Monday, January 30, 2023

How To Design Effective Online Courses: Step By Step Guide

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Shubham Sethi
Shubham Sethi
Co-Founder, Gleantap & Mastera

Every organization today is looking at how to leverage the power of online education. In today’s world, people are always connected and searching for information to help them make the right decisions. That’s why it’s so important for organizations to design online courses that not only cater to the needs of their learners but also connect with their audience. Learning should be engaging and exciting, and if you want your learners to get excited about your courses, read on.

What makes an effective course?

We’ve all been there. You’re reading a blog post on how to make your course more engaging, and you’re like “Sure, I’ll give that a shot!” You’re excited and think to yourself, “How can I make my online course more engaging?”.

And just like that, you become an online course designer: frantically Googling “increase engagement”, trying out all the new techniques you read about, and making a mess out of your course until you eventually become overwhelmed and give up.

Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to make your course more engaging. While it’s important to keep in mind that engagement is not the same thing as learning, it’s still helpful to learn why engagement is important.

How to design a great course

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of how to design an engaging tutoring business, let’s take a step back and discuss the big picture of online course design. There is a lot you can do to make your course more engaging, but in order to make it effective, you need to think about the impact of your courses in the context of your organization and industry.

So, for example, if you’re a local community college looking to offer more convenient classes, you may have a slightly different approach than, say, a medical school. But before you jump into designing, you need to take a step back and think about your organization, your learners, and the context of your courses. This can help you make better decisions about the features of your course that make the most sense for your audience.

Know Your Audience

Before you jump into designing your online course, you need to know your audience. This means understanding your learners, their experiences with your organization, and the context of their courses.

  • Who are your learners?
  • What are their backgrounds?
  • What are their expectations for the course?

This will help you understand their needs and expectations for the course.

  • Where do they work?
  • Where do they live?
  • What other commitments do they have?
  • What are their strengths and weaknesses?

This will help you understand their needs and make your course more relevant to their needs.

  • What are their expectations from your organization?
  • What do they expect from your organization?

Use gamification to make your courses more engaging

Gone are the days when you had to rely on boring textbooks to teach students. Today, online course design is more engaging than ever, with tools like gamification that keep learners interested and engaged. Gamification is the use of game design elements like leaderboards, point systems, and rewards to boost engagement and attract learners to your course.

Gamification can be used in a variety of ways to engage learners:

  • Creating a system that awards points for completing activities or quizzes.
  • Using leaderboards to show how far along learners are in completing activities.
  • Creating a chat system where learners can talk to each other and ask questions.
  • Adding gamification elements to your assignments and activities.

Always keep asking learners questions in your courses

Asking learners question is an important part of building engagement in your course. Learner questions help to engage your learners by providing them with opportunities to solve problems, ask questions, and receive solutions from your instructors.

This creates a sense of responsibility for learners by making them think about the course materials and what they can do to help solve problems. While you can ask questions in your slides and in your assignments, the best way to build the habit of asking questions is to do so during discussions or activities in your course.

Use video in your courses

If you’re looking to boost engagement in your online course, you can’t go wrong with adding videos. A good online course design includes some combination of quizzes, assessments, videos, and activities to promote engagement. Video is an especially effective way to boost engagement in online courses because it allows learners to interact and receive solutions from instructors in a more hands-on way.

Be flexible with your learners

When designing your course, remember that your learners might not all be in the same place at the same time. This means your learners might be spread across different platforms and at different points in their learning. This requires a bit of flexibility in your course design if you want your learners to feel engaged, regardless of where they are learning from.


As you can see, there are a lot of factors you can use to make your online course more engaging. And while engagement is important, it shouldn’t be the only goal when designing your course. You want to promote learning as well. Engaging your learners is one thing, but if you don’t promote learning, you’re just creating a mess. So start thinking about how you can design your course to promote learning, engagement, and effectiveness.

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