How to Create an Online Course: 10 Tips for Course Creators and Subject Matter Experts

Viren Kapadia September 18, 2023
How to Create an Online Course: 10 Tips for Course Creators and Subject Matter Experts

In the words of Benjamin Franklin, 'An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.' As we stand on the cusp of an e-learning revolution, with the industry projected to exceed $370 billion by 2026, creating online training courses that are compelling has become more than just an endeavor. Yet, many course creators miss a vital point: the learner's perspective. Ignoring this could mean:

  • Creating online courses that don't resonate or address genuine learning needs.
  • Misallocated resources on content that doesn't align with what learners seek.
  • Missed revenue opportunities due to lack of alignment with market demands.

This guide aims to steer course creators and subject matter experts in the right direction, offering 10 pivotal tips to develop online courses that not only sell but significantly enrich the learner's journey.

Creating Online Courses: A Step-By-Step Guide

From selecting the right platform to fine-tuning content, let's find out what creating online training courses looks like and how you can craft a learning experience that hits the mark.

  1. Understanding the Target Audience
  2. Every learner brings a unique set of needs, learning styles, and preferences. Consider this: Would a visual learner benefit from a course dominated by written content? Or would an auditory learner find value in a course devoid of audio explanations?

    Recognizing your audience's requirements ensures your course doesn't just provide information but does so in a way that resonates. This bespoke approach is vital for those considering creating online courses for profit, as engagement and satisfaction directly impact revenues. Here are a few tips to help you:

    • Segmentation: Break down your course into various modules or levels based on expertise - beginner, intermediate, and advanced.
    • Feedback Mechanism: Incorporate a feedback loop early in the course. This allows learners to communicate what they find valuable, what they feel is missing, or what might be redundant.
    • Interactive Content: Use quizzes, polls, and interactive segments to keep the learners engaged and to continuously gauge their understanding.

  3. Setting Clear Learning Objectives
  4. Clear, specific, and measurable learning objectives act as signposts. They not only guide the learners on what they can expect but also allow both instructors and learners to assess progress effectively.

    Tips for Crafting Feasible Objectives

    While there's a rush towards using the best software for creating online courses or finding the best platforms for creating online courses, the core remains unchanged: Setting clear learning objectives is the lighthouse guiding learners in their journey. Here are three tips on how you can ensure crafting feasible objectives for your online learning courses:

    • Research Your Audience: Before choosing a platform for creating online courses, understand your audience. Their challenges, aspirations, and current skill levels will guide objective creation.
    • Break Down Goals: Use tools for creating online courses to segment larger goals into smaller, digestible objectives. This step-by-step approach ensures learners don't feel overwhelmed.
    • Iterative Feedback: Adjust objectives based on real-world applicability and learner feedback.

  5. Selecting the Right Online Course Platform
  6. Choosing the best platform for creating online courses is akin to laying the foundation of a building. The sturdier it is, the higher you can build. Here are two things you need to keep in mind while selecting an online course platform:

    • Evaluate Different Platforms
    • From Gyrus's intuitive interface to Udemy's vast audience, each platform offers distinct advantages. It's not about the most features but the most relevant ones for your goals.

      Expert tip: When comparing platforms, consider your long-term vision. Are you focused merely on course creation or the entire sales funnel? Different platforms cater to varied needs.

    • Choose a User-Friendly and Scalable Platform
    • Look for platforms that are intuitive for learners. An easy sign-up process, seamless navigation, and responsive design can make a world of difference. Look for scalable platforms. As your courses gain traction, ensure your chosen platform can handle the surge without hiccups.

  7. Designing Engaging Course Content: A Data-Driven Approach
  8. Utilizing multimedia elements can skyrocket engagement. Make sure you add videos, audio, and images to your courses not just to inform but imprint. Beyond passive consumption, it's essential to spur active engagement. Interactive quizzes and exercises foster this by testing knowledge and aiding retention.

    And here's a game-changer strategy: gamification. Gabe Zichermann, a gamification leader, once said, "Gamification is 75% psychology and 25% technology." Implementing gamification techniques, like leaderboards or badges, can increase engagement by up to 48%, making learning both effective and addictive. So make sure you implement this if possible.

  9. Effectively Structure the Course: Your Blueprint for Seamless Learning
  10. A well-organized course is like a well-planned journey: each step is intentional, leading the learner forward without confusion. Here's how you can go about it.

