Online courses have gained popularity in recent years because they offer businesses so many benefits.

Here are our top 14 tips for creating online courses for your organization:

1) Use existing content as a starting point. Repurpose speeches, slide shows, blogs and sales materials into courses for your employees, staff or clients. You have the content. Use it. Develop it into an effective course to explain your services or products. Then add details to give it depth.

2) Go small. An online course has no set limit. You can make it short and sweet or long and comprehensive depending on the subject matter. Need to offer a course on harassment or safety?

3) Increase engagement and retention by using video. Studies find that people retain material better when it is presented both visually and aurally. Video can do both and well.

4) Simplify. Take complex information and simplify it with video where you can show as well as explain. Use graphics or animation to give a closer look. Video allows you to cover a subject easily without the confusion text alone can sometimes inspire.

5) Design your content. Educational material should be as organized as possible for incremental learning. Break your information into sections and present them logically. If there’s a lot of information, consider creating a series of videos that can be presented over time. This will increase retention and give your audience a chance to ask questions at each level. This falls under the category of instructional design.

6) Ensure consistency. Putting your training on video means every learner receives the same information every time. Live training cannot deliver the same promise.

7) Get the technology right. A poorly designed technical platform can alienate learners and instructors both, causing high attrition rates and poor retention of information. Make sure you select the right delivery system for your content and audience.

8) Keep your audience in mind. The success of your program depends on how the content is designed and presented. It should target your audience and offer ample time to absorb, practice and offer feedback.

9) Skew it older. Adult learners want to be treated with respect with acknowledgement of their professional experiences. Your content should use real-world examples and challenges and allow for feedback. Don’t talk down to your audience or you will lose them.

10) Give over control. The best online courses allow learners to proceed at their own pace. Self-directed learning allows learners to process information in their own way to accommodate different learning styles.

11) Add variety. Change up assignments, activities and practice to keep it interesting and to accommodate different learning styles. Changing it up also allows instructors to assess progress.

12) Be flexible. You cannot take an existing course and plop it online and expect success. Online courses need to be flexible in the way they are formatted and designed. Consider the delivery system, organization and navigation. The courses need to be accessible, clear and intuitive.

13) Animation helps. Don’t rely solely on an instructor-based video. Try mixing it up with white board animation, motion graphics, 2-D and 3-D animation to dive deeper. Then offer links to text-based materials for supplemental information.

14) Build in interactivity. Let your learners do more than watch. Build in opportunities to talk with other learners and the instructor. Allow for review and offer links to more details for those learners who want to fully understand the material.

Video Solutions is a Strategic Media Boutique that specializes in finding solutions for our clients. We welcome the opportunity to talk with you about your training and educational efforts to explore how video can help. Call (703) 683-5305 or Contact Us