How to Create an E-course in Less than A Week
The course learning platform has become a billion-dollar industry, to the tune of more than $250 billion. Digital courses and training are more popular than ever. Taking your knowledge and turning it into something that others can learn from can be both rewarding and profitable.
Most believe it takes time and lots of work to create an e-course. But did you know you can create one in less than a week without spending a fortune to have it created for you?
This guide will take you through the steps needed to create your e-course, quickly, while still containing relevant information your readers want and need. Before we begin, let’s look at what an e-course is.
An e-course is simply a course or training that is taught online instead of in person. It’s a learning program designed to teach a skill online on a variety of subjects. The subject can range from traditional academic studies to business subjects to hobby interests.
E-courses are normally prerecorded but can include live classes, mastermind groups, projects or homework assignments, and other components. E-courses can consist of videos, written content, audio lessons or a combination of different formats. Some courses offer coaching, templates or workbooks or some other type of hands-on learning.
Creating an e-course may sound like a daunting task that will take months to create but that isn’t necessarily true. Depending on your subject, you can create a course quickly and begin getting students within seven days. In the process, you’ll learn how to choose the right idea, build up the content quickly, make it engaging and market your e-course.
Planning Your Course Timeline
Let’s get started on creating your e-course in less than a week by planning it out. You probably already have a niche you work in or are knowledgeable about. And you already have an audience of some type, either an email list or a social media following.
Follow these steps to plan your course to get it created quickly.
Step 1: Time: 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Quickly decide on a topic. What subjects get you excited enough to teach? What do I have experience in that others want to learn about? Choose a topic you are comfortable enough to have plenty of information you can share. Also, if you have a great deal of experience in the topic you won’t need to do as much research on the subject.
Step 2: Identify your audience. Time: 30 minutes.
It’s important to know who you want to reach with your course. Don’t try to create something for everyone. Is it a class for beginners or advanced students? Does your student need to have previous knowledge of the topic? This is a good time to do a teaser launch to find out if there is any interest in your course.
Step 3: Create an outline of your topic lessons. Time: 1 to 2 hours.
This can be as detailed as you want, or it can be a rough idea of the course. Open a blank document in Google Docs or Microsoft Word or a pen and paper and begin adding everything related to your topic you might want to cover. Don’t worry about titles, the order of the content or even if something, in particular, will fit into the course. The idea is to get all of the information out of your head and into the document. Use a general bulleted list for your points and questions.
Once you have a general outline, go back and begin putting the points into the order that makes the most logical, step-by-step process for your students. Re-order them, add to them, or delete them if they don’t fit. Think of it as if you are building a house. What would be the foundation they need to learn? What would be next? Do you need to add something more or combine some content into the same modules, lessons, or chapters?
Remember, for this course, since it will be created in 7 days or less, you will want to keep it on the shorter side, especially if you are creating the content from scratch.
Step 4: Decide on the medium. Time: 1 hour.
Your online course can be taught in different formats: video, audio, and written content. Include a combination of formats. For example, if you offer a video course, provide workbooks and checklists for your students to follow along with. Whichever format you choose, create the lessons in this step.
Step 5: Choose your delivery format and platform. Time 2 hours.
Decide how you’re going to deliver the course content to your students. Host video files on a free service like YouTube or a paid service like Wistia while audio can be hosted on SoundCloud. If you’re doing written content only, you’ll need to upload your files. This could be to a cloud service like Amazon S3 or on your website server.
You’ll need a place for students to access your course such as on a platform like Teachable. You can offer your course through a membership site or email.
Step 6: Pricing. Time: Less than 1 hour.
Determine the price you are going to offer it at. A lot of this will depend on the target audience, such as their financial situation, how valuable the course content is and other courses or products that are already being offered.
Days Two, Three, and Four
Step 7: Create your content: Time: 1-3 days.
