it hurt to have a videographer or instructional designer on staff to assist? No. Is it necessary? Also, no.
Certainly you or someone you employ can learn the skills needed to create online courses. You don’t have to be Steven Spielberg to create effective videos!
Another option is to crowdsource. Because online courses consist of a series of chunked content – videos, PDFs, webpages – you could parse the project and assign pieces to appropriate people across the organization. For example, Anne in Accounting could teach employees to submit invoices, and Ian in I.T. could explain how to reserve conference rooms.
You don’t need to host your own courses
“If we make courses, where we will put them?” asks Henry in H.R., skeptical of the idea. Onboarding a new platform or developing new functionality on the company’s intranet isn’t easy. Luckily, those aren’t the only options.
There are a number of affordable, hosted learning management systems (LMS) out there that make it easy to build, publish, and share your course content. Often, such solutions come with a support staff to assist if you need help (yet another reason why you don’t need new hires).
Another option, if you don’t mind sharing to a larger audience, is to publish your course on an online learning marketplace (OLM). Udemy, for example, has over 9 million students. (If you sold access to your course, you could quickly make up the $275 you spent on new equipment!)
You don’t need to create everything yourself
The Internet is chock-full of instructional videos, helpful articles and other multimedia content. Why not leverage pre-existing content instead of recreating it all yourself? Your team learns either way.
Geenio has a visual course builder that makes it easy to import created or pre-existing content and put-together courses – equipped with quizzes, surveys and homework assignments.
You don’t need to perfect your course immediately
Lastly, don’t waste time getting your course just right. The beauty of digital courses, in that they’re digital, is that you can rapidly iterate after publishing. You can seamlessly add new videos later, remove lackluster content, all the while gathering and adapting to student feedback.
If you’re still skeptical, Instructory is an online course about creating awesome online courses efficiently. You can use the code GEENIO at checkout to receive a 90% discount. Seats are limited, so act fast!