Everything You Need to Know to Start Teaching Online

Below is an excellent article by SchoolKeep on how to build an e-course by really focusing it as well as engaging learners. All the things I recommend and harp on about.

Start With Positioning

Positioning begins with answering the questions of:

What: What will you teach?

Why: Why will you teach it?

Answering these questions will help you position and sell your course when it’s finished, as well as keep you on track throughout the creation phase.

Learning Objectives 

If you’re able to answer the questions of what you will teach and why, the next step is to outline learning objectives. Learning objectives refer to what students will specifically be able to do as a result of taking your course.

Your potential students must understand exactly what you’re teaching as well as why they need to learn it. Make sure you’ve done the appropriate research to determine whether or not your topic warrants creating a course.

Tip: Test your idea for a course by throwing a few short tutorial videos onto YouTube or creating a series of blog posts.

Mapping Your Course

Now that you’ve positioned your course it’s time to think about how to structure and deliver your content and expertise. If you’re using SchoolKeep, the course builder is where most of this work will be done.

This online course builder will help you build unforgettable courses. Check it out.

Trim the Fat

Review your existing content to pinpoint the absolute, most valuable ideas and lessons within your chosen topic. Get rid of anything that doesn’t directly support your previously outlined learning objectives.

From there you’ll be able to create the different sections of your course. Course sections should be broad enough to offer at least a few different activities in each, while knocking out at least 1 of your learning objectives.

Choose Activity Types

Once you’ve established your course sections, you must decide how many and what types activities you’ll include as part of each section. Do you want to have students watch a video? Listen to an industry podcast? Complete an assignment? All of the above?

Take this opportunity to be both ambitious and creative. Once you have your course sections and activities mapped, you’re not so far from the finish line. In fact, the more difficult steps are now behind you, so congrats!

Activity Execution

Great job getting to this point! The true test of whether you’re serious about teaching online will be the test of execution. Will you complete the activities you’ve planned in the course-mapping phase? I hope so! You’ve come so far already.

As you focus on your activity types, consider American educationalist, Edgar Dale’s ‘Cone of Experience.’ The percentages refer to the amount of information we retain while engaging in passive v. active learning.

Things to keep in mind as you execute on your activity ideas:

  1. Active learning > Passive learning (check out this recent post on the SK blog by James Tweed on Active v. Passive Learning).
  2. Switch up the different types of activities to satisfy your learners’ multiple senses.
  3. Provide opportunities for self-directed learning whenever possible (hint: encourage students to explore and share in the responsibility of educating themselves).
  4. Build in purposeful repetition of complex ideas throughout the course. Repetition helps us learn.

Don’t get so caught up being a perfectionist that you delay in execution. Just do it! You can tweak your content later but you’ll never succeed teaching online if you don’t start.


BeckyBecky is a community manager at SchoolKeep with a passion for education technology, social media and community.

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