Education skipped online within a few weeks of Covid-19 lockdowns being imposed all over the country. Students adapted quicker than the administration at schools and colleges and changed how they did things overnight.
Now, with almost a year of acclimatization, pretty much everyone in the mix has grown comfortable in the new normal.
If you are thinking about offering a course online because of some new skills you might have picked up when you were in lockdown, you have come to the right place!
If you have thew up your hands and gave up some sort of coaching that you were previously conducting because online seemed daunting, we’re here to simplify it for you.
If you are often told, “but you’re so good at XYZ – you should teach people,” how about we help you give it a shot?
This is also the moment for existing coaches and subject matter experts to take their knowledge base online. The pandemic and the lockdowns forced people to become open to the idea of learning online. People of all age groups have learned-to-learn online.
Best of all, you are no longer restricted by geography. You can teach someone who lives at the other end of the city without having to suffer an endless commute.
You can even teach someone on the other side of the world! After all, teaching online requires very little investment from the coach. Ka ching!
In all probability, you are holding back from launching your online course on account of the myths and mystery that typically surround something very new.
Remember how everyone first reacted to Lady Gaga? To cellphones? To smartphones? To ripped jeans? Allow us to bust a bunch of the biggest myths about online course creation.
Myth #1: You need to be an expert to launch a course online
To be able to coach others in any subject, you need to know your subject matter. Well, unless you’re that Physical Ed teacher you had back in high school who could do a squat to save his life.
However, you do not need to be any more expert to coach online than you do to coach offline. If you are (or were previously) confident to teach a certain subject face to face, there is no reason that you should suffer a lack of confidence in teaching the same matter online.
Of course, depending on what you are coaching, you might need to make some adjustments.
For example, if you are a yoga teacher, you might need to have your students position their cameras to keep tabs on whether they perform their exercises correctly.
If anything, coaches should be more confident in offering courses from the comfort of their own homes.
Myth #2: Online courses mean mastering complex technology
If you are comfortable placing a video call from your smartphone, you can operate the more popular video conferencing modes such as Zoom and Google Meet. Most people use either of these platforms for learning and business.
Both platforms involve a simple process of entering a username and password to “enter” or become part of a “meeting,” which is a video call of a predetermined duration at a predetermined time. That said, meetings can also be started and joined instantly and can be ended whenever desired.
Meanwhile, if you are concerned about how you would need to set up meetings since you would be the one running the course, relax! It is no more complicated than setting up a calendar reminder. You choose a date, a time, and a subject, and the system gives you a meeting ID and password.
You share these with the students who are to attend the course or session.
Myth #3: You need a vast database to launch an online course
We’re not going to lie to you.
It is obvious that for any type of business, an extensive database is certainly helpful.
But that’s not to say that your online course cannot take off without one. Begin with one student or a handful, whoever is willing to sign up. Ask them to spread the word; there is nothing like word-of-mouth publicity.
Use your own social media to promote your online course.
If you feel like it might be worth it and you are yet to gain enough students, you could always put down some money on having a certain Facebook or Instagram post being pushed (by the platform) to a broader circle of people.
It is totally okay to start small and grow gradually as more and more learners begin to know and appreciate what you do. This is also very sustainable in the long run. You’ll be able to streamline the way you do things according to feedback and learn as you grow.
Myth #4: Online courses have to offer rock-bottom rates
People might argue that since the upfront investment is small, online courses should be free or really cheap.
Don’t get stumped by such arguments.
Here’s a polite comeback – point out that it is not the upfront investment offered but the expertise and time of the online coach that fees are paid for. Your time and expertise certainly warrant a certain sum.
Get them to understand that they need to pay a rate that will motivate you.
And never – never, ever, absolutely never offer any courses at fees that do not meet your costs for conducting the course and any additional marketing costs incurred.
Create a sharable little thing – like a PDF or JPEG – that details learning outcomes, resources, and inclusions that will be delivered as part of the online course that you plan to offer.
Ensure that you outline very clearly, the value that you will be bringing to the table. This bit you must scream and shout from the rooftops.
Myth #5: You’re too little and too late
Yes, there are some big, massive corporations that are running online courses, but individuals can run them too. Just like there are yoga academies and individual yoga instructors.
There are gyms and personal fitness trainers.
There are coaching classes, and there are private tutors.
In the very same way, you can survive as an individual alongside bigger fish. It’s not an either-or scene.
As for being too late, there is a whole market of people looking to learn all sorts of things. You cannot know that you’re too late until you try, and the fact is that learning is one area that is recession-proof in many ways.
Let’s put this simply. More population = more learners.
Since a growing population is pretty much a given, this directly corresponds. to more students in schools and colleges, a larger market for people wanting to exercise or learn art, and a larger pool of learners.
You cannot be too late until perhaps the population begins shrinking. And even Coronavirus (thankfully) failed at that.
Myth #6: People would rather opt for free videos on YouTube
Of course, people like free stuff. You’re reading this article for free right now. But wouldn’t you also like to talk to someone who recently got their online course off the ground and ask them some questions?
Justin Bieber’s music is available free on a lot of streaming platforms but people still pay an arm, a leg, a kidney and so on to go to his concerts, don’t they?
People will most definitely get a feel of what they want to learn by dabbling with free content online.
But when they want to learn something hands-on and develop expertise, they will have questions and want to bounce ideas off someone with knowledge.
They will want to try out what they have learned and will need to have an expert tell them how they are doing. They will want to be advised on how to do better, or what to change, or why something isn’t working out how they want it to.
That’s where you come in. You bring hands-on expertise to the table. You can answer their questions and guide them.
Having said that, ensuring dedicated Q&A time, detailed personal feedback, and frequent two-way discussion is integral to making most types of online courses work.
Regular testing or evaluation is also essential because these moves help your learners observe how far they have come.
This, in turn, puts the spotlight on how far you have helped them come. Always document progress – there’s no better way to justify the payment.