Few months after the Covid-19 outbreak, the online learning market is looking more optimistic than ever.
People from all over the world are hoping to improve their skills, learn more about or excel in a particular subject area, and they are choosing to invest in online courses.
Google Trends shows that several course topics are getting more attention lately with google searches increasing in many subject areas of online learning.
Such course topics show the promise that will grow bigger in the upcoming years offering the potential to online instructors to teach in the niche they are most knowledgeable in and feel passionate about, expanding their professional network beyond geographical borders.
If you are interested in creating and selling online courses and searching for a profitable course idea, here are some of the best online course topics that are currently in high demand broken down in categories:
Language learning online courses will continue to be in high demand as the interest of people speaking a foreign language and learning more about the cultures of the world increases.
WordTips has created an infographic that features the top 100 most spoken languages in the world. The graphic presents an interesting pattern and helps to identify which are the most popular languages out there.
At the top comes the English language, followed by Mandarin, Hindi, Spanish, and French.
A closer look at each language revealed that there is a great demand in English, Spanish and French:
All diagrams show that the interest in learning how to speak in these three languages is growing. Mostly after the effects of COVID, people were looking to learn a new skill, or in this case, a new language, instead of just staying home.
If you have expert knowledge in any of these three languages, you can invest in them and build your own online academy as a foreign language teacher. More languages like chinese (mandarin), hindi and special topics like english for business have also a decent demand.
Business jargon, formal business language or learning how to be a translator are other sub-topics in language learning that are growing in demand as online courses.
So many people are looking to learn languages from language learning apps like Duolingo, Babbel and Memrise, but others are looking for a teacher or a tutor, since student-teacher interaction is still highly important in language learning.
P.S.: We have a guide on how you can teach english online. You can use the same advice for teaching any other language too!
Creative expression is at the center of human wellbeing as it helps us develop in every aspect of our lives either socially, intellectually, emotionally, and physically and cannot go unnoticed.
As people spend more time exploring their interests from the comfort of their homes, they are becoming more flexible and open to take up new hobbies.
Some of the most popular forms of art they are choosing to invest in learning are:
Online art classes have never stopped gaining momentum. Perhaps this is because it is the first art form that comes to mind when thinking about creative arts.
Art falls in the category of graphic arts and classes may range from drawing (cartoon, animation, illustrations, caricature, etc.) to sketching and painting using a diverse palette of tools (pencil, charcoal, acrylic paint, pen or ink).
Compared to other types of art, drawing seems to be the most favorite pastime activity throughout the world:
As you can see from the diagram, the public’s interest in taking drawing classes spiked during quarantine and continues to be in relatively high demand until today despite the few relapses.
A rather traditional form of art that falls in the category of crafting is sewing and knitting. While you would consider this is a hobby most suitable to the elderly community, that’s not actually the case.
According to the Association of Creative Industries, most so-called crafters or ‘sewers’ as they like to call themselves, are millennials between the ages of 18 and 34 years old.
The same report shows that almost two-thirds of US households (63 percent) practice at least one crafting hobby, and this number is likely to increase in the years to come.
Crafting hobbies like knitting offers a way-out of the modern lifestyle that relies on the excessive use of mobile technology. Smartphones and tablets are not equal means of self-expression and productivity and cannot provide the same degree of creative satisfaction.
The benefits of playing and listening to music are all well known. Apart from improving cognition, facilitating memory and learning processes, music has the power to enhance creative thinking and combat serious mental and physical illnesses ranging from anxiety, stress, and depression, to brain and heart-related problems. (Music and Health, Harvard Health Publishing, 2011).
Because of that – along with the need to engage in a creative task, many people turn to music looking for a cure, and nobody can blame them.
It is also one of the greatest forms of self-expression and entertainment, and maybe the most popular form of entertainment in every society around the world.
Learning how to play a musical instrument such as piano, guitar, violin, or sing, are all healthy and enjoyable activities for anyone to engage with.
As you can see the demand for online piano classes is increasing. If you are a music teacher you can use this data to your advantage. Start monetizing your musical skills and offering your knowledge back to the world today.
Whether people moved from physical education to online due to covid or not, it seems like music classes, and especially piano has an enduring demand, with more and more people looking to learn piano with online classes.
