6 Ways to Create a High Value Course without Killing Yourself


Who doesn’t want a popular, well-received online course that students rave about? When you create an amazing learning experience that’s meaningful and unique the word-of-mouth practically guarantees that result.

There is a great post on Shift’s eLearning Blog about what a good eLearning course consists of. The article offers six suggestions on how to increase engagement and satisfaction with your course:

  1. Kickass intro and title screen,
  2. Responsive design,
  3. Eye catching design that works,
  4. Intuitive navigation,
  5. Multiple learning channels,
  6. Practice & feedback.

It’s clear how these elements can add up to a compelling course, but what if you don’t have the skill or interest to implement these suggestions? That’s where outsourcing comes to the rescue.

In this article I am going to look at how each of these elements can be outsourced.

Outsourcing by my definition is asking for help to achieve a goal. Most of us are accustomed to outsourcing in our private lives. We outsource our cooking by going to a restaurant. We outsource childcare by hiring a babysitter. Now you can bring that same efficiency and convenience to your learning business.

Outsourcing isn’t just for large corporations anymore. Micro-enterprises and solopreneurs especially benefit from getting remote help because you get skills and experience without paying the overhead for an employee. The real benefit, though, is the time you can reclaim and spend generating new revenue or relationships.

Don’t make the simple mistake that most self-employed people do when it comes to outsourcing. Your natural inclination is to save money by doing it yourself (DIY) because:

  1. you’re not making as much as you’d like now; and,
  2. you were conditioned to save, not spend, when money is tight.

The truth is, DIY is more expensive in the long run. You invest the time and money in learning and doing the project without really knowing it will be any good or how to fix things if you get stuck. Smart business people decide to stick to their genius and outsource the rest to leverage their time.
Each of the six suggestions can be outsourced or automated so that you, as the course creator, can focus on promotion and marketing.

Below, I share my tips and advice for how to outsource each project that leads to you creating a high value course.

1 Kickass intro and title screen

We are visual beings. We experience with our eyes. We eat with our eyes, right? So, your course images need to be yummy and enticing chocolate double fudge cake to attract solution hungry students.

Solution: Hire a graphic designer to create your course branding

Look for a graphic designer, layout designer or corporate identity designer to create your course logo and collateral materials. Planning a series of courses? You’ll definitely want to work with a designer to create sub-branding for each course.

You’ll also want to get collateral marketing pieces designed by the same teammate. Things like a course logo, header and 2D image. You can find the rest on this checklist.

Generate excitement and tell a story with your intro and title screen by using design wisely.

2 Responsive Design

Mobile is all rage these days. Seventy-five percent of adults use mobile to access content, with over 55 year old users experiencing the fastest growth. Your course must have a responsive layout that is easy to see and complete on a mobile device.

Solution: Get a responsive web template to ensure great design and mobile responsiveness.

You have two options for a responsive web design template. You can create your own or buy a pre-made template. I recommend that you buy the template and have it customized. It’s easier and removes the need to do a big design process.

Both Woo Themes and Themeforest are recognized template directories that include both free and paid options. Figure out what you need the template to do for you i.e. blog, ads grid, etc so you can narrow your search and save time. The best thing about a template is the design is already done and responsive!

3 Eye catching design that works

Design doesn’t get enough credit. The right design can be inviting, motivating and moves a person forward. Back when the Internet started 25 years ago ugly sites were the norm. Now, people know what good design is and expect it in products.

Solution: Design your interior course pages like your homepage, login and not a member page.

Shift’s article walks you through design principles so I won’t cover that. Think of all the courses you’ve taken online. Which ones had design elements that made you excited, interested, happy? Incorporate those ideas into your course. Adding touches like pull quotes or link to pages with more in-depth explanation is what makes your course special and different from the rest.

4 Intuitive Navigation

Nobody is happy when lost, especially not your student. Figuring out an intuitive navigation plan helps keep students engaged and learning.

Solution: Can you delegate this, yes, but you’re better off doing it yourself?

You know your learner’s journey better than anyone else so it seems right that you create the path she or he will take through your course. Remember, confused minds don’t finish courses. Make navigation simple, easy and 1 click if possible.

5 Multiple learning channels

We all learn differently. A multi-channel course that includes audio, video and text assists all learners to succeed. Some learners love audio. Others prefer video. Still others like to read and discuss. Your course should accommodate all the styles.

Solution: Hire a transcriptionist or use Rev.com to create transcripts.

Transcripts seemed like a hassle that wasn’t necessary until I polled my students. They appreciate having the written text.

It was easy to submit the audio from my screenshare to Rev.com, pay $1 for each minute transcribed and get a finished transcript in typically under 3 hours.

6 Practice and Feedback

Practice makes improvement, not perfection. Mastery, not perfection, is what learners should strive for and that comes with practice and feedback.

Solution: Hire a graphic artist to create handouts or an animated video artist to create short ‘what if’ scenarios for your students to engage with.

Adult learners need to apply their learning to real life situations to fully retain the knowledge so make it fun. How about gamifying your course in some way to boost retention and engagement?

Be the educator. Outsource to the right teammates and they will create a high value course that engages students and boosts sales for you.

Dina EisenbergDina Eisenberg, JD, is known as the Authority Lifeguard and is an author, speaker and mentor. 20 years ago, Dina leveraged her experience gleaned from a career in law to create her own successful consulting/training business. Now she helps experts and professionals  to transform outsourcing from an expense to profit center.  Dina’s work was featured by Entrepreneur and Inc. magazines. A dynamic speaker, Dina had the honour of guest lecturing at Harvard University and Harvard Law School.