Use your outline to go back and create content for each lesson. There are several ways to do this. You can write the content yourself, especially if you have extensive knowledge and experience in the topic. You can hire someone writes the content or repurpose content you’ve already created. Try to alter the format or its purpose different from the original item. Don’t forget to include any extras like worksheets or other handouts.
Create the script for your slide presentations. Create the slides. Add your images and other branding. If you are recording videos, write out your script for each one, keeping them short for better retention if possible. Then record all your videos the same day if possible.
Step 8: Style your course. Time: 1 – 2 Hours.
Add your branding, logo, and colors. Decide on the types of images you will need for each element of your product, such as a cover image, infographics to depict a concept, screenshots, memes, and final product representation images.
Step 9: Create a Landing Page to collect emails. Time: 2 hours.
Decide on your landing page graphics, and the layout and content. Get your landing page done first if possible so you can begin gathering emails to promote to.
Step 10: Create your sales page. Time: 5 hours.
Your sales page is where students go to sign up for your course. Flesh out this page to address their most common problem, answer their anticipated questions, and keep them interested in your solution. Also, list and explain the benefits of taking your course. Also, take time to assure potential students that you will help them achieve their goal by offering additional info and/or answering questions. The support and guarantee you add here help to make the sales, which also helps to build their trust and confidence in you as an expert.
Step 11: Upload and go live. Time: 1 day.
Organize, package, and upload everything to your site, teaching platform, or wherever you host your e-course. Connect the e-course package to your payment processor, which is linked to your buy or download button. Test everything multiple times to make sure it’s all working properly.
Step 12: Begin marketing. Time: 1-2 hours daily.
Even with such a short creation time, you want to begin marketing as soon as you can. Create a simple landing page on your website that explains what the course is about with email capture. You can create buzz on social media, your blog, and your email list concerning the upcoming launch of the course.
Now that you’ve seen the overall view of creating an e-course, let’s look at each of these elements in a little more depth.
Choosing a Topic
Before you can begin creating your e-course, you need to have an idea of the topic you are going to teach. Your e-course will depend on what your audience wants, what you know about and feel at least a little passion for, and what is profitable.
If you’re not sure what topic you want, use this guide to help you brainstorm.
- Identify your interests and passions. Do you spend your weekends golfing, talk about golfing to everyone and often share tips with other golfers? Your e-course topic could be as simple as how to golf like a pro on an amateur’s time.
- Find a problem your audience has. Can you solve it? Is it something you can easily show someone else how to do? Is it something you can help them transform? For example, can you teach them how to transform their unhealthy eating habits into a healthy lifestyle?
- Look at your competition. What are they teaching? Can you teach it in a better way or a more unique way? Is your competition teaching how to set up a general coaching business with the very basics of information? Can you teach how to set up a specific type of coaching course?
- Look at magazines.com for popular magazines in your area of interest. If a magazine is being published on the topic look at the headlines for ideas on a topic for your e-course.
- Choose an evergreen topic in health and fitness, weight loss, relationships, travel, self-development, coaching, survival or preppers, hobbies like golf, fishing or knitting, cooking, make money online, starting a business, or finance.
There are a lot of ways to brainstorm your e-course topic. In the end, just pick a topic. Don’t spend so much time (or money) researching or you won’t get your course ready in less than a week.
Now that you have a topic, you need to choose the type of learning model you want to use. There are many types, but for our purposes, we want to use ones that are quick and easy to put together. These can be:
- Written lessons
- Combination of different ones
Keep in mind people learn in different ways. It’s been shown that students are more likely to complete a course that appeals to their learning style. The different learning styles include:
- Verbal: Words using speech or writing.
- Visual: Images, pictures, videos
- Auditory: Sound, music
- Physical: Sense of touch using hands, body
- Solitary: Self-study, work alone
- Interpersonal: socializing, working in groups or others
- Logical: Systems, organization
All e-courses are hosted online but they are often taught in different ways. You can record videos or do screencasts or do live video classes. You can record audio lessons or use written lessons. Another option is to drip email the lessons.
The three main learning models for your e-course lessons are video, audio, and written content. The type you choose depends on different factors and what is right for you and your e-course.
