Build Your Online School

How to Start an Online School in 2022 + Infographic

Starting an online school or academy in 2022 can mark the beginning of an exciting journey. With online learning becoming more widespread due to the pandemic, online courses offer an easy and accessible way for everyone to learn a new skill and an opportunity to invest in knowledge.

Create a beautiful online school without any technical skills.

Step 1: Choose a Platform to Build Your Online Courses

With the plethora of online learning platforms and learning management systems (LMS) out there today, it’s easy to build your online school.

However, each one comes with its features, tools, and capabilities for building and promoting online courses, for learners’ enrollment and community management, and it’s essential to choose the LMS customized to your needs.

Using a state-of-the-art online learning management system like LearnWorlds will make your academy the must-go learning destination in your industry.

Step 2: Validate Your Online Course Idea

Developing an online course is time and resource-intensive. It would be best if you first validated your learning subject before setting out to create one.

To test whether your idea has potential, you must first condense it into a value proposition. You can make a list of questions that address your audience’s needs and traits for online education. The answers to these questions will help you refine your idea. Here’s a sample list of such questions:

Which pain(s) is the course supposed to solve?
Why would a learner pay for this course?
What outcome(s) can your learners expect when they complete this course?

During the validation process, you will most probably identify competitors with a similar course. Ensure your elevator pitch stands out from the competition by demonstrating how your online course differs from others.

Besides, it would help if you also made a forecast for a small budget to promote your online course through paid advertising. Also, run the numbers to know how much it will cost to develop and run a pilot program, the course itself, and the course revenue you need to make your desired profit.

Move on to analyzing the demand for creating new content compared to the content you already have for the specific course. You can search online for keywords and terms you think people will use to learn more about your course’s subject.

Dig deeper and talk to your target audience -either by emailing them a brief poll or through your online community- to identify challenges that your course can solve or skills that your learners want to excel in after participating in your online course.

You can also use lead magnets that address the same topics as the course you want to create to identify if there actually is a demand for the specific course subject. Suggest people download pieces of content from your website (e.g., checklists, reports, or ebooks) by providing their email address.

Another way you can validate your idea for an online course before investing time and money into designing and implementing it is to run a pilot program or a webinar. The pilot program/webinar will allow you to try out your idea on a group of learners (aka your online course’s beta testers). You can create just a couple of course sections of your online course with just enough content to deliver results to your beta testers.

Step 3: Find a Profitable Topic for your Online Course

Once you have your virtual school’s website up and running, it’s time to get some learning content on there.

All you need to come up with your own is to find a profitable idea for a course and then work on that idea to create e-learning content. Prefer to choose a subject that you are passionate and knowledgeable about or is relevant to your online business industry that your learners can follow easily via remote learning.

Creating the content on your first course’s subject requires setting your learning objectives and then building a course outline that helps guide the learning process.

Create an outline for our online course
To create a course outline, you will need to divide the course curriculum into main topics and sub-topics. Set the course sections apart by the level of difficulty, a specific pedagogical approach, or any other category you prefer.

It might help to brainstorm ideas on how to teach the subject, research the literature, search the web and look at what others in relevant topics are doing.
Choose your learning method
Decide on a learning method or a blended approach you want to follow and stick with it. This will define the type of content and activities and the format of your whole academy, since it’s not just about the course, but about the space that your teaching is taking place.

Remember that learning does not happen in a social vacuum, but rather in a social environment with multiple variables. Besides, this is what a successful online academy is all about.

Learning online and especially in an ecosystem that is part of your website has several interactions you can consider or leverage. This includes social activities, group study, or educators’ feedback through messages or email.

Upload your first online course
If you have already prepared training material on the subject – video, text documents, or blog posts, you are one step ahead as you can reuse your content into the course. However, if you are creating new content from scratch, our step-by-step guide on creating online courses can give you the best guidelines.

Once you have prepared your learning material, you can upload them on the LearnWorlds platform by following our quick instructions below:

Click on the “Create Course” button and go through the course creation process.

Depending on the kind of learning, training, or coaching you will be doing, you will probably use various learning activities. The most common learning activities on courses are ebooks, PDFs, video, and audio lessons. You can complement these with educational quizzes, exams, SCORM/HTML5 or certificates.

