The online course industry is booming and it’s a great business opportunity to exploit, amongst others in 2020.
If you’re thinking of creating an online course, you must be aware that:
- Online learning can get lonely without a community
- Most people create online causes, but few have an online community
- Most virtual communities hang online for various reasons as studies suggest
- An online community is as crucial as a regular class where students interact and ask questions.
However, you must be wondering how other online coaches managed to build a fantastic community for their courses.
Below are some of the things you can do and get success like them.
- Create challenges
Did you know that students get inspired by motivation? Challenges are some of the things that motivate them.
Besides giving them lessons, and assigning them tasks, help them get out of their comfort zone. However, don’t make the challenge too hard.
If it’s a writing class, tell them to create the first three chapters of their novel. Should it be a Pinterest course, ask them to create at least five pins before you proceed to the next lesson.
This will make them active and interact not only with you but with one another.
- Create a friendly first impression
In an online course, you will be communicating through online channels like emails, Skype, Zoom, and other social media platforms.
On your first introduction, email or lesson, create a friendly tone and impression. Express some enthusiasm about starting the course.
For example, “Welcome to Web design course… I look forward to teaching you about it…. To share my expertise about it….”
You can as well provide some information about why you were interested in teaching that course. For example, “What made me interested in Web designing is….”
Let them know that you are available for any questions and clarifications.
- Be engaging
Learners will always have questions. You should be there for them and engage with them as soon as possible.
Please talk about the course opening and answer their questions. But you should first indicate the hours you will be available to answer those questions.
- Encourage learners to ask questions
Tell your learners to feel free to post their questions on your online forums. Some learners may not be comfortable to ask questions in your open forums.
Please encourage them to private message you regarding any questions. The only problem with emails and private messages is that learners depend on you alone to get information.
You might also want to create an open thread for Q & A regarding a specific topic that you have just tackled.
- Promote team activities
From your discussion thread, try to create group conversations with a small group of students. This is a place where they can work together and solve various problems.
Consider pairing learners who can review what others have posted and share their reviews. Assign the learners problems to solve and let them share how they solved that problem.
Consider awarding each learner with feedback on their score based on their participation in the weekly discussions. This will encourage inactive learners to participate.
- Make announcements
Establish your presence by making announcements on your forum. There’s no doubt that in online discussions, learners might learn or log in at different times.
You can create an area for a uniform announcement. Tell your students that each time they log in, they should check the announcements area for the latest updates.
You might as well send them emails about the announcements you make to ensure that each of them stays updated.
In those announcements, let the learners know about the due dates of individual modules, delivering assignments, and even when you will introduce the next topic if there’s any.
You can create something like:
“I am happy that many of you are active in the weekly discussions about this topic. I will send the ratings soon and comments as well. Should you have any questions about how I determine your ratings, send me an email.”
If you are going to have any upcoming special events like contests, you can share them on announcements.
- Online Journaling
Another way of keeping your learners active is by creating a platform where they can share their views. This should be an extension of your course.
Let them post their reflections, articles, or diary entries, among other related content. If it’s a section of your blog, they can share video clips, images, and audios they recorded.
- Invite guests to your forum
In real classrooms, sometimes teachers invite guests to speak to the students about a particular topic. They might have taught those topics but want the learners to understand it more.
As a result, students tend to listen to guests and get some useful information from them. The same applies to the online world of learning.
Guests spice up the learning of your students. Remember, online learning can get lonely and boring if you don’t make it enjoyable.
Find someone in your niche and make them a special guest speaker. This may cost you some little bucks but will thrill your students.
Alternatively, the guests can record some information about your course in videos and explain it to your students. This will break the monotony of the same voice and face that your students are used to seeing.
Consider inviting experts too, and create a webinar where you can interact and have a question and answer session.
Creating a community for your online course is crucial. It makes your class lively and helps learners grasp your content faster. The above tips should help you get started.