With video, your students can see visual elements such as images and written content mixed with your personality and presence. You can either be on-screen, which allows your viewers to connect and engage with you or you can do a screen share where you show what you are teaching.
Video can be demanding and will need to be edited. It might not be a good choice if you’ve never done a video. But if you have, video is a great way to teach your e-course.
Video can be done in a variety of formats. One of the most common for courses is talking head videos. They are easy to film and allow the student to feel connected since they can see you (or a part of you). Screencasts slide with voiceovers, and animated lessons are all options for video as well.
If your e-course doesn’t require visual aids, you can present it through a podcast-style audio file. You can show your personality without having to be seen. All you need is a high-quality microphone and the software to record audio.
For those of you uncomfortable being in front of a camera or microphone, the written course content is a good option.
You can create an email series sent out on a scheduled time. Create and upload PDF files or slide presentations for your audience to download. Make the e-course more personal by including stories, your personality, and images in your writing.
Use a mix of different media in your e-course content. A combination of different styles allows you to introduce variety into your e-course that helps keep it interesting to your students.
This can be as simple as using videos along with written content such as workbooks, slides, templates or PDF transcripts of your videos. Whichever style you choose also depends on how quickly you can create it or have it created.
If you to award-successful completion of the e-course or create more interaction with your students, you can include interactive quizzes, tests, written assignments to be turned in, surveys, or infographics
Be aware of what type of medium is appropriate for what you’re teaching. Some styles won’t work well with your topic i.e. audio-only with a graphics-rich topic like photography.
Collecting Course Content
Gathering your course content might seem like a daunting task, especially if you believe you have to create it from scratch. But there are easier and faster ways to collect the content for your e-course. Of course, your number one goal for your e-course should be good content that transforms or helps your customers in some way.
If you will be doing videos, you can use bullet and sub-bullet points to prompt you as you’re creating your video. When creating your video, you want to be as natural as you can so reading a script, word for word isn’t the best idea here are some ideas to find well-written content for your e-course.
1. Purchase private label rights (PLR) content you can personalize and change to fit your audience, topic, and needs. Private label rights content is pre-written content that allows you to make changes to the copy to use and claim as your content.
Some PLR providers offer complete done-for-you course materials so all you have to do is personalize it.
Personalize it, add or take away content or reorder it to work for your course. Search online for PLR (your topic). There are a lot of PLR sellers out there and many of them offer poor quality content. Do your homework and read the content before you use it.
Here are a few that offer high-quality PLR:
- Easy PLR.com
2. Hire a ghostwriter/writer. Hire someone to create the content for you. You can find good writers by doing a search on Google or sites like Upwork.com or Fiverr.com. A writer will cost you more than private label content but may be worth it to get the content you want. When hiring a writer, it’s a good idea to give them a copy of your outline with any ideas you have for the way you’ll be teaching the course. You can use sites like Fiverr to create content, videos, and graphics.
3. Repurpose your existing content as an online course. If you’ve already got a lot of content on your blog or you’ve used in your business, you may be able to repurpose some of it in your course You can turn your blog posts, workshops, webinars, training or Facebook lives into a course. Browse through your old (and newer) files to see what you can reuse. Tweak it if you need to so it works with what you are teaching. Repurposing content for an online course will save you a lot of time.
4. Curate content from others. Curated content is the process of adding your opinions or ideas and other value to a selection of other people’s content you find online or elsewhere.
Find the most suitable content from different sources that relate to your topic. Share only what is relevant to your learners. Don’t forget to add value to the content with your input and commentary.
Content curation is a great way to build your authority. You’re bringing the information of others, their expertise, together in one place so your readers don’t have to go searching for it all over the internet. This helps you be seen as the go-to source for your audience about all things in your niche.
You can use tools to help you find curated content more easily.
The idea of creating the content for your course might be intimidating or overwhelming. It doesn’t have to be though. I’ve shown you four ways you can get good quality content written for your course without having to write it from scratch yourself.
