10 Types Of Online Courses
There are many types of online courses you can create. When you are looking at the topic you want to teach, one of the first things you need to consider is the basic structure and delivery. Will your course be long or short? Will it be live or pre-recorded? How engaged do you want to be with your students? All of these things will help you decide what type of online course you want to create.
Here is a list of 10 types of online courses you can create. This list is not exhausted, and some types might even overlap. But this should give you an idea of where to start when deciding the type of course you want for your students.
Lecture Series Course
A lecture series is a series of talks about the course topic. These can be live or pre-recorded. They can be video or audio only. They can be one person giving the talks, interview style, or a variety of experts in the course topic.
In a lecture series, the primary style of learning is going to be the student listening to the content. That does not mean you only include lectures. You can add more value by including a transcript of each lecture for your student to go back over.
This type of online course also lends itself well to collaborations. If you are not an expert in all the areas of the online course you want to teach, collaborating with experts in the niche will bring more credibility to your course.
A spotlight type of online course is all about shining a spotlight on a particular thing. It is also called a niche course. In this kind of course you are teaching one skill.
- How to set up Google Analytics.
- How to groom a poodle.
- How to change the old in your car.
If it starts with ‘How To’ and has a specific outcome, you are probably building a spotlight course. Now, there are courses that start with ‘How To’ that are not spotlight courses. These are usually broader topics like, ‘How To Lose Weight’ or ‘How To Plan For Retirement’. But when you are teaching something that can be accomplished in a shorter time period, it is probably a spotlight course.
A mini course is one of my favorite types of online courses. A mini course is just smaller and easier to consume. It is not filled with a lot of extra information. A mini course is usually around an hour long and teaches something quickly.
- How to bake is an example of a full course.
- How to bake amazing cakes would be a spotlight course.
- How to bake peanut butter cookies would be a mini course.
A mini course can be used to build a course library or for marketing purposes. A mini course is usually lower in cost and a great way to introduce your teaching style to new students.
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A drip course is a way to deliver your online course in a timed manner. This can be done with a spotlight course or a mini course. There are many reasons you may want to space the lessons you are teaching out. Maybe each lesson has homework that needs to be completed before moving on to the next lesson. Dripping that content out at a set interval is great for this type of teaching.
A good example of a drip course would be a course on learning to run a marathon. You could time this out so that each week, or even each month, the training structure would change as the student builds their skills. This would work well for a particular diet as well. You could send different recipes for your students to try each week depending on where they are on their diet journey.
Challenge courses are really popular. I am sure you have seen them out there. These can be a 5-day challenge, a 10-day challenge or even a 30-day challenge.
Challenges are usually big goals broken up into smaller bite – size pieces. They come with some sort of accountability, like a logbook, a check in with the person teaching the course, or even a live check in at a regular interval. Challenges are great for people that struggle with self-discipline and need small steps and accountability to get things done.
A challenge does not have to be a small course measured in days, it could be a longer course as well. An example would be taking your service business from $0 to $2000 a month in one year. A long challenge like this would be a higher price point and longer commitment, but you would still be guiding your students through a particular framework. This would definitely include homework and accountability.
The discipline needed for a course of this duration would need to be highlighted in your marketing. To get the results you promised in this course, they would need to follow the steps.
A live course nowadays does not necessarily mean in person. Many live classes can be held virtually on a platform like Zoom or Webinar Jam. There are even certain online course platforms built specifically for live learning, like Classtra.
One of the benefits of teaching live classes is the ability to take questions and get feedback from your students immediately. If you have a course that you know is going to come with a lot of questions and personalization, a live course may be a great fit for you. You will be able to help your students then and there and come away with a happy student.
This also means that your course material will be delivered. The only students that don’t finish the course are those that don’t show up. A live course can be a one – time event or a reoccurring event. If you teach cooking, you could have a separate live class in which you cook a different dish each time. This would give you the opportunity to sell each class as a separate event and students can pick which dishes they want to learn to cook.
A Course Workshop
A workshop course is similar to a live course. It is usually a live event, but also includes time for the students to work on the course objective in the class. This will not always, but usually include working with other students in teams and getting a bit of 1-on-1 time with you.
A workshop may also be longer than a standard live course class. It may consist of breaks and social time as well. The purpose of a workshop is for the student to leave with the end goal achieved. They walk out confidant that they learned what they wanted and know exactly how they achieved it. A day or even a half-day workshop can be an extremely effective teaching method.
A Course Bootcamp
A bootcamp is like a workshop on steroids. It is an experience in itself. A bootcamp will usually last more than one day. It is commonly held live in a particular location. The idea is intense training with no distractions while you live and breath the online course content. But a bootcamp can be virtual as well. A bootcamp is something you attend to make a big change in your life in some way.
Like a workshop, there will be Q&A, teamwork, classwork and personal instruction. The student will be submerged in the online course content and worked with until they learn it. This is a great option for a course like ‘How To Start An Online Business’ or ‘Create A Complete Marketing Strategy For Your Business’. This may even be great for a course on financial planning or learning how to be a yoga instructor.
A Course Mastermind
There are many people out there selling Masterminds. A mastermind is basically when you are in a small group of people working together to help each other. A course as a mastermind would work great for something like starting a new diet. In a mastermind, there is a lot of group thinking and support from the other students in your group. They will help you brainstorm your particular needs and come up with solutions.
In the case of a course, you will have materials like a workbook or even a video course that you are going through. You then have the advantage of being paired up with others going through the exact same thing. You will meet with your mastermind group regularly. The meeting times will vary depending on what everyone needs to accomplish. Weekly or monthly is the norm for a mastermind. Also, you want to make sure the groups are small, so everyone gets a chance to get help from the others.
There is also usually a structure to a mastermind group. You are not just dumped on a call with all these people to figure it out. There will be a time for everyone to speak and a special time to focus on helping everyone stay on track in the course.
Looking For A Little Extra Help?
There is a place where online course creators can go to get the help they need while working on their online course. We call it the Insider’s Community.
There are many types of online courses beyond the 10 I mentioned in this post. If you are struggling to figure out what kind of online course is best for you and your students, consider signing up for a 1 on 1 consulting call with me. We will talk through what your vision is for your course and what would be the best fit for you and your students.