What is the best online course format?
Once you have decided to create your first ecourse and you are all set to start with your desired online course format.
There is something which you need to know.
Believe me, it can cost you a fortune if you ignore it.
So, What is it?
See, when I first decided to create an online course in digital marketing, I really struggled a lot.
Hence I have to study like hell & I’ve to create a full-fledged marketing structure & a whole lot of work was done on content creation.
And I also have to manage the pricing accordingly.
But against my expectation, I wasn’t able to get many students.
You know why?
I found out that I had different types of students, some were business pros, others were small business owners while some of them were just starting up with digital marketing.
Based on this categorization, their needs were also different.
And their most important need was to get the same thing in different formats. (i.e.online course format).
So, I have to come up with my own marketing course structure based on their categorization.
Let’s see different types of students:
1. Small business owners: This class of students has very limited time as they remain very busy, they have to handle a lot of things.
So, they need a study resource which won’t kill their time.
Something which they can study on the go, like a podcast which they can listen anywhere with their headphones on.
2. Business pros: This class is result-oriented and highly focused on their goals.
They like to have clarity in their approach.
And they are more likely to opt for a video course or live sessions.
3. New marketers: This is my favorite class, they are full of enthusiasm & are ready to win the world.
All they want is to understand the concept & implement it asap.
They are the ones who are least bothered about the format of your ecourse.
They will opt-in for your full-fledged course no matter it’s audio, video, pdf format or live streaming, provided it should be helpful with great customer support.
You will wonder to know that according to a survey, customer experience will be the biggest sales factor by the year 2020.
That leads to an important point:-
Create something to help your customers, not to make money
So you have to select your course format very carefully.
And here are some quick things which you can do to find the best format for your online course.
How to find the right online course format?
I am a marketing expert & long time back when I started digital marketing for the first time.
I was supercharged about the concept & was moving like a rocket to learn digital marketing.
But as I started to dig deeper, I was shocked.
That digital marketing which I was thinking of as a small lake turned into a deep deep ocean, which has lots of big waves.
It has SEO, social media marketing, google ads, facebook marketing, e-commerce & lot more.
See, In order to be a successful digital marketer, there are a lot of concepts to be learned.
So, I have to give some extra time to learn everything
Similarly, while finding the right format for your course, there are various mandatory things in your way to select the right course format.
Here are a few ides about online course formats.
Concepts & ideas for selecting the right online course format.
1. L2C (Learner to Content): In this format, Your students opt-in & interact directly with your course content.
There is no face to face chat with the mentor.
This type of course format mostly includes :
- Youtube videos
- Online blog
2. L2I (Learner to Instructor): As the name suggests, when you use this format, you interact with your students and teach them one on one.
This one is really helpful for newbie marketers.
In this online course format, you can
- Teach lessons directly.
- Organize quizzes.
- Create projects.
- Go live on video chats.
- Email blogs are also helpful.
3. L2L(Learner to Learner): In this type of ecourse, all your students can interact with you as well as with each other.
This method is good for interaction as well as great source of social proof.
This format allows you to:
- Chat live with your students.
- Create a forum for students.
- Write blogs.
- Write Glossary.
4. Time-based courses: Sometimes selecting a right course format can be a pain in the neck & needs a lot of research.
Most of my big clients have timings problem so I have adjusted accordingly.
Let’s see some time-based courses:
A. Synchronous: Here your students interact with the mentor through live sessions, chat or virtual classrooms.
All the students & mentors go live at the same time and everything happens in real time.
B. Asynchronous: These type of courses are really popular nowadays.
In this type of online course format, you have to create your course & upload it to the internet.
Students can join & learn at their own pace without even going live.
Now, if you don’t have your own website, there are various platforms where you can upload your course like
5. Private group training:
While starting a business or during scaling business, sometimes entrepreneurs suffer from specific problems.
These problems are situational, which they can’t handle themselves.
And they have to look for professional assistance or course.
These problems are so specific that they need a specially tailored course just to solve that particular purpose.
For such businesses, you can provide a special handmade course in the form of private training.
It can be either a 1 on 1 or a group training.
These tactics will definitely help you to reach a better decision while selecting your online course format.
Let’s quickly recap it.
So follow these steps & you’ll do fine.
But before selecting your course format, it’s always a good idea to follow some basic thumb rules.
Basic thumb rules to follow while choosing the perfect online course format
1. Who is my target audience?
After all the mistakes in my early days, I have learned one thing.
Customers come first, passion comes second
So, whenever you decide to start with your online course, the very first thing you should do is to ask yourself
Who is my core audience?
Is it the newcomers.
Are they pros or somebody else.
This one basic research will give your course a big leap ahead & you can plan your course accordingly.
If you still find any difficulty, don’t hesitate to take some time for research.
2. What do they like?
Whenever I have guests at home, I always try to figure out what do they like to eat?
Why I do so?
This isn’t hard to guess.
Because it will make my guests happy.
And they will come back again & again.
The same rule applies to your students. If you provide your ecourse in their desired format.
Then it’ll be easier for them to understand & learn.
It’ll also enhance the customer experience.
And they are much likely to come back when you launch another course.
Furthermore, you can double your results when you mix it up with your strength.
3. What is my strength?
As a blogger, many times it happens that you want to write about something really trendy.
So that you can get traffic.
And you work really hard at it.
But when it finally comes out, nobody wants to read it.
Why does it happen?