Photography offers the potential to see the world through a different lens, literally and metaphorically.
In an attempt to capture the life of their surroundings and share glimpses of that with the rest of the world, people are becoming more interested in photography than ever before.
The rise of social media and its use gave much ground for photography to make it to the list of the most popular hobbies.
The desire to take more professional photographs is evident all over the online social space. On Instagram, people share parts of their everyday life including photos of nature, places they have visited, or pictures of those cheesecake brownies they baked for the first time.
As a photography teacher, you can choose the photography niche that suits your style and start teaching others what you already know.
Teaching photography online can be a good side-income for any photographer, especially now that many real-life events, weddings and occasions have been cancelled. Teaching a skill online can be a side-income job or evolve into a full-blown online business.
3Professional Skills and Career
On another level, people are increasingly turning to online means to find a course that can help them improve their employability skills, successfully change a career, or advance in their chosen profession.
Currently, there seems to be an interest in professions related to Business, Marketing, Accounting, Computing, Data Science, Math and Real Estate that is likely to grow bigger.
Marketing courses are always relevant and can be tied well with any profession. But as the entrepreneurship route becomes more popular, the knowledge on how to set up your business, advertise and promote your services and products becomes vital.
Becoming familiar with digital marketing and social media, and learning how to invest in business branding, customer engagement, and measure marketing analytics is at the heart of all marketing initiatives.
If you have a degree or any relevant knowledge and experience in the field, marketing is a great course topic you can teach or explore.
As more and more jobs are moving online, remote jobs and remote training are gaining popularity, digital marketing is becoming more relevant than before and everyone is hoping to crack its code.
There are many great free classes on the topic, as well as paid courses, but, there is always space for experienced marketers to teach their skills, especially niche skills!
Just like marketing, accounting is an integral part of business operations. As the years go by, a qualification in accounting will become essential for anyone to possess in order to be able to work in this field.
People who are good with numbers and mostly dealing with money are getting more interested in becoming accountants and this is evident through the number of google searches on ‘online accounting courses’.
Accountants are in huge demand and their services are needed worldwide regardless of the type of industry or business.
Teaching accounting online can be a rewarding experience and from what it looks like opportunities will grow bigger.
A special mention to CPE & CPD training here. Continuous education is an integral part of many professions, as they need to be re-trained and update their knowledge to be re-certified. Accountants, lawyers and many more professions are in the forefront of requiring this kind of training. Today, certifying authorities are allowing trainers to do CPE & CPD accredited training online rather than requiring physical training hours.
c) Computer classes
As new technology emerges it gets more difficult for senior professionals to κeep up with the ability to use a computer, or other digital devices efficiently. Smartphones, tablets, laptops, even social media, are all tools that play a central role in modern everyday life.
Becoming tech-savvy is a skill that is relevant today more so than ever before because it can help older adults succeed at work and stay connected with their family and friends.
If you have any knowledge of computers, helping the elderly community upgrade their digital skills while offering online computer training, could be just the right path for you.
Research shows that engineering and engineering technologies are gaining more recognition. Between the years 2016-17, engineering has been amongst the most popular bachelor’s degrees awarded to students (116,000 in total).
Interestingly enough in 2020, the demand for online engineering courses rose at the onset of the quarantine period and continues to remain high even today, the demand seems to be stable and might even grow in the future.
While many top universities like MIT, Stanford and Yale offer some of their classes online in services like Coursera, many students are looking for tutoring, specialized subjects or even parents looking to educate their childrens early on. This might be a great opportunity for many engineering trainers to jump into!
e) Real estate
The 2019 monthly membership report of the U.S. National Associate of Realtors showed that the number of real estate agents hit a record high with more than 1.39 million currently working in the industry.
Becoming a real estate agent requires getting licensed by completing a pre-licensed course and taking the relevant exam. Completing an online course is a relatively quick and inexpensive way to gain knowledge in real estate and it is usually preferred.
As the diagram shows, the interest in taking online real estate classes is rising and predicted to grow bigger.
f) Data Science
When data science as a professional field first came to the mainstream, traditional education wasn’t ready to fully exploit its potential. The best way for someone to become a data scientist was learning through books, research papers, and online courses.