Strategies for Quick Creation
Now that you have some ideas where you can get your content written for you, it’s time to begin creating the e-course. Use these strategies to write and/or record your e-course quickly.
- Recycle old content/repurpose. Dig out your top-performing content from your blog, videos, webinars or training. Incorporate these into your course in a logical manner. Add new material, upgrade outdated sections and add value where needed. Build on what has already worked before.
- Make small changes to PLR you’ve purchased. Add your story, an introduction, images, and whatever else to make it relevant to your topic.
- Create an outline of your course. This works especially well if you are doing live video. An outline can make creating the e-course go quickly. For most types of content including text, video, or screen sharing, bullet points will help you hit the points you want and questions you want to answer.
- Drip feed your content. Create the first one or two module content then work on the rest while your students are learning the first sections. Just be aware of procrastinating and putting it off. You want to have your content ready before any student is ready for it.
- Take one day to record all the videos you need. Then get them edited and ready to upload another day. The same goes for written content. Create all your templates, worksheets, workbooks or other handouts at one time.
- Upload all your content at one time. This will save you time going back and forth between programs.
- Create smaller lessons as compared to an eBook or other online training. People taking a course often are limited on time. They want courses that they can work on a little at a time.
Creating your e-course quickly is key to being able to have it ready to go within 7 days. Use these strategies to get your content done quickly.
While you are creating your content, you want to factor in ways to create engagement with your learners. There are many ways to accomplish that. Here are a few to consider.
- Create a sense of community by having a Facebook group just for your course students. This is where they can ask questions, encourage each other and get feedback from you.
- Create interaction with assignments. Creating tasks for your students to do each week helps create a personal experience and keeps them engaged.
- Check-in with your students through email. Set up emails to send out at certain points throughout the course to check in with students. Ask how they enjoyed a lesson, what they learned or what they need help with.
- Have students answer questions in a provided workbook. They can then follow up with a specific lesson related to that question as well as in your community space.
- Use gamification to increase engagement and add a fun element to your course. Gamify your e-course by using badges when students hit specific goals, challenges or make specific progress.
- Use social sharing to increase engagement. Award badges when students complete sections or modules. They can click on a “share on social media” button to show off their progress.
- Create quizzes for instant feedback. Create quizzes that motivate rather than make your students feel like their takin their college finals.
- Use compelling stories in your content. People are fascinated by stories. One way to do this is by creating your course with a choose your adventure feel where the learning modules aren’t sequential but based on individual needs.
- Create your course where the student is a character in the story and must follow clues throughout the course to find answers to problems.
- Be available to your students outside the course. Give them a direct line of contact with you for questions they have about the course. This can be email, social media, or some other form of communication.
Add extra value by offering:
- Free consulting
- Live Q & A calls
- One-on-One Time
- Group Access (set time & dates)
Implementing these strategies into your e-course helps you can create an online course experience that engages students and may help them complete the course.
Easy Marketing Tactics
You can use many of the same marketing tactics for your e-course as you do in much of your other business. Here are some easy marketing tactics you can implement.
- Promote on your blog. Showcase it at the top of your website. You can use a plugin like Sumo or Hello Bar to display it in a top bar. Add it to your sidebar, in blog posts, and you’re About Page.
- Do a video about the course and post on YouTube and social media.
- Go live on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube daily to promote your course, providing added value.
- Link to your course sales or info-page in your email signature with a short sentence about the course.
- Promote it to your existing email list, social media followers and in your membership site if you have one.
- Do interviews on podcasts and by others related to your topic. Add value to the listeners.
- Create buzz from the beginning by doing a mini-challenge such as a 2-day challenge, that leads to the main course.
- Host a live webinar for people interested in your topic. Share some of the best free content.
- Add your links to your social media profiles.
- Create a Facebook group and LinkedIn group around the topic.
- Comment by adding value on social media posts and groups you belong to. People will click on your profile where they will see the link to the course.
