Becoming An eLearning Teacher: 101
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Cost, Student Engagement, And Competition: What You Need To Know To Become An eLearning Teacher

Online learning continues to grow with more students using the internet to take courses on everything from how to knit socks to college courses. The world of eLearning gives teachers an excellent opportunity to take their skills out of the formal classroom. In addition, some companies are now conducting their corporate training sessions in an eLearning environment. The best part is that it is possible to treat teaching online as a full-time job, or as part-time while you continue to teach in the traditional classroom setting.

Starting Cost

The first thing you may be wondering is how much it costs to start the eLearning process. The first cost to consider is the hard cost of equipment and materials. This includes your computer, office set up, printed materials, any specialty training that you need, software, space, and similar expenses. These costs are easy to estimate with a quick search online.

Course Development

Developing the course takes time. In addition, you may need training to use the software, or spend time advancing your knowledge on the subject matter. Time is money and you need to develop a way to account for this time in the operating budget. In addition, there may be direct costs associated with the need to purchase additional coursework or training prior to starting up. If you are doing this full time, you need to factor in your household and office expenses.

Pricing

The next cost consideration is how to price your eLearning courses. The first and most important step is analyzing the competition. Try to find courses that are similar to yours, and hopefully even in the same topic or subject matter. Try to find as many examples as possible and look for sites that give statistics on the number of sales for each course. You can use this to estimate the demand for your course.

Ongoing Costs

You also need to factor in your costs of maintenance and the costs of hosting. You need to make certain that your price your courses so that your operating costs monthly will not be problematic to your longevity. Content is the main determining factor for cost and price point. If the course is highly interactive and requires much time and attention for you, then it should be priced higher than course where they take their time and learn at their own pace with little intervention from you.

Hidden Costs

There are several hidden costs in the learning process including the need for ongoing revision and maintenance of the course, upgrades to software, and continual course development based on student feedback and market insights. As with anything, this is a new medium for many teachers and there will be a learning curve along with mistakes in the beginning.

The most difficult step in the process is getting your first student. You may be tempted to offer your course for free to attempt the first students to sign up. However, in today’s world, price is equated with value. If you offer your course for free, students may assume that it is of low quality and low value.

Engaging Your Students

Once you are trained and have your office set up, the next thing you must consider is how you will engage your students. Teaching in an online environment is much different than teaching face-to-face. Just as with the traditional classroom, engaging students help the learn the material better, be more interested, and be more likely to return for further classes or most importantly, recommend the class to their friends. Successful student engagement is the key to eLearning success for teachers.

Focus On Student Goals And Lifestyle

The best thing that you can do is to understand the goals of your students while you are designing the course. If you teach something that interests them and that engages prior learning the students will be more interested. It is important to have an open forum where students can share their challenges and find collaborative ways to solve them with you and their peers.

The most important thing that you can do is understand your students, their life, and how you can best fit engagement in the course into this lifestyle. One example is understanding when is the best time to send an email. You need to make certain that it is at a time when students will be more likely to read it. Connecting and interacting with your students in a way that fits their lifestyle is the best way to keep them interested in the course and coming back for more.

Surviving The Competition

As with any business, surviving the competition means making your services and course stand out among your competitors. And make no mistake, competition is fierce - this industry is rapidly expanding. You need to have something that makes you unique or offer common knowledge in a different way that is more engaging for students. As more competition enters the eLearning environment, it may have the effect of driving prices down. The trick is to find a way to stand out so that you do not have to lower your prices because of the actions of your competitors.

You want to make your business stand out as the leader in terms of quality and price. To accomplish this, you need to make the user interface interactive and easy to navigate. Using games and clickable information is another way to make your product stand out. It is also important in today’s world to make your content mobile ready.

Becoming an online teacher offers flexibility and the potential to determine your earnings and income while doing something that you love. Developing courses and getting started is the most difficult part. However, it is also necessary to understand that there is some maintenance and upkeep involved. To be successful, you need to be part teacher and part entrepreneur. For those who have these qualities, eLearning can be the pathway to living your best life.

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