If you can’t find a business to devote yourself to, we may advise you to start an online school. Not many endeavors in 2020 are worth your attention, but it doesn’t apply to an online school. Distance learning gains popularity because it’s a lot easier than full-time training. People don’t need to leave their house to get new and valuable knowledge and then transform it into skills. Here we’ll discover all the secrets of running an online school. This article will be beneficial for people who have zero knowledge of this niche.
Don’t underestimate the importance of preparation because it’s the basis of your future course. It’s better to care about all aspects of launching a distance school than to deal with the consequences later.
№1. Let’s define the aim of launching a distance course in your school
A business that doesn’t have a clear purpose is doomed to failure. If you don’t know why your own school is necessary for you, give up the idea of starting it until you find a good reason and proper motivation. Check some statements and if you feel that one of them perfectly describes your situation - start preparation:
- You’re an expert who wants to share the accumulated information and skills.
- You have a blog and want to get more subscribers.
- You want to advertise your goods or services in an online course.
№2. Choose a direction, theme, and teaching methods
Take care about the subject and vector of your school and online courses — they should be sought-after; otherwise, you won’t gain the required number of subscribers. The next thing you should do is select the teaching methods. Your choice will influence the type of classes, the information they'll contain. Moreover, the format of the school depends on the teaching methods you choose.
Remember: studying doesn’t happen independently; students are in a social environment affected by numerous factors. Online learning should include various activities, including teacher-student and student-student interaction. It can be various social events, group lessons, and feedback to the teacher through messengers or emails.
№3. Gather a team of professional teachers.
The teaching staff is an essential element of your online school. At least it influences the reputation of your school. So you understand why you should be attentive when hiring teachers.
Can you describe what ‘good teacher’ means for you? We suppose that a good teacher is a highly respected person having long experience. Sometimes finding the right person takes months. If you want to be a founder of a school in good standing, please, be patient.
Besides having a vast body of knowledge, both practical and theoretical, your teachers should have outstanding communication skills and clearly articulate their thoughts. One of the best features of a professional instructor is to explain even the most complicated material the way everyone can understand it.Note that you may not hire teachers if you consider yourself qualified enough to hold lessons. Meeting the criteria mentioned above isn’t enough to be a teacher. You must also understand how eLearning works. If you think that it’s too difficult for you, don’t worry. Learn how to start an online school, become its administrator, and invite professional teachers to hold online classes.
№4.Target audience: Is it necessary to know it?
The target audience or TA are people who may be interested in attending your school. Any business owner will tell you that the analysis of the target audience is a key step in launching any startup. Online courses and schools aren’t the exceptions. You need to define your TA because it lets you get the necessary information:
- Where your clients get new information, it lets you find the best way to advertise your online school: in blogs they read, websites they visit, materials they search in Google.
- Their manner of communication. Write an ad copy that will be the most effective because it will be very similar to how they talk.
- How they choose and compare products of your niche. This knowledge helps to structure aspects and prioritize them when creating content.
- What do people want? Offer people a product that will align with their values and priorities. Finally, your website will look 98% relevant for them.
№5. How to create a portrait of the TA?
Answer the following questions to complete this step.
- Who do you work for? This information includes their age, sex, the sphere of activity, level of wealth, marital status, hobbies, habits, etc.
- What do these people want to accomplish?
- What do your customers need, and why can't they satisfy their needs?
If you answered all these questions, you understand your TA and can turn to the next step.
№6. Launching a school: marketing plan
You may think that finishing the previous steps is enough to run your own school. However, if you run your school without a marketing plan, people will hardly hear about you, and still, less buy a course. Online schools, like any other business, should have a clear marketing plan and follow it. Here are the marketing instruments you should use to develop an effective promotion strategy:
- Develop a high-quality website. Do you know what high-quality means here? It means your website should be comprehensive and contain information about you as a founder of this school, about your training courses, and don't forget to explain to clients where and how they can sign up for courses. It’s important because it lets you take advantage of SEO.
- Have you ever been a blogger? No? Then it’s time to become one. Turn your private account into a blog or create a new page to devote it to blogging. Post information about eLearning to engage people in your personality and your products.
- What about SMM? Having your blog is good, but your school shouldn’t be sidelined. Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and even TikTok are good sites to promote your online school. Pay your attention to TikTok because it’s on the rise these days. Share interesting materials about eLearning and place promotional posts to invite more people. The higher activity is on your page, the more attention to you and your products. Initiate discussions in comments and interact with your audience to maintain their interest.
- Place your courses on a unique platform. Courseindex.com is an example of such a service. It’s a catalog of courses from all over the web. Courseindex.com does more than just collect training courses. It uses the most effective affiliate marketing instruments to promote sites and these courses.
- Don’t forget about your graduates. Friendly relations between teachers, managers, school administrators, and students worth a lot. Make every effort to maintain them. Ask students to write reviews about your courses and recommend you to people. Reviews, especially negative ones, are a powerful motivator to become better. Product launch emails are another good way to not just stay in touch with grads but attract them to start another course in your school.
- Start a discount period at your school. Coupons and special offers are good instruments that are often used to heighten interest in a product, and they also work well with eLearning. Here are several applications for coupons: Can be given as special offers; May be presented to standing customers; Can be placed on coupon-providing websites and partners; It may be sent as a part of an email promotion.
