Coming up with an online course idea is often not easy. On the one hand, a subject should be wide enough to attract enough students. On the other hand, you want to prevent the training from being extended. On this page, you will find more information about finding good course ideas. It helps you a lot when you haven’t found a good theme at the moment! The next step is to test or validate an online course idea. This often turns out to be more difficult than people think beforehand. How do you test your online course idea? When are you doing this, and how do you provide sufficient feedback while validating your course?
In this article, we zoom in on possibilities to test an online course idea. Validating ideas have different goals. Think, for example:
- Is there sufficient demand for my online course?
- Do the discussed topics fit in well with my idea?
- Does the online course have enough content?
Determining the demand for an online course
There are several ways to check the demand for an online course. For example, you can look at the number of participants in similar courses on almost the same topic. Look not only at the courses on online platforms, but also the number of views of videos on this topic on YouTube. It indicates the extent to which a specific topic plays.
A pilot for validation of an online course idea
An often more accurate alternative to the above method is to organize a pilot. A pilot is a shortened version of your final online course. This pilot is offered at a significantly reduced rate and helps you get feedback from your target group. The number of pilots taken says something about the size of the group with interested students. Is the group big enough to further develop your pilot into a complete online course? Would you be wise to adjust the subject of your online course to reach a wider audience?
Tips for starting a pilot
Starting a pilot may seem very easy. However, it is not in practice! There are several factors to take into account. Below we have listed some useful tips for you:
- Make sure that the target group of your final online course participates in the pilot specifically. You also want to address them later!
- Agree when you want feedback on the pilot. This way, you can plan when you start working on the final version of your course.
- Avoid making all the information readily available during the pilot. This makes it less interesting for participants to take the final online course.
In some cases, one decides to offer a full course during the pilot. This is a trade-off that you have to make in advance. Please note that when determining the price for participating in a pilot.
Feedback on the layout of your course
After you have found an online course idea, you will come up with relevant topics. In this way, an online course gets more and more structure. You want to make sure you don’t add too many subjects to your course. Conversely, the number of subjects should not be too limited either. A pilot helps you get an answer to such questions. Students can tell you more about topics that are still missing or irrelevant to them. It helps you to test the structure of an online course with the wishes of a student.
Tip: allow the participants in the pilot of an online course to offer their ideas. This can give you inspiration for your final version of the course. Try to find out why students may find certain topics in your course irrelevant.
Validate the content of your course
The final step in testing your online course idea is to validate the content. This logically fits in with testing the different subjects. A subject must have enough depth to add something to a student’s knowledge. On the other hand, you want to prevent an online course from getting too deep too quickly. Students may drop out on the go or get many questions about certain topics. Because you already know as an organizer, it is difficult to determine whether the content of a course has sufficient depth.
Customize your course idea based on feedback
Did the pilot succeed? In that case, it is essential to process the feedback in your final online course. Take plenty of time for this and ask pilot participants to give feedback a second time. When you offer the online course, you want to be sure that it is fully optimized. It may also be interesting to ask participants in the pilot to leave a review immediately. It gives you a good start when the final online course comes online!
Continue or stop an online course idea
Has the pilot revealed several points of feedback? In that case, it may be worth considering stopping the online course idea. Where you thought that the need for a course on a specific subject was great, this may seem to be disappointing during the pilot. The time you put into optimizing the online course does not outweigh the final yield of this.
Tip: in the article about coming up with good online course ideas was talked about the SCAMPER method. Part of this is the merging of information from courses. You may be able to use elements from your first pilot to arrive at a new course!
Quitting an online course idea doesn’t mean that all the trouble has been for nothing, especially when you reuse pieces from the course in a new idea. The feedback helps you organize a different course and to take even more account of students’ needs. Compare it to developing a product idea! Even with products, the first version is often not the best.
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