Adding the learning material
Putting all of this into practice means thinking about how you can use the learning materials and the tools you have in your inventory most engagingly. This should help to create an enhanced learning experience and increase the number of students.

Elearning & Interactive Videos
A video is a powerful tool for delivering online education. It is a vehicle of communication that increases student participation. When using the right video editing equipment and choosing its place carefully, a video can do wonders.

Insert a short 1-2 minute intro video to your course, and you will see the difference. With LearnWorlds, you can create interactive videos while adding interactive elements and activities – like captions, inside them. Try them out to avoid boring content and offer something unique!

Text Document & Ebook
The most commonly used medium for delivering education online and offline is the written word. While the video might be popular and considered high-value, many people prefer to read.

Text documents are much easier to produce. They allow more knowledge to be retained and are more familiar to us since childhood. They may take the form of educational leaflets, guides, reports, case studies, or any material you have used before in offline training.

PDF is the best format to use for your Word documents, or you can spice them up using the LearnWorlds’ Ebook Authoring Tool to create a web-friendly ebook.

With LearnWorlds interactive ebook, you help students mark up parts of the text, take notes, and highlight essential sections.

Regardless of what you choose to add, you can adjust the teaching environment and output to suit the course subject’s needs.

For example:

Is your teaching approach self-paced, and learners can access the learning materials in their own time? Excellent! You can drip your content to your learners week by week and guide them with pre-recorded videos, audio logs, and informational ebooks.
Are you offering to coach? Then, you can run a live webinar at your school.
Is there a certificate of completion or an examination? Awesome! Your students can also showcase their new knowledge.
What’s great about creating courses this way is that it gives you the ability to add any elements you want inside your course to make it as unique as it can be and centered around your students’ learning needs.

Step 4: Your School’s Branding and Website

Once you have your virtual school’s website up and running, it’s time to get some learning content on there.

All you need to come up with your own is to find a profitable idea for a course and then work on that idea to create e-learning content. Prefer to choose a subject that you are passionate and knowledgeable about or is relevant to your online business industry that your learners can follow easily via remote learning.

Creating the content on your first course’s subject requires setting your learning objectives and then building a course outline that helps guide the learning process.

Create an outline for our online course
To create a course outline, you will need to divide the course curriculum into main topics and sub-topics. Set the course sections apart by the level of difficulty, a specific pedagogical approach, or any other category you prefer.

It might help to brainstorm ideas on how to teach the subject, research the literature, search the web and look at what others in relevant topics are doing.
Choose your learning method
Decide on a learning method or a blended approach you want to follow and stick with it. This will define the type of content and activities and the format of your whole academy, since it’s not just about the course, but about the space that your teaching is taking place.

Remember that learning does not happen in a social vacuum, but rather in a social environment with multiple variables. Besides, this is what a successful online academy is all about.

Learning online and especially in an ecosystem that is part of your website has several interactions you can consider or leverage. This includes social activities, group study, or educators’ feedback through messages or email.

Upload your first online course
If you have already prepared training material on the subject – video, text documents, or blog posts, you are one step ahead as you can reuse your content into the course. However, if you are creating new content from scratch, our step-by-step guide on creating online courses can give you the best guidelines.

Once you have prepared your learning material, you can upload them on the LearnWorlds platform by following our quick instructions below:

Click on the “Create Course” button and go through the course creation process.

Depending on the kind of learning, training, or coaching you will be doing, you will probably use various learning activities. The most common learning activities on courses are ebooks, PDFs, video, and audio lessons. You can complement these with educational quizzes, exams, SCORM/HTML5 or certificates.

Adding the learning material
Putting all of this into practice means thinking about how you can use the learning materials and the tools you have in your inventory most engagingly. This should help to create an enhanced learning experience and increase the number of students.

Elearning & Interactive Videos
A video is a powerful tool for delivering online education. It is a vehicle of communication that increases student participation. When using the right video editing equipment and choosing its place carefully, a video can do wonders.

Insert a short 1-2 minute intro video to your course, and you will see the difference. With LearnWorlds, you can create interactive videos while adding interactive elements and activities – like captions, inside them. Try them out to avoid boring content and offer something unique!

