This guide will provide you with a step-by-step framework to create live courses that are successful, profitable, and valuable. Follow till the end for the best bits.
With the global e-learning industry having surpassed the 250 billion USD benchmark, the competition has also multiplied. And for somebody just starting to work on their live, cohort-based course, such statistics can scare them away.
Will somebody buy my course? Do I have the right skills for live courses? How do I survive in such a competitive market? etc. Self-doubt can become your bestfriend. So, to keep that from happening, you can take help from my guide.
Create live courses with this step-by-step guide
Live, cohort-based courses have as of late become very popular among students. The self-isolation has taken a toll, so a steady shift is seen from self-paced and recorded courses to more collaborative cohort-based, live courses.
For the same reason, several course creation tools have sprang up recently to cater to the demand for live courses. If you have something to teach and an audience who wants to interact with you and learn, here’s how to do it.
1. Select a niche and topic 💡
Getting your niche and topic down is half the job! Once you have a clear idea regarding which direction to take, everything else starts to fall into place. But how does one figure out what their niche even is?
A niche basically is the domain you want to pursue i.e. the main subject you wish to teach. For greater clarity; a niche is a wider category and the topic of your course is a sub-category. For example, if baking is your niche then American style cakes could be your potential topic.
Here are some important questions to ask yourself:
- What do I know best?
- What do I have most experience of?
- Can I add value to add and make it unique?
- Will people want to learn it?
- And lastly, do I enjoy it?
Begin by answering these points one by one, you should have an idea about what your potential topics can be under a niche.
You can create surveys online to seek public review. Maybe ask your friends what they make of them. Consequently, you will also get an estimate about how your topic will be received by potential learners.
By the end of all this, you can begin developing your cohort-based course if you are fully sure of it.
2. Match subject topic with your community 👩🏫
Often it happens that our chosen topic fails to attract an audience. Sometimes, the topic is outdated or there isn’t a demand for it in the market. This is why it is important to pin down a topic that also fits the market needs. After all, a successful course is one that can generate revenue. This is concept if called course-market-fit.
So once you have decided on a topic, start researching it. Analyze the market, have a look at your potential competition. Find out what other creators are talking about and especially, what they are not talking about – this gap will act as an opportunity for you if tapped into the right way.
Moreover, connect with your target audience and learn about their pain points. The purpose of these extensive studies is to help you create your live course in a way that fulfills all the requirements of your audience, while at the same time being fulfilling for you too.
3. Create an outline and curriculum 📃
Before you begin, keep in mind that you are designing a live or a cohort-based course. So, the outline needs to be designed accordingly. An outline acts as a sketch for your course. It compiles all the tasks for the course so that learners can see what to expect as they move along the course.
Begin by deciding on a structure for your course. Break it up into sections (weekly/daily/session wise) so that managing it is easier for you, and the course doesn’t burden the learners. Here is a little sneak peek at a course outline for some inspo.
Ideally, each class or lecture should cover a broader aspect. Say you’re doing a course on American style cakes, you can break your lectures down by:
- Introduction to American style baking
– History and significance
– Evolution: traditional and modern recipes
- How to make American style cake batter
– Vanilla bean batter with candied oranges
– Chocolate and coffee batter
– Lemon and raspberry batter
3. How to make American style cake batter icing
– American meringue
– Royal icing
The key to a live course, one that is successful, is planning. That’s why before you start creating the curriculum, think about what expectations your learners will have and what kind of transformation you can offer to them.
Once you have them down, you will know exactly how to structure your course, which areas to focus on and how to tackle them. In this way, your curriculum is actually the visualization of your learning outcomes.
4. Ensure gamification 🎯
Live courses are all about active learning, therefore an ideal curriculum is more discussion-based. Keep the textual content down to 40%, and gamify the rest of the course.
Add fun games, case studies, guest lectures to keep student interaction high. As you work on what you should include in your live course, remember that it needs to cater to your audience. Keep it light, keep it interesting and keep it open to feedback for improvement.
5. Select a suitable time, date & season ⌚
Since the purpose of live courses is to foster real-time learning, having the right class schedule is very important. This depends on your learners’ persona. For example, are they largely full-time professionals? If so, Monday to Friday 9-5 might be difficult for them. In this case, you could schedule classes for the weekend.
Also, ask yourself if the schedule works for you. As a creator, you will be leading the sessions and if you won’t be present – virtually or mentally – then there is no point.
To make your life easier, choose an LMS that provides you with automated email integrations. With little or no effort from your end, they will automatically inform all the participants about the sessions and keep them updated = satisfied.
6. Set a price 💲
Now, let’s talk numbers! When you create live courses, you should be able to recover your entire cost by at least two times the investment rate. After all, it should pay you back the investment and pay for your brand value.
Moreover, unlike recorded courses which ask for a one-time effort, live courses are labor intensive. Experts spend hours, sometimes more than they signed up for, because students have questions.
Live courses also promise collaboration, community, interaction. Which is why they are typically priced much higher than recorded courses. Keeping that in mind, here are some of the factors that you need to keep in mind to decide on the best price.
For more guidance, check out our brief guide on how to determine the right price for your course.
7. Choose a platform that empowers your live course ⚡
Thanks to market competition, there are now endless options to choose from. However, every platform is unique and caters to certain kinds of courses.
To know your perfect fit and avoid getting lost in the sea of options, make a note of all the features you need. Not to forget your budget, and then see which of the options work best for you.
For course creators just starting out, finding the right platform can be particularly difficult. If you don’t have a big budget and lack expert design knowledge for setting up your live courses, then Airschool is a good option for you. Here’s why it would suit your live course best:
- Zoom integration + Attendance tracking
- Automated email reminders prior to classes
- Freedom to customize landing/course pages
- Affordable pricing options with their commission model
8. Sell it like crazy! 🛒
Now it’s time to tell the world about your live course. There are loads of ways to market a live online course – pre-selling, demo classes, webinars, email marketing, social media, etc.
Depending on your budget and their outreach, go for the options that give the highest return on investments (ROI). For example, email marketing is said to have the highest ROI compared to other options.
The course platform you choose is also an important determinant in your marketing as they often come with integrated tools that can be used for marketing, for example, you can run live webinars for lead conversion.
Besides these, you can opt for social media marketing and run your ad campaigns on Facebook, Instagram, etc. If you a budget, then go for ads. Even if you don’t have budget, then affiliate marketing is another great option. As it is commission-based it usually doesn’t require upfront investment.
9. Do a test run 👀
Better safe than sorry. To avoid getting into any course malfunction, always beta-launch. Before one goes all in, you can either do a free demo class or webinar. Basically, drive people to your course and see how they engage with it. Take their feedback on curriculum, pricing, teaching methods, etc
It will give you a sense of what works and what doesn’t. A great way of persuading people to participate in a beta-launch is to provide some sort of incentive. It can be a special discount or a free E-book, etc.
And this, my friends, is how you create live courses. Make sure to follow these tips for amazing results. 🙌🏽