How to create an online course pt. III
12 October 2020
How to create an Online Course pt. III:
Embracing change and continuous improvement
Inthis last article of the series, we’ll discuss the importance of continuously improving your formula and production process, and how this is instrumental to achieving your mission as a creator of online courses.
Following the cycle – Formula, Production, Improvement
There’s an order to most things. Many phenomena are cyclical in nature. Think of the seasons, the ebb and flow and even a thing as obvious as the rising of the sun. The creation of online courses is no different. When you design an online course, you start with your mission statement. You want to ensure that your course is designed in such a way that it helps contribute towards your mission. This is done by operationalizing your mission statement into a set of goals that form your online course formula. This formula becomes the blueprint for your production process, as each link in the production becomes attuned to reaching the criteria you’ve set out for your online course.
Completing the cycle – Continuous Improvement
This is what we’ve discussed in the previous two articles in a nutshell, and it covers two-thirds of the cycle of creating an online course. The third and final step is to continue improving your formula and course content based on feedback, insights and developments. We call this ‘Continuous Improvement’. You’ve thought out the formula for your online course and developed it into a product, but the work doesn’t stop there. Now you must observe its contribution to your mission statement and adjust it accordingly.
Putting the mission first
You’ll find that not only will your online courses receive praise and criticism that you need to take into account, but also new insights and changes in the market and field. Whatever feedback you receive, or whatever new opportunities come your way, you will have to integrate them into your online courses. After all, they are created for a specific purpose in mind. The mission comes first, and achieving it requires you to always be on the lookout for improvement.
Lifelong learning and productivity
Take us for example. We want to make lifelong learning fun again. To do so, we strive to make our online courses as useful, accessible, effective and fun as possible, where the ingredient of usefulness is translated into the general subject of increasing productivity. Our production process is specifically designed to achieve these goals.
When the online course is finished and has been given our blessing, it is released to the public. This is when the third step takes place. Based on feedback, new insights and developments in the field, we have to adjust not only the contents of our course, but also the formula we use to create them. This means that our formula and production process are constantly changing to better achieve our mission.
Improving content and formula
For instance, our definition of productivity might have to change to include more subjects depending on changes in market needs. If people are experiencing a lack of knowledge and skill in their ability to cope with stress at work, or have trouble reading employment contracts, we will have to consider adding the categories labor law and stress management to our portfolio.
Or perhaps we will discover new theories of learning with which to improve the effectiveness of our courses. We would have to include these into our formula and adjust our production process
Change as mission-dependent
But the things you need to change depend very strongly on what your mission is. For us, we need to focus on the content of our courses and the method of knowledge transfer. We want to make lifelong learning fun, so our main aim should be to improve the course content and learning experience. Our marketing and sales-strategy however, will likely require little change. Maybe some aesthetic and functional changes to our website, sure, but our communication won’t change, as it is essential to our mission.
If your mission is purely to amass profit however, it would make much more sense to emphasize improving your marketing and sales over your product. Although we much prefer the product-driven improvement approach, that’s not to say this is a bad thing in itself. If we were to do poorly financially, it might make sense to rev up the marketing strategy and make some changes. It’s a little difficult to make lifelong learning fun again when you don’t have any financial resources. But even then, we’d have to reconsider our course content as well, to see if we weren’t tackling the wrong subjects in the first place.
Change is key
Whatever your mission is, don’t be afraid of change. Change is an essential part of every venture, including the noble art of creating online courses. It’s not enough to just create online courses; you have to keep improving them on a constant basis as well. Achieving your mission without being open to change and improvement is impossible. Dogmatically following a singular approach means closing your eyes to a world that is constantly changing. Continuous change requires continuous adaptation. And continuous adaptation demands continuous improvement. All for the sake of achieving what you must. A bit dramatic, maybe, but we try to take this seriously. This is business, after all.
By now you’re well-acquainted with our take on how to create an online course. It’s a mission-centric and cyclical approach that emphasizes having a clear formula to achieve your goals, a production process attuned to it and a focus on continuous improvement that makes your approach viable in the long run. You don’t ever stop improving, not even when you’re satisfied. We believe that’s the way forward, and we hope you agree.
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Let us know what you thought of these articles. Do you agree? Do you have a different take on creating online courses that you’d like to share? Or do you have an idea for an online course you’d like to work on? We’d love to hear it, so don’t be a stranger!