- Catch potential clients. This trick is used to make people subscribe to a newsletter. Offer all visitors to join your mailing list to stay current on news and relevant proposals. But remember how you react to the offer to share your email address? Of course, you never fill all these order forms, just like your visitors. That’s why you must write a proposal in some other way. Offer them to join a newsletter and get a bonus: Checklist; Presentation; Ebook; Guide; Course; PDF document, etc.
The overall number of marketing instruments is huge, so you can test all of them to find the best one to make your training course effective.
After you’ve specified all moments and details, have chosen the most effective sales method, it’s the right time to proceed with creating an online school using a special platform, preparation of educational resources, QA testing, and then you may start your classes.
№7. Creating an own platform for online school
First and foremost, our task is to develop a website to place your online school. We advise you to start this process with the creation of the landing page. It’s the first page your website visitors see, so it aims to catch as many people as possible. Create a nice logo, add it, change the template’s colors, change fonts, and do everything you consider necessary to personalize your website.
Modern website builders do everything for you: they offer a wide range of templates you may customize.
The choice of the right templates, fonts, heading, images, and other elements is crucial. A good landing page is the one that can make people check the content in a matter of seconds. It’s your aim.
A landing page isn’t everything you need to perfect. The ‘About Us’ page should look stunning because it can be used to introduce your brand, ‘The rules of studying’ page, ‘Training program’ page, and other pages require your attention.
№8 Ready-made solutions for online classes
If you don’t want to spend time developing a platform for online school from scratch, it’s okay. Use pre-made online platforms. These are short descriptions of the most popular platforms for online school creators:
Monthly cost (RUB)
It has a convenient courses and classes builder, fast money transfer, detailed statistics of all sales and received income.
GetCourse has software to develop courses, its own payment system, CRM, and detailed statistics
Supports SCORM courses
Russian platform with a user-friendly interface for fast work
5% of all sales
Ample opportunities to sell and promote your course.
If you want your school to be a profitable business, devote time to prepare resources and materials for students. Your primary goal is to share knowledge, so do your best to achieve it.
№9 Defining approaches
Start with identifying the educational purposes. Good educational purposes should meet the SMART criteria. We mean that good purposes are concrete, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. Courses and all materials must solve students’ problems.
Develop a logical order of materials you’ll use based on thematic categories. There are several pedagogical approaches:
- Integrative learning.
- Case studies.
- Open discussions.
- Experiential learning.
- Student assessment.
You can follow any of the approaches mentioned above. Mix several methods if you can’t choose one; it’s a good alternative. Some people who launch online schools and academies don’t think that pedagogical approaches aren’t necessary.
However, if you won’t use them, you won’t achieve your studying goals.
What about the forms of instructional materials? Online school creators should pay attention to two main forms: educational videos and text documents.
№10 Using educational videos in eLearning
Video is a powerful and irreplaceable tool for online learning — video content increases student participation. If you want to make the most out of video content, include interactive videos in your course. Specialists recommend creating videos and adding some interactive elements or actions to them.
№11 What about using text documents and ebooks?
Students like watching videos because it’s the most interesting type of educational content; however, most students also like reading. Ask any course creator, and you’ll make sure that text documents are so much simpler to create. Moreover, it’s a good way to include more information than videos. Text documents can be different: educational leaflets, guides, reports, case studies, or any other material students can use.
Do you want to know the best format to use in online studying? It’s a PDF. Modern services also let users create ebooks. For example, LearnWorlds offers people interactive ebooks: students can read them, make notes and use other instruments.
№12 How to start an online school that’ll be profitable?
In addition to electronic books, PDF files, documents, presentations, animations, videos, and audio lessons, your courses should contain enough gamification techniques: Tests; Signs; Quizzes; Certificates, etc.
Your courses system should support discussion forums, blogs, podcasts, quizzes, infographics, etc. It’s also important to define how often you’ll hold lessons and what types of content you’ll present. Is your approach independent? Can your students get access to learning materials conveniently, or is it limited in time?
Well, now you have the best educational platform full of learning materials. You already have a training plan and successfully attracted your TA. Take your time and test the final product before releasing it to prevent yourself from failure.
- Is it possible to use Youtube to attract students?
All’s fair in love and war and in your attempts to attract more people to educational content. Do you want to use Youtube? Do it. Upload your promo video to Youtube or start a channel for your online school. Share useful videos with integrated advertising and be ready to accept new students.
- How to select the best virtual learning platform?
Before you choose a platform, ask yourself about its availability:
How and where do you want to use your school?
Can people access it from mobile phones?
Can people access it using OTT software on their TVs?
Depending on the school you want to launch, people will expect different levels of accessibility from you: students will prefer watching lessons in yoga school using their TV, whereas drawing academy should be easily accessed from PC.
- Can you provide examples of effective online schools?
Well Learning Library, Hung Kuen Kung Fu Academy, Start Social are the best examples in terms of design and presentation of material
- What payment systems are better to use in an online school?
Here are several payment systems you can connect to your school. They are very simple and convenient: Edusys, PagSeguro, PaySchools, 2Checkout, Paypal.