Creating And Selling Online Courses: Essential Tools
To successfully sell your courses online you are going to need all the (technological, that is) help you can get to cover as many aspects as possible, in the minimum amount of time and effort. Thank God we live in the “connected era”, where everything you need is now easy to find and use! This article is about all those applications that are going to come in handy from designing to successfully selling online courses. So, here we go!
Category: Learning Management System
In order to sell your courses online, you should really use an LMS (Learning Management System) platform. TalentLMS is an inexpensive cloud Learning Management System solution that can handle everything from course creation, course assignment, testing, and certification to automated billing and more!
Content is key when building your courses online; there are all sorts of learning styles so you want to cover as many, as possible. TalentLMS can help you embed visuals from presentations, videos you have already in stock or even content from external web sources. You name it and it can be part of your awesome course, regardless whether your audience’s learning style is visual, aural, or solitary. You can customize your content in every way imaginable, add gamification (rewarding features that motivate students), even organize video conferences.
But, as you’re probably already aware, learning doesn’t (have to) stop outside the “classroom”! With TalentLMS you can test your students after the end of your online courses or give them assignments due for next time. And of course, a Learning Management System wouldn’t be adequate without communication tools so your students can contact you with inquiries via PMs, calendars, and discussion forums.
TalentLMS is ideal for enterprise use, as well. You can segment your courses to different departments, allowing the distribution of different content in each! Because your IT department has no use for your sales strategies course obviously, and vice versa. At the same time however, you don’t want to isolate each branch administration-wise, so TalentLMS allows bulk and automated actions! All these actions are described in detailed reports in timelines where it is clear who did what and when! As simple as that…
“But what about selling online courses?” one might ask… Well, TalentLMS has got you covered again but integrating eCommerce features so you can sell courses via PayPal or Stripe, individually or via subscriptions. On enterprise mode you can customize the platform to fit your needs by using the API or get more than 200 integrations ready for use!
As for TalentLMS environment and user experience, the application is accessible from any device with internet access and is available in native apps for Android and iOS. Plus, TalentLMS is multilingual, so you can speak to your learners’ language for better results!
What more could you possible you ask for? Setup your eLearning portal fast? You got that too, in 30 seconds! How amazing is that?
Category: Creating Interactive Courses
If you want your courses to have advanced functionality and interactivity, Articulate is the tool for you! It is dead-simple for the amateurs and powerful enough for advanced users.
There are endless possibilities with Articulate and by just using your imagination you can create compelling eLearning content, which can then be uploaded to TalentLMS for example! The key-difference with other players of its industry, is that it provides you with new and exciting features to make your online courses more engaging and interactive.
As its name implies, you can create a scenario (storyline) that your course can follow and depending on your learners’ moves, the course can take different directions or show a variety of information. Of course, you can screencast your course as well, and you can edit it afterwards to add interaction features such as layers, triggers, and states. With just a few clicks you can choose from drop buttons, sliders, and markers on your slides!
If you want to create even more immersive online courses, Articulate gives you the ability to create simulations. There are 3 simulation modes so your learners can just watch a tutorial (View mode), try it out (Try mode), or be tested (Test mode). And once we’re talking about the testing part of your online courses, Articulate Storyline enables you to import questions, pool them into question banks and build quizzes by using 20 predefined themes . On top of all that, it offers negative scoring, for when learners choose wrong answers.
Last but not least, you as an instructor need a platform that is operable from any device for your online learners. Articulate Storyline can play just as fine across all devices, providing player font size up to 200% for the visually challenged learners.
No wonder Articulate has received so many awards and has so many genuine testimonials from happy customers all over the world!
Category: Creating Videos And Screencasts
If you happen to be a creative person, you will want to create your own content, add your personal touch to your videos, presentations, or training material. Camtasia is the ultimate tool for everyone who wants to easily create stunning instructional videos and screencasts!
Camtasia’s main feature is video editing; it might seem simple but, believe us, it’s a tricky business without help! So, if you’re an amateur in video making, this tool can guide you through the whole process of editing, animations, transition sounds and more, without spending a fortune on additional tools or outsourcing!
Your educational content needs to be eye-catching and in order to make it that way, Camtasia has a wide variety of backgrounds that capture attention, icons and motion graphics for more vivid online courses that keep learners interested in what you have to say.
You can insert videos recorded from your webcam, your screen and media from external sources up to 4k resolution. Add annotations (such as arrows and callouts) to stress important points efficiently. Interactivity also is key when rendering online courses; Camtasia allows you to create quizzes so you can be aware of who’s paying attention and how much information they can take in. An advanced feature, we believe it’s exciting, is the “Green Screen”. As used in movies, the green screen can “actually” make you appear inside your videos, making you part of the fun, as well!
As for Camtasia's pricing there’s a free full-feature trial plan and then you can purchase yearly subscriptions depending on the volume of videos created and type of user (Personal/Professional, Education, Government).
Category: Task Management / Productivity
Getting everything together can be a difficult task. You need a tool to keep all your thoughts and tasks and keep track of your progress, helping you stay organized and focused. Well, Trello allows you to do just that and SO much more!
By creating “boards” (like the ones you probably have in your office for brainstorming purposes) you can label the stuff you need to get done by a certain period of time. For example, you can give summer online courses and name the board after them. Inside each board, you create “cards” (picture something as a memo sticker) where you write the subject of each task, add a more elaborate description and this is where the fun begins. You can literally do anything to these cards:
- Set due dates.
- Attach files.
