Online courses are addressed to a variety of students with different levels of knowledge in a certain field. As an instructor wanting to sell your expertise, you need to be aware of the types of learners you create your course for.
Firstly, as an e-learning provider, you have to consider both those who are novices in your domain and those who want to brush on up their potential. Secondly, you should picture what content you need to deliver to have the outcomes you envision.
But how do you create the right content for your learners? How do you manage to organize it in such a way to facilitate understanding regardless of their variable background knowledge?
These are questions that appear especially when your target learners are beginners. Your content needs to address every level of understanding to ensure everyone has a successful journey throughout your course.
If you don't know where to start and how to approach this issue, check the following guidelines to successfully create a course for beginners.
Think like a novice
"Every artist was first an amateur", Ralph Waldo Emerson said. Remember, you once were a novice yourself, and learning takes time. Although you've come a long way and reached a high level of confidence in your expertise, that doesn't mean the people who buy your course need to know everything you can teach them.
Think about how beginners learn and what information is crucial for their learning process and try to see your course from their perspective and organize it for them.
Starting to learn a new subject can be discouraging for some, especially if the language you use is not accessible. A course full of complex and sophisticated terms will become overwhelming for a beginner and it will have a counter effect. Learners need clear, easy to understand information, which keeps them engaged throughout the entire course.
Moreover, beginners need a clear structure of the content, resources, and assignments you provide. Choosing the right platform to sell your course, which has an intuitive design, facilitates delivery and helps learners navigate through its content at their own pace without the risk of dropping out.
Segment the course content
People need content that is easy to navigate through and manage in terms of setting personal time for learning. Divide your course into coherent chunks that interconnect, providing at the same time a smooth transition between them.
These segments allow learners to focus on smaller pieces of content at once and assimilate new knowledge easier. Also, delivering your content into comprehensible sections will facilitate acquisition and offer the right condition for granularity, which refers to those details you can provide to create a clear and cohesive course.
By doing this, students will receive the basic outline of the course and the extra information that helps them navigate through it towards a successful outcome.
Variate your resources
People learn differently. As an instructor, consider offering a variety of resources to meet learners’ needs in their diversity. Include text, image, animation, instructional videos, presentations, printables. Give them the possibility to choose the right content format for their learning needs.
Also, make sure your content isn't merely theoretical. Learners need to see the applicability of what you teach in anticipation of the possibilities for personal development that your course provides. Include case studies, examples, and offer practice opportunities.
Give your learners a chance to dig deeper into the subject you teach by adding resources like external links, a glossary of terms, and further reading bibliography. These will create fluency throughout your entire course and will bridge the content of separate modules.
Set clear guidelines
With the knowledge you have available for the people who’ll take on your course, you need to set specific guidelines. In this way, your content has a logical structure, and learners will know what to expect and how to organize their time for learning.
Set assignments and deadlines to make them responsible for their learning and offer chances for continuous reinforcement. Let your learners know they will be assessed at the end of each module/course to increase their motivation and create a sense of purpose and urgency.
Provide constant feedback
Learners assimilate information when they receive feedback. Without it, they cannot self-regulate their learning process and may fail to continue until the end of the course.
Offering feedback has never been easier. An LMS platform provides a variety of tools and ways to provide timely feedback, generating a more efficient way of learning. With the use of technology, this feedback can take the form of text, audio, or video.
Moreover, if you manage to create a sense of community between your learners by leveraging chats, forums, and events, they will provide each other with additional feedback and support throughout the course.
All in all
Creating a course for beginners is a challenge in itself. You may consider it an easy task, but once you have gained considerable experience in a field, it’s hard to remember how novices think and how they approach learning.
Try to pace your course and provide essential information as the core content with a chance to access extra resources for a deeper understanding of the subject. Include an intuitive layout, simple language, and clear guidelines to facilitate understanding and motivate your learners.
Be present and give timely feedback to guide your learners throughout your course. Remember that courses offer the background for interaction and collaboration, so leveraging the power a community of learners has, will decrease the amount of time you have to spend giving feedback and support.
And enjoy the feeling of planting the seed of knowledge in others and watching it grow throughout the course!