How to create an ecourse

Would you like to teach online? I am here today with a friend of mine, Manuela, and we have designated it “elearning day”.  Both of us are keen to get an ecourse set up and running.  We’ve talked about this for more than a year and finally found some time in our schedules to sit down and research this in depth today.

We thought we would share the process with you, so that anyone interested can also learn how to go about this.  We’d love your comments, questions and feedback below as well!

Firstly, this is a fairly new field and it can get complicated even when deciding which terms to use when talking about it!  I wrote a post recently about elearning you might like to check out, where I was deliberating over how to actually write elearning.  Then, it’s worth making a point that it seems the terms “ecourse”,  “elearning course” and “online course” are all fairly interchangeable.   What we mean is a structured manner in which people can work through materials to learn something specific, delivered online.

Manuela Damant is a Leadership Expert and NLP Trainer.  She has an amazing range of experience from working with corporates and small businesses, as well as individuals.  She has run a number of workshops and would like to get this content online to reach a broader audience.

As a social media trainer, I have already run the Zestee Social Media School online for more than 3 years now and have learnt a lot in this time about different methods of tackling elearning both as a teacher and a student.  The last course I ran for Social Media Strategy for Business was in late 2014, which I built myself on a WordPress Platform, using LMS (Learning Management System) Sensei from WooCommerce.  I’ve since seen lots of great new platforms emerging like Udemy and Skillshare and am keen to do more with these.

I also work now part time at The Hague University of Applied Sciences and there have had interesting experiences recently with the more “traditional” learning methods.  We are also looking at bringing more elearning into this environment as well.

I love elearning and wrote a blog post last year called “The Elearning Explosion” and have presented on this topic several times.  So I’ve already had a little experience but today we really wanted to get stuck in and make some practical decisions.

We are both based in Delft/The Hague, the Netherlands but are very internationally-minded.  Manuela is Swiss but has lived in several different countries and I am originally Australian but have also lived in the UK and now settled here long term.  Both of us have dedicated many years to building our skills, knowledge and career and have run our own business for some time.  Now we are looking for ways to share this knowledge with our connections and clients, some of whom are here in the Netherlands but others are overseas.  Both of us have delivered a number of live training workshops but we are excited about the potential of capturing some of this information and sharing online to reach an even wider audience.

So when looking at how to create an ecourse, where to start?  There are many different things to consider.   Here are some of the questions going through our minds today which we plan on answering in the next few hours – and will share our learnings with you in another blog post!

We organised them into 8 different categories:

1.  Content for an elearning course

  • What content do we have, both written and in our heads, that is of value to others
  • How do we structure that content to convey it to others?
  • How long will that take?
  • What is our own IP and what is others?
  • What are others out there doing with elearning and who can we benchmark against?

2. Platform for elearning

  • Which platform should we choose?
  • Should we use more than one platform?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of the various platforms?

3. Method/Structure for elearning 

  • How can we most efficiently go about creating an ecourse
  • How exactly should we structure it?
  • What kind of workflow do we need to use to do this all efficiently?
  • Can students sign up at any time and go through it as they wish or will there be a set “study period”
  • How will students access the materials – on a computer, iPad, iPhone or other manner?

4.  Creation of our ecourse 

  • Actually crating the videos & text: do we do it ourselves or do we need help?
  • What kind of balance of materials is optimal?
  • Creating PDFs and downloads – is this worthwhile and how should we do it?
  • Should we and can we create quizzes to assess learning?
  • How long will it take us to create an ecourse?
  • What kind of tools will we need to create our ecourse?

5.  Pricing our ecourse

  • Should we charge for our course and if so, how much?
  • How much of the earnings would we keep if hosting on another platform?
  • What are the costs of actually setting up and maintaining an course?

6.  Marketing our elearning course

  • Who exactly are our target market?
  • Once we have an course, how should we let people know about it
  • Will the platforms we decide to use also market on our behalf?
  • Do we need to spend money on marketing?

7.  Managing our elearning course

  • Once people sign up, do they need much input/interaction from us?
  • What are the requirements of the various platforms in terms of interacting with students?
  • How much time do we need to dedicate to managing our course?

8.  Updating our elearning materials

  • How long will our ecourse remain valid?
  • Do we need to update contents regularly?

So that’s 30 questions which will keep us busy for the next few hours!  We are now going to get stuck into answering these and will report back 🙂

Renee & Manuela