How to Use an Online Teaching Platform to Reach Students
Do you love to teach, but don’t have a platform for spreading your knowledge to willing students? Our rapidly shifting economy means that there are a lot of people who are currently interested in learning new job skills. Whether they want to be more valuable in their current role, are gearing up for something new, or want to break out and do their own thing, they’re looking for experts to lead them to new knowledge. One of the easiest ways to connect educators and students is through online teaching platforms.
If you’re not a super-technical person, the prospect of creating an online course might seem very daunting. Let’s break the process down into bite-sized pieces so you can better see how educators can begin teaching students online.
Define your teaching niche
First and foremost, don’t try to be everything to everyone and teach everyone about everything. As in most other parts of life, you’ll find more success by picking one subject you know a lot about and are passionate about teaching.
It may help to brainstorm a list of potential subjects and dive deeper into specific subtopics. What has the most potential in terms of what you know and possible lessons to create?
After some brainstorming, head over to a website like Quora where you can see what people are confused about in regards to certain topics. These public questions can be great sources of inspiration for course material.
Once you’ve defined your teaching niche, give yourself a pat on the back! It’s not easy to narrow things down to just one subject.
Teaching online about a specific subject can help you to establish an expertise in the niche, which will help with more than just the joy of teaching or making some extra money. Becoming known as an expert is a step towards better business leads (whether you work for yourself or someone else) and the ability to charge more for products and services you offer.
Being regarded as an expert also tends to mean that more people are willing to help you spread the word about your projects, which will help after you’ve created a course and are trying to find students. But will talk more about that later in this article.
Find your online teaching platform
After you’ve decided what you want to teach about, it’s important to pick an online teaching platform that fits your needs. The reason you should do this before attempting to create course materials is because every platform is different, and will have their own specific requirements.
eCoaches is free for new teachers and you’re not limited in teaching subject matter—you can teach about anything you want!
While some online course providers really only give you the chance to teach with videos and other supplementary course materials, eCoaches differs in its methodology by connecting individuals to other individuals, in more of a coaching environment.
It’s still encouraged to create course materials ahead of time, but in terms of coaching, each session will be tailored to the individual who opts to work with you. Working with eCoaches means you can reach the masses, but also work with individuals, and make money in both situations!
The beauty of working with an online teaching platform like eCoaches, as opposed to creating and promoting a course on your own website, is that there’s already a built-in audience, and eCoaches does a lot of the marketing work for you.
Create your course materials
Once you pick your online teaching platform, it’s time to create your course materials.
Course materials can take many forms, including:
- Video explanations of specific processes
- Workbooks to accompany teaching materials
- Homework to encourage students to apply what they’ve learned
- Basic scripts and processes for one on one coaching sessions
When going through the process of creating these materials, ask yourself:
- What do I already know?
- What materials do I already have that can be repurposed?
- What do I need to know to put this course together?
- Where can I find the information I need to finish this course?
If you break course creation up into these easier to follow steps, it won’t be as overwhelming as it may initially seem.
It’s also useful to take knowledge and best practices from experts who have done it before. Forbes shares their best tips for creating a money making course online, and Derek Halpern of Social Triggers offers his two cents in this article. Here’s an additional resource on course creation from Smart Passive Income’s Pat Flynn.
On a similar note, Pat Flynn and Derek Halpern are two excellent examples of individuals who have used online teaching platforms to grow their audience, help establish themselves as experts, and who both currently make tens of thousands in passive online course revenue each month! They’re examples of the income potential and perception of expertise possible when using an online teaching platform like eCoaches.
Regardless of what materials you make, it’s important that they’re more or less ready to go by the time you’ve sold your first session.
Promote your new course
Although an online teaching platform will help a lot in terms of the initial Marketing push, it’s important to also engage your own network when creating a new course.
The more traffic and excitement you push at the beginning, the more likely your students are to help you spread the word and generate more sales through referrals in the long term.
Here are a few initial ideas for promoting your new course, utilizing your own network:
- Create posts for Twitter and Facebook, including relevant hashtags and an inviting image. Don’t forget a tempting call to action, and of course a link. Pin your post to the top of the page for maximum impressions.
- Add a link to your course with a tempting call to action at the bottom of your email signature. It’s an easy way to always be passively selling!
- Send your course to friends who’ve expressed an interest in learning more about the things you’re passionate about, and ask if they’re interested in learning more. Don’t forget to ask if they can help you pass the word along to their friends!
These represent just a few of many different kinds of Marketing strategies that would be useful to employ when spreading the word about a new course. We’d love to hear other successful strategies you’ve used in terms of similar promotions, in the comments.
What misgivings do you still have about how educators can begin teaching students online? We’d love to hear all about them and help you get past them! Entrepreneur’s biggest regrets often come back to the chances they didn’t take, as well as waiting until everything’s completely “perfect” before getting started. Don’t get stuck in the mindset - take the first step towards teaching students online and create an eCoaches account!