How to Create an Online Course in 7 Simple Steps

Just getting started with e-learning? We’ve got the step-by-step intro you’ve been looking for. We’ll tell you how to create an online course in seven steps. We’ve also linked to tons of other great resources to help you dig into the details. You’ll be creating awesome e-learning in no time.

Step 1: Identify Goals

The first thing you need to do is figure out what your online course is trying to accomplish. You’ll need to identify your clients’ goals for the course so you can define the learning objectives. Understanding what skills or knowledge your learners need to gain will help you design an effective course.

Step 2: Gather Content

When you’ve got an idea of what your course is going to accomplish, you’ll need to gather the information, images, logos, reference documents, and webpages you’ll use to build it. You’ll collaborate with subject matter experts and other stakeholders to figure out what should be included and how it’s relevant to the course’s learning objectives.

It’s best to do this before you start to create an online course so you can get a really great picture of how all the content fits together. This will save you tons of time during development.

Step 3: Storyboard

You’ve got all your content and now you’ll fit it into a storyboard, or a visual outline of your course. This is sort of like a puzzle. You’ve got a bunch of content and now you’ve got to figure out how you’ll put the information together.

Storyboarding is a really creative piece of the process, where you’ll organize information,  brainstorm the interactions and knowledge checks, and generally figure out how you’ll present content to learners.  

Once you’ve got a completed storyboard, it’s a great time to check in with your client and make sure you’re on the right track.

Step 4: Build a Prototype

You’ll work from your completed storyboard to build a prototype, or basic version of your course, using an e-learning authoring tool, such as Articulate Storyline or Studio.

You’ll include all the content and develop the interactions, quizzes, and other elements you need to create an effective online course. And you’ll publish it in a format that’s ready to share with your stakeholders.

Step 5: Get Feedback, Tweak, Finalize

Share your prototype with the project stakeholders and ask for their comments. Make sure you get in-depth feedback that you really understand so that you can minimize revisions.

Then, you’ll implement their feedback and finalize the course.

Step 6: Get the Course to Learners

You’ve got a finished course and now you need to get it it to your learners. How you’ll do this depends on your needs.

You might want to track your learners’ participation and make sure they passed the quizzes or tests in your course. If so, you’ll need a learning management system (LMS) that can deliver and track e-learning activity. If tracking’s not important, you can post your published course on a website or web server and simply share the link with learners. Work with your stakeholders to develop a delivery strategy.

Step 7: Measure Your Success

Measuring the success of your course is an important final step. There are tons of great approaches to measuring your course’s success, from low-tech paper surveys to data-driven investigations of ROI and performance improvements.

Ideally, you’ll find out which aspects of your course were most effective, what learners liked, and what they didn’t like.

Effective measurement will help you iterate and improve future versions of your course, create better courses in future, and make more informed decisions about training programs.

More Resources

We’ve got great articles, tutorials, and e-books that can help you through every step of creating an online course. Here are some good resources to get you started:

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