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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.
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
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.
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.
Single statement and one answers if it is True or False.
- Drag and Drop
Get creative with questions by using drag and drop interactivity.
- Fill in the blanks
Fill in the correct word or number within blanks.
- Drag the words
Drag the correct words into a sentence.
This is used to test knowledge of content that involves a sequence of events. An example can be found here.
Such questions are usually used for image recognition.
Select a spot on an image.
- Short Answer / Open text
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 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.
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.