- Share a graphic on Pinterest about your topic or course.
- Create an affiliate program for your course. Reach out and ask others who have similar audiences to promote your course in exchange for a percentage of the sales. This is one of the fastest ways to reach more people.
- Cross-promote with the other products you are selling.
- Speak at local events and promote them locally.
These are just a few of the ways you can market your e-course. You can use almost any of the ways you market your business to create a buzz about your course.
Improving Your Course
Getting feedback is important to determine if any part of your e-course needs improving. Feedback is essential for moving forward and can help you build a valuable dialogue with your students.
Negative feedback is better than no feedback. When you don’t have any feedback, you don’t know what needs changing or where the problems exist in your e-course. There are many advantages to getting feedback and many ways to get student feedback.
Benefits of Feedback
- Testimonials for your e-course you can use to display in your sales copy.
- Showing you where your course needs improvement.
- Shows where students had trouble with a lesson.
- Shows where students received the most help.
- Let’s determine which type of content works best for the e-course topic.
- Create surveys for your students to fill out when they complete your course.
- Ask students for feedback in your Facebook group.
- Ask students for feedback in an email.
- Use headlines, titles, or phrases like:
- Take our short survey
- We would like to hear from you
- What did you think of the course?
- Ask each student to send in a summary of their experience.
- Monitor and respond to posts in your community during and after each training session.
- Send out a post-course quiz about the training.
- Host a live feedback event where students give you feedback. You can do this on Zoom, Facebook live or any other video conferencing tool.
What to Ask
Here are a few things to consider when you ask for feedback, regarding the students’ experiences about this particular course. Include questions about the course’s structure, including sequence and flow, how engaging each section was and clear separation in the units.
- Find out about the content. Were there enough audio and video files to make the topic clear? Was the content consistent and high-quality? Was it easy to understand? Presented in and interesting way? Was the content in-depth or too technical to understand?
- Ask about the delivery methods. Was it easy to navigate and find each section, materials, and units?
- What about duration? Was it the right length?
- Ask them to rate you as a trainer regarding your empathy, expertise, and your communication skills.
- Were there technical issues that need to be addressed?
- What about accessibility? Was it easy to log? What about the colors, content’s font size, and audio?
- Ask if they enjoyed the gamification features. Why or why not?
- Were their expectations met? Would they recommend the e-course to others? Do they have suggestions for improvements?
Take the feedback you receive and use it to make improvements to your course. Be sure the feedback is viable and will help everyone. Don’t make changes if you receive them from a disgruntled student who didn’t do the work and finish the course. Once the improvements are made you can relaunch it for more sales.
Do This Next
It may seem impossible to create an e-course in seven days or less. But as you can see, it can be done. Follow the steps to create your e-course. Begin by choosing a topic. For a quick course like this, stick to something you know well to limit the research time.
Create an outline for your topic. Decide on the type of content you want, as well as who will create it. Will you use Private Label Rights products or repurpose your content? Will you use curated content or create fresh? What combination of the different types could you use to add more value to the user?
Begin creating the content. Create a script for video and slides for content that is more visually appealing. Depending on how your students learn best, you may want to include content that includes a variety of learning modality preferences.
Decide where you will be hosting your e-course. Will you be hosting it on your website, on a paid platform like Thinkific or another platform? Take time to research your options carefully to present students with a wonderful experience.
Create your landing page and a sales page along with any graphics and images you need. Be sure to create images that potential students can share with their friends, family, and others who are interested in your topic.
Finally, market it. Begin the first day by creating buzz around the e-course, get affiliates to sell your e-=course, and use social media to get the word out. You may even want to create a contest, event, or activity to get your audience excited.
Ask students for feedback about the course and your teaching style. Listen to what problems the students had, what was confusing to them, and what needed more clarification. Ask them for testimonials you can use in your marketing campaigns.
Use their feedback to improve the e-course experience and fine-tune the details a bit more. Continue promoting it for more sales but don’t forget to take time to make changes for a more polished course.