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In Start your own online learning or training business, the staff of LikendisLike Media, Inc. explains how to build a successful distance learning business from the ground up. In this book you will find information on all the steps you need to start and manage a distance learning business. In this edited excerpt, the authors offer advice on the key activities you need to undertake before starting your eLearning business.
After creating your first online training or eLearning courses, it’s time to take the next steps.
1. Create a course catalog
First, you need to think about creating a course catalog. By developing this, you learn a lot about what your product does and does not do, and how the public should perceive it. Writing a brief summary of what your course offers includes information such as the benefits that students will gain after taking it, in which program of interest he enrolls and how he supports this department (if you teach for a larger institution such as DeVry, Kaplan or Walden), as well as the availability of diplomas, accreditations or certificates. You also want to clearly represent the type of course, because students choose partially based on the style in which they learn best. For example, is this a seminar with heavy interactive web modules, or is it a series of webinars ending with a final interactive discussion in person?
Next, you will create a landing page for each affiliate or university site on which you are listed. Using appropriate keywords in your descriptions will help students find your courses. Make a list of all the ways that someone could research your class online and use these words in your description. Not sure? Look for courses similar to yours and read some descriptions on Petersons.com, a popular host site for top schools. You can search by degree, fields of study, tuition fees and location. When you click on a description of online school choices, you see with a certain area of study that the learning style is somewhat defined. Whether there is online chat, mobile apps, online office hours, digital textbooks, and accepted transfer credits are some of the features covered. These are things that you should include in your own descriptions.
Structuring a catalog on your website and affiliate landing pages should be kept simple and read as comprehensive, but not overwhelming. If you are offering degrees or certification, combine these with an explanation of what is required to obtain the degree and what types or versions of that particular degree are available.
2. Set your rates
You will have to put a dollar value on what you do, and that starts with determining how many hours it takes to make a product and what you can sell it for, or what the market will support. An expert notes that the hourly rate range for contracting professionals who develop courses is $ 25 to $ 125, with most people between $ 40 and $ 70. You will develop your own averages after building your first lessons, and you will take into account all of this the rate at which your competitors are selling work.
If you work with a university or other educational institution, there will be restrictions as to why the course is sold and you will be paid either a percentage of this amount by number of registrations, or just a fixed rate . But if you’re selling your own work, it’s easy to set prices simply by comparing the most popular similar courses. If you are tempted to seriously undermine the competition with ridiculously low prices, remember that the use of coupons to throw the ball and other free promotions must be included in the grand scheme of your prices, as well as the perceived value. (or lack thereof)) of an inexpensive product.
Look at the prices on these sites to find similar ones and compare prices:
- Lynda.com. Subscription video tutorial library with over 80,000 media skills course titles. $ 25 a month to take what you want. Includes mobile apps.
- Udemy.com. On average 800 new courses per month. Costs range from $ 10 to $ 500, with the most popular technology courses averaging around $ 100.
- Udacity.com. This technology platform allows users to pay monthly for their studies and stop paying if they stop. Classes cost an average of $ 200 per month with certification included.
- Khanacademy.org. Free micro-video courses focused on academic subjects. Learners get completion badges.
- Skillshare.com. This creative course emporium focuses on the visual arts. Register for free to access a limited number of free courses or or register for $ 10 per month for unlimited access. Membership fees help pay teachers.
3. Sell courses from your own website
Another opportunity is to build your own website and install an LMS on it. This will allow you to keep your money, but the investment is higher than letting someone else host your lessons and creating a website from scratch requires a certain level of expertise. Content management systems like Joomla !, WordPress and Drupal are very popular solutions. The platforms are free to install.
Barriers to entry can be low enough to just start by creating your own website with a low cost service and configure the associated PayPal e-commerce add-ons if you only use your website to create a presence and use LMS to run your lessons.
You will need basic software and only you can decide which one suits your needs. If you work with an organization or a school, they will usually provide all the software and systems you need, as well as access to technical support to get you started.
You can start training on your subject of expertise without certification or accreditation, if you wish, but getting clients to care about your work starts by clarifying who you are in the most professional way and getting certified as trainer looks great on your website. Barriers to entry can also be high in that there is strong competition for training funds allocated to individuals and businesses. Ensuring that there is a need where you offer your service and that you have built a strong team and network can increase your potential for success.
You may also need to hire instructors to help create your product and provide them with the hardware and software they need to do their job. The traditional academic model uses instructors with doctorate degrees, but more business-oriented institutions such as the University of Phoenix online tend to take real-life field experience as serious evidence. Depending on your subject, you will need to decide whether an academic or professional has more credits.