Why are online education courses free popular?

Online education courses free began in 2008. Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) is another term for online education courses free. By 2012, the academic world began taking this concept more seriously. This has led to the rise and popularity of online courses. Previously only available to large learning institutions, the delivery tools are now available to anyone interested in developing and publishing an online course.

Historical marker in front of historic site.Instructors are free to teach online courses on any subject of interest

According to Global Industry Analysts, Inc., the online education industry is expected to surpass $240 billion by 2021.The online education industry brought in over $107 billion in revenue in 2015. Both the commercial and academic worlds contributed to the growth and delivery of knowledge on the Internet. The desire for knowledge, computer-aided multimedia and Internet delivery has paved the way for online education courses free.

This income earning potential opens the door to instructors who want to create, deliver and sell online education courses free. Of course, not all the courses available online are free. Instructors could earn income from specialized knowledge that people may want to learn. Teachers can create educational content around their expertise in subjects that interest them with a few basic tools. Both paid and online education courses free can be accessed by all students with a mobile phone.

Key elements of online education courses free

These courses are purposely designed courses. Anyone can enroll in an online course for the masses. They are participatory and distributed on a large scale. Online education courses free support lifelong networked learning.

Previously, colleges and universities were big players in the online education world. Using the available technology, colleges were able to develop and offer online courses. Traditional academic subjects were delivered using video, audio, PowerPoint slides, downloadable handouts and built-in quizzes. Today, these tools are more widely available.

Entrepreneur-led courses developed on platforms designed for non-college professors are unable to offer students who complete these courses college credit. Enrolling students will complete these courses for their own knowledge without receiving college credit or a degree.

This means that there are more opportunities for non-college professors to create, teach, develop and deliver courses of interest to anyone. Since these courses aren’t for credit, prospective teachers have the freedom to create and teach many different non-academic topics. Entrepreneurial teachers should… 

  • know your topic
  • have the desire to share your knowledge and experience with motivated and interested students
  • present your course well

These courses are offered on-demand. Students signing up for these courses will have immediate access to all course materials. Since there are no set times when these courses occur, students have the freedom to learn at their own pace. Instead of teaching these courses at a given date at time, prepared materials teach the course. On-demand course instructors can also make themselves available to address student questions and concerns any time that is convenient for both the instructor and the student.

How to create an online education course 

The first step is to choose a topic that you are passionate about enough to share this knowledge with others. Think about your skills, talents, life and work experiences. Topics with which you are passionate about, have experience with and are knowledgeable about will make good choices for your initial course topic.

The next step would be to conduct several market research tests to determine the market demand of your prospective audience for your selected topic. Some questions to answer yes to are people talking about it? Are people asking questions about it? Is there a gap in what the competition is offering? A yes answer to all three questions and an idea that is similar but different to other courses already published may lead to becoming a best-selling course.

Clearly explain learning outcomes using measurable verbs, so that students will know what to expect when enrolling in the course. Otherwise, the online course created could severely risk the reputation of the teacher and the course’s bottom line. This is the best way to avoid experiencing frustrations when creating the course. If students don’t know how the course will help them, then they won’t want to enroll in the course.  

The next step is to create a course outline. To help organize the course, think in terms of modules and lessons. A module would be the overall subtopic, with the lessons providing the details of that subject.

Next, decide the best methods to deliver course lessons. The trick is to determine what format is best to explain the subject. Lesson delivery lesson choices include text, worksheets, video, audio, checklists, infographics and other ways of delivering quality information to students. Review your course presentations to ensure a high quality of lesson delivery to students. Remove all errors or glitches before finalizing the course for delivery to students.

There are many platforms out there that teachers can use to post course lessons. For example, teachers can create a website to host and deliver the course to enrolled students. There are membership site scripts and WordPress plugins that can be used to help set up a system for selling and delivering online education courses free. For faster, less technical effort, you can use an online course service. Teachers can upload their courses and the online course service takes care of selling it to their members/market, including payment processing. The downside is that they own the market and platform. In addition, teachers going this route are competing with other course providers. This means that in order to remain competitive, instructors must lower the price of their course offerings. Here is a link to some recommended online course services.

The three major ways to sell online courses are…

  • Online course marketplaces
  • Learning management systems
  • Plugins or software on your website

There will always be a need to promote the course regardless of which way the course is delivered to students. Start by creating a marketing plan that includes the targeted market, where this market is found and how to encourage prospective students to learn more about the course offerings. Course marketing options include social media, article and blog marketing. Another way to market courses is through PPC advertising such as Facebook ads. There are many other free and low-cost marketing options.

Finally, teachers and instructors should ensure that course information is current, relevant and up-to-date. Outdated information doesn’t help students and can lead to bad reviews. Broken links to resources should also be monitored and fixed.

Here is another resource to find free online courses.

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