What to Look For in an Online Course Builder

There are a lot of options to consider for building your online course. This guide will make those decisions easier.

Right now, many people are scouring the internet for online courses in hopes of building new skills. And for creators like you, there’s never been a better time to design a class and dive deep into a new concept.

Fortunately, with an online course builder, creating an online course gets a lot easier.

Ahead, we’re exploring what benefits you get from an online course builder. Then we’ll show how you can get started creating your first online course with the powerful features these online course builders offer.

What is an online course builder?

An online course builder is a piece of software designed to help you to create online courses without years and years of coding experience.

In the past, it was incredibly costly to venture into the world of online courses. You either needed extensive knowledge in software development or a great sum of money to pay for someone to do it for you.

Now, there is a wide range of white label online course platforms that do the heavy lifting for you. This allows you to focus on designing your course content and website without all of the technical hiccups.

That being said, some online course builders are better than others. The best options will give you a plethora of features to help you build and sell your online course and captivate your course members. Look for online course builders that include perks like:

  • The ability to post blogs and articles.
  • Separate your members into groups.
  • Discussion board.
  • The ability to monetize your course through paid classes or paid memberships.

As you can see, online course builders give you a lot of features to mess around with when designing your class. Now that you have an idea of what features you can work with, we’re going step by step on what you should consider when building your online course.

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How to build your online course in 5 steps

There are plenty of ways to utilize online course builders to design a class, but we’ve narrowed it down to 5 steps to make your work easier.

When you’re thinking about building your online course, you’ll want to make it as easy as possible for people to know what your course offers them.

Let’s dive into how you can make that happen.

1. Have a clear topic and purpose for your online course

It might seem obvious that you’d want a clear topic for your course, but you’d be surprised how many people have trouble with this step. But it’s an important one: When people know what your online course is all about, they’re much more likely to jump aboard your ship.

When you have a clear purpose, potential members will know exactly what they should get out of your online course. This means that if they join, there are clear goals and results that can be achieved if they complete the content you release.

Now, don’t get it twisted. This doesn’t mean you have to be an expert to build your online course.  As long as you have a unique perspective, you can get people invested in your course and excited about what you’re offering.

To break it down a bit further, here are three paths you can take when building your online course:

  • Expertise-driven online course: If you are an expert on a topic or skill, and you can organize your expertise into digestible lessons, there is immense value in that. In this type of online course, you’ll be sharing tips, tricks, and knowledge on a topic. Your members should then be able to use the resources you provide to achieve the goals set out at the start of the course.
  • Personal experience online course: You can also utilize your own unique personal experiences to build your online course. Whether your content is based on your identity, where you are, or where you’ve been, your experiences are valuable (and can be immensely relatable to your potential members).

Discovery-based online course: Everyone has to start from scratch at some point. If you’re a highly motivated person who wants to learn a skill, idea, or topic, you can take people along for the ride. By sharing your discoveries with your course members, you’re building a community which, at the end of the day, is one of the best things about any class.

2. Narrow down who your ideal student is

Once you’ve decided the topic of your course, you’ll have to figure out who you’d like to take it. If you know what kind of person you’re trying to appeal to when building your online course, you’ll be able to create content that speaks to them.

When you create content that speaks to your members, they are more likely to achieve their goals. Your ideal students will also be the people who are the most motivated to follow the path you’ve built for them because they want to see the results.

If you’re unsure of how to determine who your ideal students are, then try to answer some of these questions:

  • What goals do they want to achieve?
  • How old are they or where are they in their life?
  • What’s stopping them from achieving their goals?
  • How can you help?

If you can answer these questions, then you should be well on your way to narrowing down your ideal student.

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3. Great features for your online course builder

The next thing to consider when building your online course is choosing your online course builder. There are many different platforms out there and choosing which one is right for you is worth the time investment.

You’re going to want an online course builder that allows you to deliver the following:

A wide range of ways to deliver dynamic content. 

Part of the benefit of building an online course is that you have access to all the features you’re accustomed to online.  We’re talking about live video sessions, pre-recorded presentations, text chat, and options to release long-form PDFs, to name just a few. When you have a variety of different types of content, it will be a more exciting experience for your members.

You want a powerful website builder

There are plenty of different online course builders out there, but you’ll want one that allows you to build the website you want. A benefit of having powerful tools to build a website is that your website can grow with your course. You’ll be able to add new features and customize existing ones without any of the hassles that come with designing them on your own.

A platform that your students can access from anywhere. 

Another great feature to look for in an online course builder is whether or not you can deploy your online course on a mobile app.

Many software platforms out there offer good features for building online courses, but don’t offer an option for a mobile app. This means that your students will have to use the web to access your course.

Availability equals interactivity.

When it’s easier for members to access your online course from their computer, tablet, or smartphone, they are much more likely to stay active.

4. Experiment with your first course

When you build your online course for the first time, it’s okay if everything doesn’t go according to plan. The key here is to be willing to experiment your way to success, and to ask your course members for feedback as you go.

It might not seem like it, but letting your members know that you’re trying new things is incredibly valuable. And getting their take on things is crucial. It can be scary to receive feedback, but if you’re willing to listen, you’ll make your online course even better.

And experimentation doesn’t have to stop with asking for feedback from your members. There are multiple ways you can set up and run your course too!

Here are  three different ways to offer your online courses:

  1. Run your online course “live.” Also known as drip content, this is where you add content as you go along instead of all at once. Running your course live is a great way to develop content, especially if you’re starting from scratch. And in the future, you’ll have a well of content built up to deploy.
  2. A course with its own dedicated course community. If you’re running your course within an established community, this method allows you to create a separate, dedicated space for your course members. Only the students in your course can see the content within the course community, and that’s where they’ll make connections and navigate challenges together.
  3. A course with content only.  Here, you turn off commenting and community features and just deliver the online course content. While most courses benefit from having some sort of community attached, this can certainly be a viable strategy for a handful of creators.

Remember, you don’t need to have everything but the kitchen sink figured out when you start building your online course. Once you’ve tested out what works (and what doesn’t) you can make adjustments as you go and have grander plans for your next offering.

5. Community is key

Having amazing content for your online course is great. But as we mentioned above, most online courses are best served alongside a thriving community. After all, an online course is made up of motivated people who are all trying to accomplish the same goal. Shouldn’t those people be able to figure things out together?

Creating ways for your members to connect with one another and interact keeps your online course alive. If you’re only focused on building your online course content, you aren’t offering your members a reason to stay with you. And once they have completed the content, there’s a good chance they’ll bail.

But if you invest in creating a space for a living, breathing community—with features like small groups, discussion boards, and direct messaging—the value of your course becomes much greater.

Remember, when you have an online community, you also have a network of people with a wide range of skills, experiences, and knowledge to offer each other. And every new member adds immense value.

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Time to start building

Building your online course doesn’t have to be an arduous process.

Whether you’re starting a full-scale online course business, or just looking to build online courses for fitness, classes for young entrepreneurs, or lessons on learning a specific skill, the easiest way to achieve your course building dreams is using an online course builder.

We believe that choosing an online course software platform that gives you powerful features for delivering content and fostering community is the right way to go. And when you choose to build your online course on a Mighty Network, you’re getting a powerful online course builder, industry leading online community building features, and more.

On top of that, when you use a Mighty Network your users will be able to access your branded community wherever they are across the web and native the Mighty Network app available on Android and iOS.

All that’s left to do is to get started building your online course.

What type of online course are you going to build?

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