Teach Online: How to Create Engaging and Entertaining Course Content

When it comes to creating an online course it's often difficult to find a starting point. We have all this great knowledge and expertise sitting up in our heads and now we must translate that into something that resembles a course.

That thought in itself is enough to put most people off the idea of online course creation. But if you follow these simple tips you'll be throwing your hat into the elearning arena in no time.


The first thing to look at is how you are going to present the information. Some of the best and most enjoyable courses I've undertaken have followed a very simple formula. Base your course and each lesson within it around this basic layout -

Opening - tell them what you're going to tell them

Middle - present 3 or 4 main points or takeaways

End - tell them what you told them

If you're planning on shooting a video and having trouble remembering what you want to say then follow this great tip from Alexa Fischer -

Put each point into a thought bubble then just go from thought bubble to thought bubble. Know what you want to say about each point and practice it.

We're not saying you should script your material, this can make you sound disconnected. Prepare your main points and practice fleshing them out as you go.

Keep the Language Simple

Another important point to consider is that all your students may not be native speakers of your language.

For example, I'm a native English speaker so all my courses are presented in English. However, I must always consider that people from all over the world are taking my courses, and not all of them speak English.

Don't complicate things by using big, confusing words. In fact a teacher who can take a complex subject and present it in an easy to understand way is a master of the craft.

In order to connect and relate with the broadest audience possible keep your wording to simple and easy to understand words and phrases.

Avoid Using Jargon and Slang

This is another trap that should be avoided at all costs.

Using jargon and slang expressions can leave your students totally confused. Local sayings can take on totally different meanings, regardless of the student's comprehension levels.

I've had the opportunity to travel the world and see the puzzled looks on people's faces when I use an Australian slang expression. Just because you understand an expression don't automatically assume that everyone else does.

Relate to Your Students on a Personal Level

Facts tell and stories sell. Stories are also a great way to paint a picture and illustrate a point in a real life situation.

Your students may not appreciate the importance of a key point or may not believe something relates to them until it is re-framed in a story.

It's true that people don't usually like to admit to having a problem but can relate when you tell a story about when you were in a situation that represents that problem.

Sound Like You're Passionate About Your Content

The fastest way to lose your audience is to drone on in a monotone, displaying no interest in the material you're presenting.

If you want your students to be engaged you need to be engaging. Here are a couple of tips -

Smile when you talk, even if you're recording a voice over for the slide presentation. When you smile your whole tone changes and people can pick up on it even if they can't see you.

Keep your energy levels up. Ever record something only to feel that it sounds a bit 'flat' once you play it back?

Regardless of whether you're appearing on video or recording your voice you have to exaggerate your energy levels. It may feel uncomfortable and you may feel your energy and enthusiasm is over the top. Fear not, a lot of energy is lost to the recording so you end up looking and sounding full of enthusiasm in the finished product.

Resources and sites mentioned in this episode

Pick up your copy of the Periscope for Online Instructors & Coaches course here.

Enter here for your chance to win a copy of Seth Godin's book “Marketer's Tell Stories”

Alexa Fischer Interview - The Art of Effective Communication

If you have a question about any aspect of online course delivery, from concept to market, please feel free to send me an email at AskTim@EcourseDomination.com. I'd love to hear from you and your question would very well feature in a future podcast.

I want to deliver relevant material so keep those emails rolling in.

If you enjoyed this episode please like, share and comment below. Help get the news in the streets. If you could take a moment to pop over to iTunes and leave an honest rating and review I would truly appreciate it.

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