As Google trends shows, demand for learning data science is increasing over the last 12 months, and here at LearnWorlds, we see people interested in teaching and learning data science increasing over time. It is a trend that is here to stay!
Most people interested in taking an online course in data science are more likely to come from various educational and backgrounds. All need to have knowledge in fundamental areas such as mathematics, computer science, and business to succeed in this field.
If you are a math teacher you may be pleasantly surprised to learn that online math classes are in fashion.
Apart from teaching people how to count, manage their finances and see the world from a different perspective, math can help develop reasoning skills, problem solving, and decision making abilities. Mathematics are present in almost every career and are certainly useful for both kids and adults.
As more and more schools start to invest in distance learning, you will need to be able to catch up with the demand. As you can see math has a rising potential. Same goes for private or tutoring classes, as those can’t happen online, live classes via Zoom and other webinar platforms are increasing the demand for online math classes.
The ability to teach math online offers a new opportunity in terms of increasing your students and expanding your current network. Just choose the preferred age group you want to work with and you are ready to go.
There is no doubt that the fitness industry was severely hit by the coronavirus. As research shows, more than 90 percent of fitness clubs all over the world were forced to shut down. But when one door closes, another opens.
Recent search data reveals that there is a growing opportunity for fitness trainers and coaches to expand their business by going ‘online’.
The increase in sales related to home gym equipment and the number of online fitness subscriptions that occurred during quarantine shows that the online fitness culture is here to stay.
a) Martial Arts
Martial Αrts is a field that got a great deal of attention especially during and after the quarantine.
Google search traffic term “martial arts home” among others like ‘personal training online’ or ‘home workout’ spiked in March/April. While the spike has passed, searches for those terms are still trending higher than ever before.
With more than 170 types of martial arts available, there is an undying potential for growth once you choose to invest in any of them.
A successful example that is closer to our heart is William’s Camp Virtual Kenpo – an online martial arts training school, that teaches self-defense using the LearnWorlds platform. The need to differentiate from competitors through an online academy encouraged Camp to build a flourishing business away from geographical boundaries or having to commit to huge finances.
Visit the Virtual Kenpo website to check out this unique online academy for yourself.
For yoga instructors who are making the conscious decision to move online the future looks bright. Not only do they have greater potential to make a living through teaching yoga online, but are also given the right tools to make a bigger impact through the creation of a strong online community.
Building an online yoga studio is a great way to turn things around as yoga lovers across borders are looking for alternative ways to learn more about and practice yoga.
Data shows that during quarantine, yoga was definitely amongst the most popular types of workout. Interest for practicing yoga skyrocketed in March and reached its full potential at 100 percent.
If you are a yoga teacher, you can expand your horizons and reach out to more students by selling online courses.
‘Nobody can dance and stay uptight’ and that is the beauty of dancing. It makes people happy, with no much effort required on their behalf.
But apart from raising people’s spirits, dancing is packed with a lot of health benefits including improved conduction of heart and lungs, increased muscular strength, stronger bones, better coordination and agility, greater confidence and mental functioning, and better social skills.
Because of this, dance classes have become the center of attention.
Google Trends shows a graphical representation that is similar to one for yoga classes. During lockdown it reached the top and while the interest has scaled down gradually, it keeps moving in a positive direction.
Another industry heavy-hit by the COVID-19 lockdowns and social-distancing measures, dancers cannot keep back from classes. And, while it’s more difficult to learn how to dance from home, this has been the case for the past 6 months and it seems like online dance classes are here to stay.
A major area that people invest more money and time on is self-improvement. The evidence of that is the many self-help and personal development resources that exist and the amount of self-help related information that is being consumed.
Resources range from books and podcasts to blogs, or may take the form of live events through webinars, workshops or retreats organized by successful life coaches like Tony Robbins.
As Market Research reports show, by 2022 the self-improvement industry will be worth 13 billion dollars in the US alone. This number is enough to justify the reason why getting into this industry and investing in personal development and coaching is a wise choice.
Becoming a life coach is all about helping others discover their full potential in a number of areas in life. If you think this is for you, check out the following popular options:
Today the ability to establish a genuine relationship that is based on love, mutual respect and commitment is decreasing.
