Sell online courses with this online learning blueprint

Table of Contents

If you have the intention to sell online courses or build an online learning platform, check out our online learning blueprint. This blueprint provides an overview of the critical areas involved in supporting an online learning business. Get insights into how these key functions help you deliver your online learning activities and profitability.

I believe that there are four key areas that support an online learning application. They are Branding, Sales & Marketing, Members and of course, most important of all, Learning.

Within these areas are multiple functions. However, not all are required. It will depend on who your target audience is and your online learning business’s maturity level.

Online Learning Blueprint Part 1

In this post, we will focus on the first key and most important area, Learning. Getting this right is essential as this what your customers or students will be engaging with.

Key Area 1: Learning

What type of online learning are you offering? Who is your target audience? Understanding this will help you decide the type of learning or online course you should offer.

Online Courses

Part of course development is to determine a structure or curriculum. How are you going to divide up your course? If you have a lengthy course, it may be optimal to divide it into lessons and topics. Having multiple lessons and topics may increase student focus as attention is lost when a course is too lengthy.

Course content format

What content format for your courses? Depending on your audience, you may choose online video streams, audio files, static text pages and documents or interactive web pages.

Typical online course content formats are:

  • Online Course Videos
Making an online video course

Video is one of the most popular online learning media formats. When setting up your platform, an area to ponder upon is where to store and stream your videos. Storing and streaming it from your website server can be costly and resource-intensive. The main online learning platform solution providers do offer video hosting services. If you are hosting your online learning management system, video hosting services like Vimeo are also an option.

  • PDFs, Word Documents, Web pages

These formats mainly cover written content. It is still a very widely used content and has its advantages as learners can easily reference different sections.

  • HTML5 interactive content

The ability to create interactive web pages that work well on mobile, tablet and desktop screens has improved tremendously over the last few years. This interactivity is useful in courses which involve quizzes, feedback or scenario-based simulation. Interactivity also improves student engagement.  You can find an example here.

  • Audio
Audio is another common format. It is used regularly in language learning applications. Unlike video, the hosting of audio content is less resource intensive.


Quiz and Assessments

Quiz and assessments are common in courses and learning. There are multiple quiz types and assessments available. Depending on your course content and audience, they may help further enhance learning.

  • Multiple Choice

Select one answer from a possible list, usually 4.

  • Multiple Response

Similar to multiple-choice but there are multiple possible answers.

  • True/False

Single statement and one answers if it is True or False.

  • Drag and Drop

Get creative with questions by using drag and drop interactivity.

Drag and Drop Quiz types
  • Fill in the blanks

Fill in the correct word or number within blanks.

  • Drag the words

Drag the correct words into a sentence.

  • Sequence

This is used to test knowledge of content that involves a sequence of events. An example can be found here.

Sequence questions in Quizzes
  • Matching

Such questions are usually used for image recognition.

  • Hotspot

Select a spot on an image.

Open-ended questions
  • Short Answer / Open text 
  • Essays

Open-ended questions require review by teachers/instructors. If you utilise these question types, you will need to determine how to facilitate this.

Completion Tracking

Completion tracking allows your students to track their progress as they complete the different course sections. There are various methods to address this area.

Student updates progress

This involves the student updating the status of the course. For instance, when a student completes a section, they mark that section complete by clicking a button.


A lesson or course automatically is marked completed when a student completes a course activity like a quiz.

Teacher/Instructor updates progress

The teacher updates the course status of a student.


Issuing certificates to students on course completion is a great way to provide a sense of accomplishment. In some industries, certification may serve as proof training completion.

Analytics and Reporting

Analytics and reporting on student course interactions and activity can help instructors review their content and obtain insights on student performance. Such features may be extremely useful in a classroom setting where teachers need to monitor a student’s development.

Course scheduling / Drip feed lessons

Are you looking at releasing course content on a periodical basis? If so, you will want the ability to schedule the release of these courses or lessons at set dates or time intervals.

Instructor Engagement and Student Feedback

Providing a channel for instructors to engage students and students to provide course feedback can improve learning and make it comparable to a physical learning environment. If you are looking to leverage this, you will need to assess a safe and secure way for two way communication.


Surveying your students can provide structured insights on how well-received your courses are, allowing you to identify areas for improvement.

Social Learning

Do you want to allow course students to engage one and help one another? Such engagement is common in language learning apps where students can request others to correct their language sentence or paragraph.

In part 2 of this post, we will explore what is required in Branding and Sales and Marketing when selling online courses.


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