Its because you aren’t passionate about it.
Its because your content is not powerful enough to hold them, that’s where you are losing.
See, nowadays competition is really intense.
According to Curata’s content marketing strategy, 75% marketers have increased their content marketing budget to stay on top of their game.
Which makes it further important to have a commanding command over your concept.
And based on your strength you can choose the best format for your online course.
For example, if you are good in video editing then you should create videos. If you are a good writer, create pdf.
So, while selecting that perfect online course format, always remember,
Real success comes, when you mix your passion with hard work.
There is no chance of failure.
With this method, you can instantly start working on your online course & create any type of course.
Different formats for your online course
Like everybody else, If you also want a quick & easy method, then Pdf is ‘the’ best ecourse format.
Especially suitable to discuss huge concepts in an easy peasy manner.
Students can download your pdf & go through them as many times as they want.
But how to create a pdf course:
Creating pdf course is one of the easiest things to do.
All you have to do is to create an awesome piece of content in plain text or word format.
Then convert it to pdf.
How to convert files to pdf?
1. Softwares: There are various tools through which you can easily create beautiful pdf files like
- Pdf creator & lot more
2. Online tools: There is an unlimited number of online sites where you can easily convert your word files to pdf.
Just go to google & type “word to pdf” & you’ll get tons of sites.
2. Videos: Videos are one of the most popular online course formats.
They are highly engaging & easy to consume.
According to social media today’s report, a video has 135% higher organic reach on FB compared to photos.
I guess that’s why ‘YouTube’ is the biggest video platform.
Furthermore, all the online teaching platforms are taking special measures for videos.
If you are also interested in creating a video course, here are some quick tools to help you.
1. Quik: It’s a small mobile app & it has one of the most user-friendly & easy to use interface.
You can create a musical slideshow within minutes.
2. PowerDirector: Its another powerful tool with some cutting-edge features, a must try for everyone.
3. Adobe premiere pro: Adobe is one of the most trusted & longtime favorites for video making pros. It offers all the features needed to create a professional video.
It comes in both desktop & Android versions so that you can continue your progress from where you left.
4.Inshot: Inshot offers all the features of a professional video maker in mobile devices.
Does it ever happen to you that you ordered something in the hotel?
But what came out was completely different.
Most of the time it happens because the waiter mixed up your order with another table’s order.
See, there are certain course formats where you just can’t afford to do a mistake.
And spreadsheet is certainly one of them.
While creating an online course, various topics need to use mathematical calculations & tactical functions.
For example, if you have a course on business management, you have to track record of your different client’s records & their budget.
Here you can’t use anything except spreadsheets as it offers a lot of different mathematical features.
And you can easily create spreadsheets in
- Microsoft Excel.
- Google spreadsheets.
- Apache open office
- Excel online etc
4. Podcast: Podcast presents your content in audio format & it’s really popular among the busy classes of online learners like small business owners & business pros.
They prefer such courses in order to utilize their time efficiently.
Such courses are mostly easy to create.
All you’ve to do is to record your voiceover & upload online.
You can easily create a podcast by using a good quality microphone on your PC or mobile.
According to Edison research, People listen to 64% of the total podcasts on phone or tablets only, So it can be a good choice.
Sometimes you may get confused in selecting the right format for your course.
& let me tell you, selecting the right elearning format becomes much easier when you know how you are going to deliver it.
Choosing the best online course format based on deliverability
Being a speaker I’ve been to many speaking events.
Small, big, all kinds of events.
In every event, Speakers come one by one, present a great speech, share tons of value & leave.
Usually, the audience applauds for everyone but some of the speakers get really big roar.
You know why?
It’s because of their way of delivering the speech.
The speech is so powerful & intense that people get attached to the speaker.
Similarly, in your online course, a lot of things depend on how you deliver your course.
Some of your students might want it through email while others may like to have a full access.
Furthermore, according to content marketing institute, B2B companies are looking to spend 28% of their total budget on content marketing only.
That’s how important it is.
Value is important but the key lies in how you deliver it.
So, let’s see how to deliver your content.
Email is an up close & personal thing.
Being an entrepreneur, you can spend a week without facebook but you can’t afford an hour without checking your email.
Many students from the busy class prefer to receive direct access or download links via email.
Through emails, you can easily send your pdf files & other important attachments.
You can also set up an automated sequence to deliver the mail at regular intervals.
2. Online hosted third-party platforms:
This one is popular nowadays, here you just have to create a course & upload it on a platform like kajabi.
You can provide your students a direct link to access your course on the platform.
These platforms are highly secure & keep your course safe from unauthorized access.
They support different kinds of formats including videos.
3. Zip file
This type of online course is most preferred for those courses, where you don’t have a video file.
Here you just have to provide a direct link to download your zip course.
This method is highly effective for areas with the low-speed internet.
4. Online Academy:
Because of its long-term benefits, most of the giant businesses are going for this type of online course format.
Here you can create your own online academy.
Students can join the academy for a minimal membership fee & learn.
And you can upload as many courses as you want.
Here you can offer various formats also.
When I started writing my book ‘Twisted marketing’ for the first time, I have to struggle a lot & work for continuous long hours without a single break.
It was literally a pain in the butt.
But as I grew, I took different courses & read hundreds of books on marketing to discover various secret tools.
These tools made my work a lot easier & reduced my work time.
Now that you have selected a right format for your course, you’ll need these tools to create an awesome online course.