What does it really take to create an online course?
So, you already have your online course platform set up and ready to offer your course, but how do you find suitable content for it?
If you are running a blog, have a YouTube channel, or conduct webinars frequently, chances are you already have course-related content you can add to your online course. Repurposing your content is one of the best ways to build an online course and learning experience your learners will find useful.
Apart from that though, there are a few other options you can explore.
These are easier, quicker, and cost-effective solutions that allow you to get access to ready-made content provided by third-party content creators and other e-learning providers.
In this article, we will explore these options further, to help you decide which course content is the best for you and where to find it.
|Getting The Numbers Right|
|Pre-Made Educational Content and Libraries|
|Get ‘Off-the-shelf’ Courses|
|Use Bespoke Courses|
|How to Customize Your Course Content With LearnWorlds|
Getting The Numbers Right
As an online instructor and entrepreneur, you have a lot on your plate. Considering that the standard industry estimate for the design of self-paced courses is 150 hours for every one-hour course, and up to 240 hours when designing interactive content, it is important to look into what goes into the course creation process and calculate the numbers.
Doing so should help you put some goals in place for the expected completion date, launch, and delivery of your course.
Before you are ready to choose which way to go with ready-made course content, first:
Producing course content from scratch can be a time-consuming process, but help is always available. Looking into pre-made educational content and libraries for off-the-shelf course material or exploring bespoke and done-for-you content are the two main options to consider.
P.S.: We have a free online course to guide you on How to CREATE Your Online Course in 5 Days:
Pre-Made Educational Content and Libraries
The first thing you can do to get access to ready-to-use course content is to check with your local library, third-party provider, or the learning management system – LMS you are using like LearnWorlds, to see what options are available.
Some LMSs come with ready-made course theme templates that you can use to get started with course creation easily so it’s best to check that before investing in one.
Then you can also look for online course marketplaces that offer course libraries and give you access to a range of resources. Many come with a great variety of e-learning content – from micro-learning video lessons and video courses to interactive videos, presentations, books, and many more.
Get ‘Off-the-shelf’ Courses
To get your course up and running, you can choose to invest in an off-the-shelf course.
Off-the-shelf courses (or out-of-the-box), are courses that are pre-designed and are available for purchase by the masses. They provide e-learning content for a specific course topic and are often used by organizations to cover a wide range of subjects relating to corporate training mostly for professional development, management, and compliance training.
The biggest benefit to using an off-the-shelf course is that it is ready to be used right away. This means that you don’t have to wait for it to be designed, developed, and tested. You simply buy the course material and then easily upload it to your LMS.
Off-the-shelf content is created by experienced subject matter experts and instructional designers who know their topic well and the information is presented in a way that facilitates learning.
On top of that, you won’t need to assemble a development team, hire an instructional designer to create your courses, or sacrifice any of your business assets for content creation.
Off-the-Shelf courses usually offer generic content and have very few editing capabilities and learning personalization options. The majority also come with special licenses and subscriptions that allow the use of courses only in specific applications – for example, not for commercial use.
However, there are a few exceptions that are worth looking into.
For example, authoring tools like DominKnow, offer fully editable off-the-shelf courses which you can download and change accordingly to fit your requirements.
When searching for off-the-shelf courses, always make sure that the content is compatible with the LMS or course platform you are using. To do this, you need to look into their features and search for course content compatibility like SCORM, xAPI, cmi5.
Most off-the-shelf courses follow the SCORM standard allowing you to load it into whatever system you are using.
Need more information on SCORM? Check out our definitive guide to SCORM-compliant LMS.
Also, check pricing and customer support to ensure you are investing in the right content resources for your online courses and business.
Get off-the-shelf courses from websites like:
These off-the-shelf course libraries provide elearning content for various topics so you will need to browse available courses based on your business needs.
The way it works is simple.
First, you choose the website you want to get off-the-shelf courses from. You get free access to the course(s) you are interested in, and then you get to evaluate its content and run the course as a registered or logged-in user to see if it works for you.
Some off-the-shelf content providers offer flexible purchasing options and you may choose PAYG, publisher enrollments, annual license, or subscription.
The PAYG – pay-as-you-go pricing model, allows you to invest only in the course that you need when you need it – e.g. for 50 staff members, without having to invest in the full course library or purchase a site license. However, PAYG courses are only available for up to a year, which means they will need to be used within that time frame.
Also, publisher enrollments allow you to only invest in courses from your preferred publisher, ensuring the content is consistent throughout the whole course package.
Once you have purchased the course, upload the SCORM files straight to your LMS.
SCORM files are easily imported to your LMS through a launch mechanism that enables your system to ‘speak’ to the off-the-shelf platform. This way, the off-the-shelf platform hosts the content but your LMS launches it every time a learner uses it.
Now if you are looking for bigger corporate licenses, you will need to look for off-the-shelf content from a course marketplace like:
Each course marketplace may specialize in a specific set of subjects or topics so it’s best to research the different options for your industry to ensure that you get the best results for your business.
Also, make sure that they are SCORM-compliant or support your preferred e-learning standard so that they work with your LMS.
Use Bespoke Courses
Bespoke or else known as ‘custom’ courses are courses that are specifically designed to meet your elearning and business requirements.
A bespoke course is a course that is done-for-you, which means it will feature case studies or other examples that have your business at the forefront e.g. specialized training on your products, your logo, and images. This is branded content that is tailored to your unique business and learners’ needs.
So, the examples and assessments of the course are going to be directly relevant and customized to suit your organization’s goals.
Since bespoke courses are tailored to the needs of your business, they come with greater flexibility over the design, and branding aspects of the course. They are best suited for companies that have very specific training needs.
Since there is a lot of content customization involved in the process, bespoke courses naturally need more time to develop. However, this will depend on who you choose as your content provider.
You can get bespoke courses by working directly with freelance instructional designers, or with elearning providers that offer bespoke content.
Check out these websites to find top instructional designers:
In case you decide to choose bespoke courses, you can also check out and download these 18 online course outline templates we have designed for you.
How to Customize Your Course Content With LearnWorlds
To make your course content unique, you will need to use a course platform that allows further customization.
With LearnWorlds, you can do this easily both in terms of course content creation and design to boost your marketing efforts.
Our platform makes it super easy to customize different aspects of your online course, starting from your course contents, to your course layout page, and course page, using its powerful site builder.
From course creation to delivery, you can choose to build your course from scratch and add all the learning activities and assessments you need inside. You can also use our interactive video, interactive transcripts, and captions to offer an engaging learning experience.
Apart from that, you get greater flexibility over user management.
You get to see detailed information about each user and monitor their progress for all your graded SCORM packages through a gradebook, their engagement, and attendance on selected courses, and even tag users, to create a unique learning path for every learner.
Ready to Create and Sell Online Courses?
Building content for your course can be a time-consuming process. If you have lots of things going on and want some help to come up with the best course material, there are many options to choose from.
Whether you are building content from scratch, using out-of-the-box course content, or working with an instructional designer, you can get what you need and deliver the best results to your learners with the right LMS in place.
Kyriaki is a Content Creator for the LearnWorlds team writing about marketing and e-learning, helping course creators on their journey to create, market, and sell their online courses. Equipped with a degree in Career Guidance, she has a strong background in education management and career success. In her free time, she gets crafty and musical.