However, as the need for people to connect and bond with each other remains strong, it creates the undying demand to invest in a self-help routine that will help them improve their relationships with other people.
Regardless if they are part of a large community – a workplace, or a small group e.g. as members of a family, people are thirsty for positive and honest relationships that can set the right foundations for happiness and well-being.
Jon Kaplan from PausePlatform is well aware of that, and this is the reason why he came up with an online academy using LearnWorlds.
PausePlatform offers life-changing solutions that offer relationship-building training, useful resources and exercise on dealing with anxiety.
The academy’s main focus is parenting and comes with a wealth of niche courses that offer a handful of tips and advice on taking ownership of your own life and helping your children do the same.
Check the PausePlatfrom website to find out what it is currently on offer and to gather some inspiration.
Psychology is the field that deals with human behavior and attempts to analyze the human brain. For someone who is interested in personal development, understanding how the mind works is crucial towards achieving certain life goals.
There are many branches of psychology ranging from abnormal psychology, educational psychology, cognitive psychology, clinical psychology, developmental psychology, personality psychology and others. Each one helps you gain an understanding in a particular path of psychology and then apply that knowledge in certain areas of your life and career.
If you are a psychologist, you can teach psychology online, by offering classes in your specialty. You can also create certificates or diplomas for those who complete them successfully.
c) Cooking & Nutrition
Interestingly enough, an area where people want to become better at is cooking and nutrition. The fast pace of life, the limited time available throughout the day and the convenience of the fast food diet have all taken their toll on our health and there is no way of denying it.
The art of cooking and getting proper nutrition however, presents a healthier alternative that seems preferable to those who are more fitness-conscious or simply want to take better care of their physique.
The demand for online cooking classes has reached its peak in May 2020, and while it faced a slight decrease, it has gone up again and now the future of this industry is looking optimistic.
If you know how to cook and want to offer your knowledge to others while cooking healthy and nutritious dishes, this is your chance to shine. Maybe, one of the positive things of staying at home, improving your cooking skills is a huge way towards a healthier (or tastier) lifestyle.
At this point, it’s worth mentioning that there has been a significant increase in the demand for online classes for a niche market segment – kids.
Google Trends showed that interest in kids’ online classes and activities has skyrocketed during lockdown and is going upwards ever since. The increase in the demand for kids classes shows itself as an opportunity for online teachers and instructors to focus on younger age groups.
Related queries also showed the following suggestions which are gaining more popularity:
As you can see some topics overlap with the ones outlined above including dance classes, language classes and cooking classes.
This could mean that changing your audience segment to suit the needs of the market is ideal – and more profitable for you, provided that you have the knowledge to teach in any of these topics.
So, you may know what you want to do … you may not. You might not have a clue, a vague idea, or you may have planned the whole thing out.
Whatever the case, you are at the right place.
Coming up with a good course topic takes time. I won’t argue with you… However, it’s a process that you go through once, twice or sometimes even more than that – depending on how many courses you have created. The difference to each process though is that every time it takes place, it gets easier and easier.
Actually, this is a lot like playing an instrument.
Practice does make perfect.
Seriously, and it works perfectly for online courses…
Where to Start Looking for a Course Topic
The main idea behind creating valued-packed courses is finding a topic that you have a good knowledge of, one that you love and it’s profitable enough to become a business. This means that you should choose a course subject that:
a) you are knowledgeable in,
b) you are passionate about, and
c) you can make money out of it – there are people looking for that.
When these three parameters are married together they can help create something unique.
The following diagram explains this perfectly:
What you know how to do best + what you love doing + what your audience needs
Your course topic
In essence, it breaks down to these three:
Your knowledge: You are an expert on this topic, either by education (degree, certificate, masters) or because of practical knowledge on the subject. It is the subject that friends, family, colleagues or even your current customers come to you for advice. Sharing what you know with others is truly inspirational, and with an online course you can spread this knowledge worldwide.
Your passion: What is that one thing you always wanted to do? Finding your drive and motivation can transform your life – and of others for the better. Besides, there are tons of reasons why you should start your own passion project! Perhaps this is your true calling and the area where you can succeed and give back to the community.
