How to Structure an Online Course in 2020?
Online learning has become an essential part of our lives, especially after the Covid-19 outbreak. Many people all around the world head towards learning any subject matter through online platforms due to the unexpected conditions after the pandemic.
Online learning has reached a record high since it offers people to learn anytime from anywhere at low cost and it is also time-saving for them. Therefore, nowadays more and more people are interested in online learning and looking for appropriate and effective online courses regarding their professions or area of interest.
If you are planning to create an online course or you have already created but you still have some questions in your mind, this article will show you the way to figure out where to start, how to structure an online course, how to organize the learning modules, and how to make the content attractive for the audience. By using some alternative assessment tools, you can also have an opportunity to evaluate the overall learning of the participants and the course itself.
There is a lot to concern when you have an idea to share with the world. Depending on the procedures followed properly, it is highly possible to be successful in online training especially these days after the epidemic. A great number of people are looking for online courses to improve themselves in various aspects.
In this article, we aim to mention how you should organize the preparatory work before you begin, and then we have listed the main steps to be followed for a well-prepared and effective online course structure with best practices.
Getting Ready to Creating Your Course
The course development process is more complex and compelling than you have ever thought. Therefore, every step should be taken mindfully if the best ways to structure an online course are desired to be successful in the long run.
By taking your time with some preparation, you can overcome the potential problems before there is a chance for them to happen. So, the planning and preparation phase is one of the most significant parts of the course development. Before starting the journey, you need to consider and answer some important questions to avoid failure:
- What are the goals and objectives of the online course that you are going to structure?
- Who is your target audience?
- Which online platform can meet your expectations?
First of all, you need to determine the goals and objectives aimed to be fulfilled throughout the online course since the content of the course will be produced according to the target learning outcomes. You need to answer the following question:
What should be a learner be able to do after completing the course? Identifying the target results will lead the way through the achievement of the training and attracting more learners to your online courses.
Another consideration is related to the target audience who is likely to attend your online courses because it is not possible to create an online course for everyone. You need to structure your online courses for a certain group of people for a certain reason. So, it is required to prepare the outline of the curriculum and course plans according to the target audience to optimize their learning.
After planning the overall course plan, you need to choose a well-equipped online platform with best practices which is coherent with the content and structure of your online course because the appearance and framework of the course are crucial for the optimized learning experience. You can choose one among several user-friendly and well-arranged online platforms that offer you an opportunity to create online courses.
Structuring Your Online Course
After getting an outline of your online course including its subject matter, objectives, and target audience, you need to ensure that the structure of your course will be directive, supportive, and easy to understand. Online platforms provide a great convenience for the course owners because no technical skills are needed to create an online course. After preparing the necessary teaching materials, all you need to do is following the instructions.
If your roadmap is ready and you want to move forward to the next step, here are some tips for you to find out the best ways to structure an online course.
1. Introduction to the course
Every online course should include an introduction part at the beginning of the course. This section can give a good impression to the learners and makes a reference to how your course will be going on till the end of the course. First of all, you should start the lesson with a warm welcome since it is important to ease the learners into learning.
The introduction section should cover a brief overview of the course, schedule, syllabus, and any requirements of the course. After a quick introduction, you need to inform the learners about how they can get access to the course resources and how they can get support when needed. In this way, you can make learners feel comfortable about asking for help and using the platform to reach the content easily.
In addition, it would be beneficial to apply a survey before starting the course so that you can learn their expectations from the course and compare it with the results of another survey at the end of the course. This is a great source of information about the effectiveness of your course and the reviews of the learners.
2. Moving forward to learning
After a brief introduction, your online course will be composed of modules and sections which are pre-planned in accordance with the curriculum. The micro-learning method, which an education method dealing with small learning units, is frequently used for online courses to be more effective in a short time. Objective-based teaching strategies are involved in the modules and overwhelming content is avoided to prevent information overload.
Each module should be formed with a well-defined objective stated at the beginning and a brief summary at the end so that learners can keep up with the pace of the course. The course content should also include dynamic activities that will engage learners in the lessons. Multimedia materials such as storyboards, videos, and tables make learners focus attention and understand better.
The first module often covers any prerequisite knowledge and need-to-know details enabling learners’ understanding of the following concepts. A high-level briefing session would be a good start to cover any concept that the learners need to be familiar with. If the course content requires any practice or implementation, you need to integrate a session to demonstrate how to practice what has been learned throughout the course.
According to the content of your course, you need to insert some assessment tools to check their understanding during the course. It does not need to be in exam form, so you can make use of other alternative assessment methods adapted to the course plan. For instance, you can make short non-graded quizzes including questions about the previous session and reinforce their learning. Do not forget to explain the answers for everyone to be clear.
3.Evaluating Their Learning and the Course
After covering all of the targeted subjects specified in the syllabus, it is time to finish the course with a review of what has been learned successfully by the participants so that you can also see whether the course has achieved the objectives aimed at first. With a survey conducted after the course, you can both see their progress by comparing it with the results of the entrance survey and also find out how satisfied the learners are.
After congratulating the learners on completing the online course successfully, you can also give them information about how to continue learning and suggest further resources to support their learning. Linking the related resources and suggested materials will be appreciated by the learners since they feel that it is advantageous to participate in your online courses not only during the course but also after completing it. Learner satisfaction is crucial for attracting more prospective participants, and you can achieve it with your supportive activities because they can suggest your online course to others when they are satisfied with the successful learning outcomes.
On the last page, you can also introduce the next steps, other online courses that can be enrolled, or any other product or service that you provide. It is a perfect opportunity for advertising and upsells.
In this article, we aim to inform you about how to structure an online course and how to organize it with best practices. If you are planning to create an online course or you have already created but still have some troubles regarding how to enhance it, you can follow the steps listed above and optimize your online course with a well-designed structure.
It is quite important to understand how your online course should look like structurally because it will make a strong impression on the participants.