Everything you need to know about online courses

Online courses are dominating the education and training market. Not surprisingly, its format is advantageous for both sides, as it is less expensive for those who undertake and is portable for those who attend classes. But what do you need to know about online courses to better understand this method?

In the midst of so many possibilities, it is normal to be confused on what to choose or which format is best for you. That is why we have gathered in one article everything you need to know about online courses.

In today’s text we will give tips, explain some methods and even bring data about the Distance Learning market (EAD). But if you want to create a course from scratch, this text is also for you. Check out:

What will you read in this article?

  • What is Distance Learning?
  • EAD Market
  • Validation of courses
  • Are online courses for everyone?
  • Online course formats 
  • How to create an online course
    • Create a business plan
    • Study the competition
    • Know your target audience
    • Create quality content for online courses

What is Distance Learning?

With the boom of the technological revolution, many believe that EAD only came about with the invention of the Internet. But distance learning is very old, with its first records dating from the 1700s.

At the time, Professor Caleb Phillips revolutionized education by offering a shorthand (quick handwriting technique) course via mail, using materials that would be sent out weekly to American students.

Nowadays, Distance Learning is a methodology that aims to change the way we see a classroom. Instead of students sitting in a chair and the teacher in front of a whiteboard at pre-established times and days, we have classes recorded in the Video on Demand (VOD) format or happening live.

Students and teachers no longer share the same space, which increases the scope of the course (it is not restricted to a single location) and allows the interested party to absorb that content when, how and where they want.

EAD Market

One of the most important steps in strategic business planning is to study the market you want to participate in. It is only through a well-done research that the entrepreneur can discover what his main challenges and competitors will be, and thus put together an effective action plan.

To make it easier, we brought some data that will make you understand what the EAD market is and what the possibilities it offers.

There are already more than 500 thousand students enrolled in regular distance courses, over 1.5 thousand in non-corporate free courses and 1.2 million in free corporate courses – data from the 2016/2017 Census EAD, released by the Brazilian Education Association a Distance (ABED).

One of the main attractions in this modality is the promise of specialization just a few clicks away, which makes all the difference in the curriculum and remuneration of professionals.

The 54th edition of the Salary Survey, conducted by Catho Educação, pointed out how qualification courses, such as undergraduate and postgraduate courses, impact wages. When the coordination positions were analyzed, it was found that graduate or master’s / doctorate degrees increased remuneration by up to 53.7% and 47.4%, respectively.

In the position of analyst, the master’s or doctorate can increase the salary by 118%. Another significant difference was noted in the salaries of those who have a degree and those who do not: the first group earns 25% than the second.

In leadership positions, those with MBA certificates and other specializations earn almost 50% more than their peers without such qualifications.

Validation of courses

The Ministry of Education (MEC) regulated EAD in 1998 so distance learning is safe and valid. But not all deliver qualification certificates to their students: free courses , for example, can deliver a certificate of participation, but are not valid as an undergraduate or graduate degree.

They are more focused on those who already have a background and want to go deeper into a segment, or update their knowledge. When in doubt, we recommend consulting the National Register of Courses and Higher Education Institutions through the website http://emec.mec.gov.br .

Are online courses for everyone?

In theory, EAD applies to everyone who has access to the internet and a device that supports the EAD platform . In practice, he asks for more organization and disposition than the face-to-face courses: the student must create his own schedules and commit to them.

Another factor to be taken into account is the level of training, as some courses require requirements to ensure that the student has the prior knowledge to understand the expected lessons. For example: anyone who has basic knowledge of Excel does not need to take a course from scratch.

Likewise, those looking for courses in big data and consumer sciences need to have a background in marketing and creating personas.

Online course formats

In the previous topic, we talked about the concept of free courses, but it is not the only type of distance learning modality.

The technical courses require minimal training school, which is the completion of high school, and are best suited for those seeking an education focused on practice. Thus, entry into the labor market is faster.

As for the technological courses are graduation and can only be made by those who have completed high school. It differs from the technical course because it has a longer workload, lasting four to six years, and balance theory with practice.

Another decision to be made is regarding the type of classes. The two most common formats are live classes and video on demand (VOD). The first requires a larger organization and structure, designed for live transmission and dissemination of days and times.

VOD, on the other hand, is more suitable for those just starting out, as its logistics are simpler. The producer makes the videos, edits and then makes them available on the chosen platform; interested parties make the payment and gain access to this material, watching whenever they want.

How to create an online course

So far, we have detailed the ODL market and some of the formats available for online courses. Now let’s give tips for those who want to enter this segment, check it out:

Create a business plan

The business plan is a document that gathers the main information about the company and what is its objective. It maps out what steps must be taken to reach the goal, what are the possible problems that can be encountered and what to do to overcome them.

Sometimes the business does not go ahead and that is a good thing: the business plan identified errors that would make the entrepreneur spend money without having a return.

Study the competition

Benchmarking is a technique that aims to study the best practices of the competition and see how they can be applied to your business. This is one of the management tools most used by companies for expanding brand awareness and helping to identify areas that need to be worked on for the business to be successful.

For Gregory Watson, author of the book A Perspective on Benchmarking, “the most dangerous competition is the one that most resembles you and the differences between you are the basis of your advantage”.

Know your target audience

What kind of people do your online courses want to reach? What are the needs they intend to supply with your content?

A good entrepreneur understands that it is not enough to create quality material, he needs to talk to consumers. To do this, you need to determine the age group, location and level of expertise of the people you want to reach. This directly influences the communication before and after the purchase, as the language varies according to the audience.

Older people and seniors tend to prefer more formal and sober communication, while recent graduates tend to more casual communications and a more modern website layout.

Create quality content for online courses

This topic may seem obvious, but it is not. Everything revolves around the content of your online course: if it is good, your consumers will advertise it to those they know.

If it is bad, the advertising will be negative, and it may affect your business to the point of making it unfeasible. And it’s not an exaggeration: the online world makes all opinions heard in the same way, and a shared negative review can often mean your undoing.

Creating quality content is essential for entrepreneurs who get along. So, before you put your site on the air, make sure your material is good. Introduce to people you trust and who are free to express their true opinions, and, if you think it’s worth it, post some videos on Youtube.

At first, you will not earn money directly, but you will have more accurate feedback on what people are looking for and what they think of your product.

Another important tip is to focus on content and courses with evergreen material, that is, they are those subjects that are not considered seasonal, with an expiration date. This type of content is used to educate the reader on a particular subject.

That is: if you want to take a course on digital marketing for instagram, think about creating an online course, or a class from your course, on the principles of marketing and what digital marketing is. In this way, you educate your students to Depending on the quality of your material, you can even become a reference in the area, which guarantees a good number of students and subscribers on your channel.

Some good models of evergreen content are guides, courses with keywords such as myths, techniques, lists, glossary, historical facts and even checklists that can serve as a basis for your next classes.

Abuse this type of content to leave all your students with the necessary basis to follow the next classes to come: more in-depth and directional.

Now that you already know everything you need to know about online courses, it’s time to put the tips into practice if you want to undertake in these segments.

Opportunities abound, and here on our portal you will find other articles that will help in the growth of your online courses business.


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