Your audience’s needs: Research what your audience’s problem is and come up with a solution. People are struggling with everyday subjects and even the smallest of tasks could be extremely difficult for those who aren’t knowledgeable enough in a particular area e.g. using Photoshop or planting a mini bonsai tree.
Taking these three factors in mind can help you map out your thoughts and ideas into something that works for you and a specific group of people that are going to be your students.
What’s great about this is that the topic of your choice can literally be anything you can think of ranging from infant potty training to astrophysics classes.
Now, let’s look at the steps you need to take more closely…
STEP 1: Brainstorm Your Idea
This is the initial phase of brainstorming so don’t worry if you have no clue about what you want to do.
You can start exploring possibilities while looking more into the following:
Knowledge or skills you have developed in your work/career: take a look at the things you are mostly good at, you got praise for (either from your colleagues and boss) and choose to look into that further.
Hobbies that you are passionate about: it’s easier and more enjoyable to teach people on a subject that fascinates you and have a passion for instead of doing something just for the sake of it. Study what you enjoy doing in your free time and makes you more creative. Whether it’s golf, amateur painting, bird watching, yoga or fitness training.
Subjects that people ask you for advice on: think about all the things that people come to you for advice. One of these could become your online course idea or even make you a dedicated coach.
Take into account a personal transformation you have been through: every person carries their own experiences – either good or bad. Judging from your own personal experience, what helped you cope through a difficult time of your life? And what have you learnt from it? If this lesson can be used to help others overcome the same problem you can design an online course for it. Leading people through life’s challenges you have already had experience with can be life-changing.
Find pain/problems of people in specific subject: start asking your friends, family and people in your network what they struggled with the most in a particular area and come up with the ultimate solution for it. You can create surveys and send them to your audience through email to start gathering opinions.
Also, it helps to take a pen and a paper and start writing all of this down. At the end of these tasks you should create a list of a few ideas looking like this more or less:
Who knows any of these could also be amongst the most popular course ideas in the elearning world for the years to come!
STEP 2: Research Your Course Idea
Think about why do people join online courses. Understanding the market is key to coming up with a suitable course subject.
A recent report from OpenColleges reveals that the majority turn to online learning for career change to gain academic or transferable skills in their field of employment, or to invest in ‘lifelong learning’.
Looking at it from the students perspective, they would choose your course if:
In the process of researching your idea, ask yourself if your chosen idea has the potential to comply with these three aspects. Match these with your current knowledge, the possibility of creating good amount of useful content and information around the subject.
If you can’t think of a course idea for yourself, then you can go online for some research on what there is already in the market. Are there people teaching the subject already? Then, it’s probably a good idea. Competition is not bad, it signals that there is interest in the topic and people are still asking for it.
Then, you can go to course marketplaces like Udemy, Coursera or Skillshare. They are good places to start. They offer student registration numbers, public reviews and data on the most popular courses there. If there are enough people looking for a cheap option, you can always go and build a premium course to sell through your own website.
Popular Course Topic Ideas
Here are some ideas from popular courses on Udemy to get inspired:
Business: Data Science, Project Management, Forex, Investing, Stock Trading, AI, Accounting, Financial Analysis, Online Business, Entrepreneurship, Freelancing, Blogging, Writing, Presentation Skills, Marketing Strategy, Leadership, Management Skills, Recruiting, Podcasting, Real Estate Investing etc.
Finance & Accounting: Accounting, Bookkeeping, Startup, Blockchain, Financial Trading, Math, Investment Banking, Tax Preparation, Personal Finance, Passive Income etc.
IT & Software: Ethical Hacking, Cyber Security, Cisco CCNA, Linux, Network Security, Electronics etc.
Office Productivity: Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, SharePoint, Data Modeling, Data Visualization, Mac Basics, SAP, Google Sheets, Google Docs , Project Planning etc.
Personal Development: Life Coaching, Parenting, Personal Productivity, Memory, Learning Strategies, Mindfulness, Self-esteem, Spirituality, Neuroscience, Confidence, Public Speaking, Career Coaching, Personal Branding, Mind Mapping, Study Skills etc.
