How to make sure your online course duration is on point

Determining an online course duration is tricky business. While an online course’s duration doesn’t predict a course’s success, it definitely impacts sales...

Written by Sara Illahi Panhwer · 3 min read >
how to decide on online course duration

Determining an online course duration is tricky business. While an online course’s duration doesn’t predict a course’s success, it definitely impacts sales frequency. So if you’re putting all that time and effort into creating an online course, might as well get its duration right too? 😉

An average course spans 10 to 25 hours. However, it is still difficult for most course creators to decide on duration when designing and selling online courses.

There are a number of factors involved, such as market competition, the estimated number of sales, audience preferences, the abundance of content there is to teach, etc. that are interconnected with online course duration one way or another.

🎯 Here’s how to decide your online course duration

1. Look at your competition

One of the ways you can determine your online course duration is to see the course duration of your competitors. If your course is, say, on email marketing, see how long other email marketing courses on the internet span. This will give you a rough idea of the average course duration in the email marketing realm.

Then, get a rough idea of your course duration, depending on the course outline and content. Can you squeeze in the course content in the given time frame? Is there a way you can help the participants meet course objectives in even lesser time without compromising on the content? Review these factors and go for it.

doing a competitor analysis of course creators in the same domain

Source: Airschool

2. Research your learners

Knowing your learners is super important. Each learner has their own requirements, backgrounds and they are important to be taken into account.

For instance, you could have full-time managers as your target audience, but you have to take into account that managers don’t have too much time on their hands. Make sure you’re accounting that into the time you are planning your course to be. It also depends on the level of learners. Beginner level students may require a longer time to understand something, expert level courses could be more sped up.

3. Organize course into time units

Another way to determine your online course duration is organizing the important material that will later on shape into course content. You must have a tentative number of classes for your course. Since this would be a part of your course outline and course curriculum, once you’re done with them you will have a clearer picture and idea of the content.

Equal division (albeit not exact) of your course material will not only help you cut down on redundancy but also give you a tentative duration for your online course.

sorting modules and course videos into units. airschool lessons
Source: Airschool – Browse Lesson Plans

4. Take people’s feedback

Another way to decide your online course duration is by asking the audience what they want. This is doable when it is not your first course or when you have a substantial number of people following you on various platforms.

In this step, you circulate survey forms and see how the people who truly want to learn respond to the question of their ideal course duration. This will give you some idea about your audience’s choice.

online course feedback form for course duration
Source: Airschool

What not to do when deciding online course duration ❌

Just as there are things that you must do to achieve something, there are things that you must not do. Mentioned below are some pointers that tend to increase an online course duration and repel students. Fortunately, it can be easily avoided.

a. oversharing information

It is understandable that when you are passionate about something, you tend to go the extra mile. Going the extra mile is appreciated but you must know that just because you have a lot to share, doesn’t mean the participants have a lot of time to listen.

Your lectures do not have to be overcooked; keep both the talking and the listening balanced. It is not about how much you love teaching; it is about how much the participants enjoy learning. Therefore, go one step and one concept at a time.

b. very long recaps

One thing that some online courses’ instructors tend to do is spend a good amount of time reflecting on previous classes and sharing personal anecdotes. These are helpful practices as they lighten up the audience and all.

However, it is better if this unnecessary content is either planned out or completely removed from the course. For they are time taking and divert the audience’s attention from the import

c. lengthy answers

Shorter videos do not ensure quality neither do lengthier videos. What ensures quality is how precisely and concisely you, as a course creator, can answer a certain query.

If you take 15 minutes to answer a query and you do it well, go with it by all means. But if there is a way to shorten the duration, always go for the latter. Remember, your responsibility is not only to share information. A course creator also has to make sure that the participants are engaged with the lectures/classes.


Reiterating the point mentioned at the beginning of this blog, know that course duration is not a predictor of your course sales; it’s a factor. What matters at the end of the day is how you take all this information and use it to smartly decide the right duration for your online course.

And if you’re decided on that but don’t know where to put up that course of yours and start selling to your audience, you’re exactly in the right place.

With Airschool you can make live and recorded courses of your choice, launch and sell them, while monitoring progress and payments – all of it from your dashboard.

Want to start creating your first course on Airschool?

Written by Sara Illahi Panhwer
Constantly striving to help course creators become a monumental part of the billion dollar ed-tech industry. Profile

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