Want to know how I go about building an online course for a client? Of course you do! Let me walk you through the creative and technical aspects of the process…
My legions of fans (*cough* mostly my friends and family) often ask me, “Lisa, how DO you build an online course?!” To which I respond, “Chris Hemsworth (*cough* Aunty Thelma), it’ll be my pleasure to explain the various stages and steps to you.” I figured it was time to put all that juicy info in a blog post, so here we are.
There are three stages in the e-learning course development process: design, build and deliver. Here’s a breakdown of what each stage involves…
Stage 1: Design
During the design stage, I pick my clients’ brains, demand materials from them (I’m not afraid to crack the whip!), create a first draft of their course and ask for two rounds of feedback.
Step 1: Deep-dive session
The initial strategy session usually takes between one and two hours. We discuss my client’s target audience (who their students will be), their students’ goals, the structure of the course, the hierarchy of the modules, the materials they already have and the ones they (or I) need to create. Then, I set tight deadlines for them to deliver those materials. Time is money, baby!
Step 2: Storyboard design
This step is the core of the creative process. The storyboard I design is essentially a rough first draft of the course, so I put a lot of time and effort into nailing the colour scheme, look and feel, structure, written content, activities, quizzes, resources (PDFs and workbooks), and video content.
Step 3: Feedback cycle 1
I send the storyboard to my client and ask them to provide feedback within three to five days. I expect them to ask for any major structural changes at this stage and to let me know what they think of the voice, language, flow, structure and activities included in the course. I make all their changes within a day or two and add in more activities and quizzes if needed.
Step 4: Feedback cycle 2
This is the final approval stage and there are usually only minor changes to be made. After this stage is completed, I charge an hourly rate for further content changes.
Stage 2: Build
During stage two, I bust my butt developing the course. My co-workers know I’m in stage two when I have my headphones permanently stuck in my ears and I refuse to make eye contact.
Step 1: Put all the content on the platform
I start by designing a landing page within the online course platform (if necessary) and putting all the course content into modules and lessons. I input all the quizzes and assessments, organise voice-overs if they’re needed, and upload all the videos and resources.
Step 2: Feedback cycle 1
As in stage 1, I expect any important changes to be flagged now. Adjustments generally relate to how the course is structured rather than the wording or content at this point.
Step 3: Feedback cycle 2
I ask my clients to make any final changes now or expect a hefty hourly rate later! This helps the client keep on track and their course development moving forward rather than spending weeks procrastinating and the project stalling. I love decisive clients!
Stage 3: Test the course
The schmancy term for this stage is “user acceptance testing”. Two testers take the course and give me feedback on the design and text. I also get them to test all the videos and resources on various devices (mobile, tablet and laptop). Once I’ve made any necessary adjustments, I send the course to my client and ask them to test it. They might want to make some small changes, but my clients mostly have questions for me at this stage on how to use the platform and change their course in the future (if they need to). I can also show them how to make any final tweaks by themselves if they want to get a feel for the platform.
Stage 4: Deliver
Woohoo – the course is good to go! It’s time to hand the reins over to my client.
Step 1: Handover creation
I send a handover email to my client with all the login information, guides, documents and files they need. If training is included in their package, I also send them personalised videos demonstrating how to use the platform and the course.
Step 2: Ongoing support
I offer ongoing support to my clients for an hourly fee if they need it.
Voila! Now you know what a month (or so) in my life looks like. Each course is a labour of love and I always send my handover email off with a mix of elation and sadness.
Do you have any questions about building an online course? Book a chat with me 😊
Lisa Sparkle ✨
Confused by the overwhelming selection of learning management systems that are available to help you build your online course? Here are the pros and cons of my three favourites…
Have you been toying with the idea of creating an online course? You’re not alone. According to a recent report by IBISWorld, online education grew by an average of 8.5 percent per year between 2015 and 2020 – and that number doesn’t take into account the recent boom in the industry.
Rather than being negatively impacted by COVID-19, e-learning has received a boost from the pandemic. Australians are either taking online courses to upskill and stay relevant during these shifting times or creating them as new business opportunities. So, what are you waiting for? Get that awesome online course out of your brain and onto the internet!
While I’d strongly recommend that you get me to build your online course because I’m a profeshonal, I understand that you might prefer to do it yourself. I can also teach you how to use your preferred online course platform (known in the industry as a “learning management system”) to help you get the most out of it and maximise your returns. Cha-ching!
Not sure which platform to choose? Here’s my review of the three learning management systems I use most…
Teachable is one of most popular platforms because it’s super user-friendly and creates beautiful courses.
I can train you to use Teachable to build your own online course or build it from scratch for you.
LearnDash is an affordable Wordpress plugin that’s a great option for those who already have a Wordpress website.
I can train you on how to use LearnDash or build your course for you.
I LOVE this New Zealand-based company and I want to use their platform more often to create courses for clients.
If you want more information about how I can help you with this amazing platform, drop me a line.
If you want to sell small courses through a sales funnel, this platform by the Catalysis Group could be a great option for you. It allows you to:
Lisa Sparkle ✨
Lisa Listama is the owner and e-learning developer of Sparkle E-Learning.