Design: Drawing/Sketching, Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Character Animation, 3D Modelling, AutoCAD, WordPress, User Interface etc.
Marketing: Digital Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Startup, Advertising, Business Branding, Video Creation, Google Analytics, Content Marketing, Copywriting, SEO, Email Marketing, Affiliate Marketing etc.
Lifestyle: Watercolour Painting, Acrylic Painting, Bread Baking, Cooking, Wine, Cookie Baking, Cake Decorating, Bartending, Beaty, Cosmetics, Skin Art, Nail Art, Hair Styling, Travel Hacking, Digital Nomad, Chess, Gardening, Farming etc.
Photography: Image Editing, Digital Photography, Colour Grading, Videography, Video Production, Filmmaking etc.
Health/Fitness: Weight loss, CBT, Home Workout, Nutrition, Massage, Dieting, Dance, Art Therapy, Yoga, Sports, Psychology etc.
Music: Guitar, Music Theory, Music History, Music Production, Piano, Singing, Songwriting, Music Composition, DJ, Music Mixing, Logic Pro, Audio Production, Audio Engineering etc.
Teaching & Academics: English Literature, IELTS, Online Course Creation, Foreign Languages, English Grammar, Math, Statistics, Christianity, Media Training, Philosophy, Critical Thinking, Physics, Research Methods etc.
The list is endless. Make a note of a few subjects you are interested in, you have experience with and you can teach as well!
Tip: For business topics, you can also get inspired to find your course topic by reading a book, for example, here you can find the top project management books.
STEP 3: Refine Your idea
Think about what is the purpose behind your idea and what problem does it solve and get down to specifics. Who is the course going to help, what is your “flavouring” or unique knowledge you are teaching?
Ask yourself the following questions to refine your audience results:
Narrow down your idea and write the subject down e.g. “How to bake a Cupcake” or “Golf for beginners”. You can later refine your course title more when you are ready to publish it!
Another way to refine your audience results is searching for a target market at all the right places. Who is asking the question and how are they asking questions on the topic matter. Reading through comments, questions, problems and reviews can give you a quick way into your audience’s thoughts.
Try looking at the following:
Any of these should give you a pretty good deal of ideas and an insight into what your target audience desires and need a solution for.
Also, don’t forget!
Google is your best friend since there is a lot you can get out from there.
To understand what people are searching for in the niche you are interested, look for popular search terms on Google typing phrases ‘I am struggling with …’ ‘I need help with…’ or ‘How can I…’ This type of search will get your results on what people often identify as a pain and need more help and advice on.
STEP 4: Research the Competition
If you have competitors that’s good. It means there is demand in the industry and that is a good subject to develop into a course. So make sure to find out how popular your chosen subject is and learn if there are people interested in it.
The best way to go about it is to see who else is out there, take some inspiration and ideas on how they choose to tackle the problem and come up with a better solution to offer. Combining the information you gather with your knowledge it’s easy to come up with something unique for your own students.
From there on, you can easily identify your own target market and come up with ways to engage them.
The acquisition of skills and knowledge in online learning can cover a range of subjects covering from soft skills to technical skills or very specific ones covering custom-made online courses.
To ensure that the subject you choose is a good subject, find out if someone else has done it before you. If yes, it means that there is a genuine interest for it and higher chances to sell.
Don’t forget why you want to create an online course in the first place. You are here because you want to learn how to build the right course, with the right topic, at the right time, for the right people. And that covers it all.
The most important part of setting up your course business is finding out your niche. It’s also the most difficult – yet exciting phase of creating online courses.
Your goal is to come up with something that is inspirational and offers value. Once you set this objective in mind, you are ready to go.
Online courses offer a reliable and profitable way to make ends meet. But as a teacher you are not only here for the money. If you are hoping to make an important contribution to the knowledge of the younger generations, launching your online academy offers you the ultimate opportunity to do so.
Whether you teach math, music, dance, or marketing, you are much needed in this world, especially now since it is going through some rough and very profound changes. All you need is the right online learning platform to host your course.
We may not know what will happen in the future, but we know that you want to be part of it.
Join LearnWorlds today to start your 30-day trial and launch your first online course in no time!
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.