If you’re an online teacher, or plan to become one, this article will apprise you of what and how you should plan your endeavor.
The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows – Sydney J. Harris
There are many names that befit the process of online education. Some prominent ones are online teaching business, e-learning business, and online learning business.
Willy-nilly we all are part of that grand exchange of education as either a giver or a taker.
Take a look at the following image.
While a college student prepares for exams through online learning, old-age pensioners need to know how best to plan for more savings even as mid-level execs would be looking for fitness training to withstand the rigors of daily routine.
Like these 3 examples, there are innumerable wants and needs for e-learning and training on any number of topics you can think of.
And each one of us needs them to lead a better life.
Opportunity for YOU
Often, during different discussions, I’ve come across questions about opportunities for online teaching.
I strongly feel that the opportunities are immense, and will always exist.
Well, think of education as a commodity like food, clothe, and consumables. Their demand never goes, because we need them everyday.
Similarly, we will need education all the time no matter what, since we want to lead a better life.
Having said that, let’s take a look at some of the major types of education anywhere on the globe.
- Learning in schools, colleges, and higher institutions is one of the oldest and commonest forms of education, and is therefore highly organized.
- Students and teachers know what to learn/teach and how to learn/teach. Syllabi are discussed and planned based on well laid-out steps and procedures.
- However, in spite of all that, many students at personal levels feel the need to learn from outside their institutions. This happens mainly because not all students have the same aptitude for learning in classrooms, and so they look for help outside the classrooms.
- Companies routinely train their employees with the aim to improve their performance. This is a semi-organized sector in the sense there is no fixed curriculum, and varies according to situation.
- In the current scenario of digital technology, many companies are forced to ask employees to study outside courses to remain in the know of latest technology.
- Outside of institutional learning and corporate training lies the vast unorganized field of online education. Anything that doesn’t come under the above 2 types is a part of unorganized online learning and training.
- As the name suggests, unorganized online education is simply the result of demand and supply in the market. There can be ‘n’ number of course variations in any one topic, the only determining factor being its usefulness for the learners and the ensuing demand because of that.
- What may surprise you is that, many learners and trainers in the organized sectors learn and/or teach in the unorganized market as well.
- An example is that of the mid-level executive (above image) who undergoes corporate training in her company, and also takes fitness training in the unorganized sector.
Questions You Wanted to Ask on Online Teaching Business
Let’s now look at some of the questions that are often raised in different fora on the web and in discussions I have with my clients and students.
These questions are mainly to assist online teachers, and will be updated and maintained here as part of ongoing deliberation.
What are the main steps required to launch online teaching?
There are numerous steps and sub-steps that come together (sometimes overlapping one another) to successfully launch online teaching. But they can all be grouped together under 3 main heads as under:
- Preparing the online course
- Showcasing the course, and
- Marketing the course
Each head is a culmination of a wide range of actions, and needs careful planning and execution for optimum use of resources to get maximum benefits.
How to prepare an online course?
Let me touch upon 3 important points here –
< 1 >
The first step in preparing an online course is to design the course. As a teacher you have to ensure that there is a smooth and logical flow of learning for the students who take your course.
A fairly established way of designing online course is backward course design. See the image below.
The idea is to start from –
- a course’s learning goals, then
- work backward to decide what skills will demonstrate achievement of the learning goals, and finally
- work further backward to decide what content is required to support those skills.
Many a times however you may find yourself pondering over what to teach online. Or rather, how to formulate the course so that it’s the most ideal one on your topic.
In such an instance, always remember that the best action is to START doing it. So, just make a BEGINNING instead of remaining inactive and indecisive.
< 2 >
The second important point to consider is the type of teaching materials you’re going to use in your course lessons.
There are mainly 5 types of course contents you’ll be using – Text, Image, Video, Audio Podcast, Presentation.
See image below.
The point to decide is, which of these 5 would you be actually using for your course lessons.
- For example, among developers and coders the opinion is divided between texts and video, with a tilt favoring texts with good visuals.
- Cooking classes almost always have videos. So do fitness lessons. One can easily understand why, because they are mainly demonstrative training. And what can make demonstration better if not a video?
- If, however you are into personality development training you might prefer audio podcasts over videos. Your students will certainly prefer that over videos or presentations.
- On the other hand, management skills training depends heavily on presentations, or slide-based videos. Students need both the texts on the screen, and the audio lecture to understand the concepts. Take away one of the 2, especially the presentation part, and the training becomes of no use.
Here is a snapshot of types of suitable teaching materials for respective course topics.
< 3 >
The third step is the ACTUAL course creation.
Content development skills like –
will be necessary to translate your knowledge into effective teaching lessons for your students.
to be continued…