    • Organize Content Logically: A study from the Cognitive and Technology Group at Vanderbilt found that learners perform better when consuming content in bite-sized chunks. By structuring your content into logical segments (modules), you allow for better understanding and retention.
    • Ensure That Your Navigation is Intuitive: A Stanford study revealed that 75% of users judge a website by its aesthetic and navigational ease. Therefore, make sure you simplify your course navigation to ensure that your learners spend time learning, not looking.

  11. Transform Passive Observers into Dynamic Participants by Incorporating Active Learning Strategies
  12. A study from the Journal of Educational Psychology found that peer discussions can boost understanding by up to 50%. You can leverage tools like discussion forums or in-course chats to simulate classroom chatter.

    You can also provide and encourage group projects and collaborative tasks to inculcate active learning. These are not just activities—they cultivate teamwork and drive problem-solving, echoing the collaborative nature of the modern workplace. Think of case studies, group presentations, or joint research projects—each of them promotes collective intellect over individual effort. Lastly, hands-on activities and real-world applications can bridge the gap between theory and practice.

  13. Delivering Effective Presentations: Commanding Attention in the Digital Classroom
  14. A riveting presentation doesn't just educate; it resonates. Maintaining learner attention moves between presentation and participation. Attention often wanes after just a few minutes of passive listening. You can combat this by incorporating visual aids, polls, or periodic check-ins and by varying voice tone and pace. While creating courses online, lean on quality visuals, interactive elements, and passionate delivery to ensure learners hang on to every word.

    As platforms for creating online courses evolve, they also offer tools to keep learners hooked. You can harness these by integrating visual aids or quick quizzes, ensuring your lessons stand out in a crowded digital landscape.

  15. Providing Timely and Constructive Feedback
  16. Here's a truth bomb: Feedback isn't just a two-way street; it's the very road on which the journey of learning travels. When you're diving deep into the world of creating online courses, it's easy to get wrapped up in content and miss the real game-changer: active communication.

    Now, setting up a feedback mechanism isn't rocket science. It's about creating a simple, open channel where your learners can voice their experiences, questions, or concerns. Think of it as your course's pulse check. But here's what can help you the most: Personalized Feedback. It can help you understand the user journey, reiterate as per their personalized needs, guide them through progress, and boost their confidence in learning.

  17. Assessing Learner Progress and Course Effectiveness
  18. If you're creating online courses, you need to know how effective they are. It's essential for both your growth and the learner's success. First up, let's talk about formative and summative assessments. Formative assessments are like quick checks during the learning process - they let you and the learner know if they're grasping the material. It answers the question, "Are we on track?"

    Summative assessments, on the other hand, come at the end of a module or course. They're like a comprehensive review, giving a clear picture of what's been learned. Those are your milestones, telling learners, "Hey, you've reached a significant point!"

    Lastly, dive into the learner performance data. See where learners excel and where they struggle. This isn't just numbers; it can act like a roadmap showing where your course might need adjustments.

  19. Supporting Learners Throughout the Course: Because Learners Can Drop Out Without Proper Support
  20. Online learners tend to drop out if they feel left in the dark. So, for course creators like you, it's not just about the content; it's about the hand-holding, too. Sadly, tech glitches are inevitable when creating online courses. So you need to kickstart by ensuring there's a support system for technical issues. Because nothing kills enthusiasm faster than a frozen screen or a broken link. You can also create FAQs and self-learning capabilities through your eLearning portal.

    And here's a little extra tip: Everyone loves a bonus. Offer additional resources - like readings, videos, or tools. Think of them as side dishes complementing the main course, catering to those hungry for more.


Did you know that a whopping 60% of online courses don't hit their mark? But armed with the right knowledge, you can save yourself from falling into that bracket. Just remember the following key things:

  • Keep an “Audience first, always!” approach. It's the foundation. Get to know your learners inside and out.
  • Get your course objectives clear. That's your North Star. Without them, your course might just be wandering aimlessly.
  • Choose the right platform and design personalized content that resonates with the learners.

And remember, the platform you choose for creating online courses can either make your course a roaring success or just another one lost in the vast sea. Need some expert tools?

Dive into Gyrus' features or check out their pricing to find what fits your needs. Or, schedule a demo with Gyrus and give your course the best chance to shine.