- Add a checklist (to keep track of progress).
- Make them repetitive.
- Add comments.
- Share them (via email, links, etc.).
- Export them.
- Invite people to help with these tasks.
And since we’re talking about inviting others, Trello is a wonderful tool for collaboration with your partners/staff. If you have a company that sells online courses, you may have a graphic designer, other tutors, copywriters to help you with your educational content and more!
You need a tool to keep track of everyone’s tasks and several boards, real time! Trello is really fast in doing so, and once someone completes a card, your board is automatically updated without you refreshing the page. If someone drags and drops a card you can actually see it change position right before your eyes, if you happen to be in that board. Of course, Trello also has a notification mechanism via email and in-app, because you’re obviously busy giving lectures rather than watching cards move around (which would be totally fine by us!).
If this doesn’t seem like the ideal task management platform already, get this… It’s totally free!
Category: Cloud Storage
Storing big video files, presentations, and large files in general, while keeping them readily available can be a daunting task. With Google Drive this is a thing of the past.
Because Google Drive is a cloud storage solution, with all the comforts this entails. When we use the term cloud, two things should come in mind first: Unlimited accessibility and storage capacity. All your work, educational content and other useful material follows you wherever you go and is accessible from any device. Plus, you have all the “space” you need to save files, media, presentations in all file formats possible.
You don’t even need to use your computer’s storage to create content. Google Drive allows you to work on the cloud, using features such as Google Docs (text editor), Google sheets (like Excel), Google Slides (for presentations) and more! It also has integrations with other applications you may find useful, namely Audio Converter, Pixel Editor (for photo editing) and the list goes on and on.
Another important thing is, you can share all of this in just a few clicks. Send a link of the file online and invite other Google users to view or edit it, as simple as that. All changes are automatically saved so you don’t have to worry whether your work is saved in case there’s a power outage or device malfunction. Using Hangouts you can chat with your team, plus your data is safe at all times. Collaboration is made easy and you eliminate communication costs, since Google Drive is free for up to 15GB storage and charges a small monthly fee if you want to upgrade (1TB costs $9.99/mo, come on!).
Category: Newsletter Management
Okay, so how are you planning on letting people know about your upcoming online courses? And how are you going to attract more people to your eLearning platform? Well, you’re going to need a simple newsletter system to notify learners of your courses, signup new ones, and build an audience!
We all love MailChimp but there are times that we need to start small and see where it gets us. TinyLetter is a newsletter system that does exactly that! You can easily draft emails with updates on your courses, showcase your work or give subscribers additional material and info. TinyLetter also provides a subscription form you can embed to your website, personalize it, and share it with your students even via Twitter. For extra ease of use, you can use it straight from your email client, you know and love.
Of course, you’ll love the fact that you can send emails for up to 2.000 people absolutely free. And it's from the same team that made MailChimp!
Category: eLearning Template Library
It is sensible that you don’t want to create some things from scratch for your online courses, such as templates, interactions, characters, or vector icons. eLearningDom is an extensive template library that will help you build your courses easy and fast.
With thousands of layouts designed for Storyline and Captivate to present introductions, scenarios, processes, lists, graphics, assessments, and much more. All these are completely customizable to fit your needs and aesthetics.
eLearningDom also allows you to choose from a variety of course starters, meaning presentation slides based on the same theme complete regarding color and design. So, all you have to do is add your educational content and voila! Your course is ready!
You can get full access to all this awesomeness and ease by choosing between their two subscription plans: Individual & Business, at a yearly cost of $237 and $697 respectively.
Category: Invoicing And Billing
Now, the last thing on your Trello card should be to make sure you invoice your eLearners for your online courses and get paid online for your work. Everyone who owns a business needs an invoicing solution.
Elorus is a simple, yet powerful, cloud invoicing application that allows you to create professional invoices, accept online payments, and keep track of your eLearning business’s performance.
You can automate your invoicing using its recurring invoicing system, where you can simply setup recurring rules in a few seconds. When the time comes, Elorus will automatically generate invoices and will notify you via email or in-app, so you can go on and send them via email to your customers. Because, Elorus has an email service integrated that allows you to communicate with clients and partners without wasting time on telephone conversations and exchange of printed documents. Additionally, you get delivery status for your emails, for even more control of operations!
If you happen to have employees, they can login too, so your collaboration is carried out seamlessly and become even more effective. Your accountant can gain access as well, making it easier for them to keep your books and double-check your entries for errors.
Furthermore, you can monitor your accounts receivable/payable at any given moment and stay on top of your obligations. Elorus’s dynamic reporting features will give you a detailed image of your financial position, so you’ll be able to make decisions, such as invest in new eLearning tools. You can export these reports, edit them further and share them with others!
But, money makes the world go round, as you know! Elorus makes the billing process a breeze, since it’s integrated with popular online payments providers (PayPal, Authorize.Net, and more) so your clients can pay you with their credit/debit cards within a few clicks! And in any currency...
Elorus is customizable to your needs; by using their free, public API you can tailor processes to your workflow, and create automations to optimize your invoicing. All these incredible capabilities come in very affordable prices, too. You can start for free and stay there forever while enjoying Elorus’s full-featured version, or you can choose among three subscription plans, ranging from $9.95 to $22.95 per month (annual discounts are offered, as well!).
So, there you have it! You can start your online courses now and by utilizing the amazing features all these essential online tools provide. Choose the ones that cover your needs, and focus on creating substantial educating material that captivates you learner’s attention and engages them effectively!