Text Document & Ebook
The most commonly used medium for delivering education online and offline is the written word. While the video might be popular and considered high-value, many people prefer to read.

Text documents are much easier to produce. They allow more knowledge to be retained and are more familiar to us since childhood. They may take the form of educational leaflets, guides, reports, case studies, or any material you have used before in offline training.

PDF is the best format to use for your Word documents, or you can spice them up using the LearnWorlds’ Ebook Authoring Tool to create a web-friendly ebook.

With LearnWorlds interactive ebook, you help students mark up parts of the text, take notes, and highlight essential sections.

Regardless of what you choose to add, you can adjust the teaching environment and output to suit the course subject’s needs.

For example:

Is your teaching approach self-paced, and learners can access the learning materials in their own time? Excellent! You can drip your content to your learners week by week and guide them with pre-recorded videos, audio logs, and informational ebooks.
Are you offering to coach? Then, you can run a live webinar at your school.
Is there a certificate of completion or an examination? Awesome! Your students can also showcase their new knowledge.
What’s great about creating courses this way is that it gives you the ability to add any elements you want inside your course to make it as unique as it can be and centered around your students’ learning needs.

Step 5: The Tools You Will Need

Every business has an essential tool-set to help them manage different aspects of it, automate repetitive tasks, or improve productivity.

LearnWorlds comes equipped with many of these tools as built-in functionalities and connects with the top software tools to take care of the rest.

Some of those come as direct integrations or can be connected by using Zapier.

So, what are the essential tools for an e-learning business?

Email marketing software
Referral/affiliate marketing tool
Analytics software (see Step 4)
General Marketing & Sales tools (see Step 5)
Productivity apps, Zapier, and others
API & Includes

Email marketing software
Email is the king of marketing software for the web. Each business owner or marketer likes to use their favorite email marketing software to communicate with their students and sell online classes.

We have connected with the four most popular email marketing software: ActiveCampaign, AWeber, MailChimp, and ConvertKit to make your life easier.

If you are using any other email marketing tool, chances are it integrates with LearnWorlds through a Zapier integration.

Referral & Affiliate Tool
Referral management tools are usually quite expensive, and you need to test a few before you see what works for you. This is why we have created our own built-in affiliate management tool that works incredibly well for recruiting your students as affiliates to promote your courses.

Invite your students, influencers, and partners to join your online school and your affiliate program and grow your education business!

To start using Affiliate Management, you need to have a Pro trainer or a higher plan. Then, you log into your school, navigate to the “Marketing Tools” menu, and you click on the “Affiliate Management.”

Got to “Setup” and Switch to ‘On’ to enable the affiliate program:

Productivity apps, Zapier and others
Productivity apps are everything that makes your job easier. From a Hubspot CRM to an automation software like Zapier.

Anything that makes tedious tasks not an issue can help you manage your business more efficiently and save you the valuable time you would otherwise spend on activities that needed more attention.

LearnWorlds integrates with most productivity apps through direct integration or Zapier. This way, you can automate many of the tedious tasks, i.e., updating customer information in a CRM.

You can create LearnWorlds Zaps to automate an abundance of repetitive workflows. Learn more about LearnWorlds integrations powered by zapier in this article.

API, SSO & Custom code
An API can be used for more complex connections and custom work for businesses with in-house technical expertise. Whether you are looking to create a seamless transition between your website, automate tasks from an in-house software, or any other tasks that cannot be achieved with simple integration. Please take a look at our API documentation here.

The API is also an essential part of the Single-Sign-On (SSO) capability, which allows you to seamlessly transition from your website’s login process to an online academy without requiring the students to log in twice with different credentials. We have also built an easy-to-implement WordPress SSO plugin to make this even more comfortable!

Lastly, with our custom code editor, you can easily add custom code in different slots (slots are places where you can inject your custom code) of your HTML page and edit the already existing code generated. More specifically, you can add custom HTML, CSS, and Javascript.

You can use it for redirecting new users to your favorite youtube video, showing a popup to all users tagged as premium, wishing happy birthday to your students with an alert instead of a section, and much more. Read more about it from here.

Step 6: Connect the Analytics and Know Your Numbers

The course content is on the site, and everything is working as it should. What’s next?
Before you are ready to launch your academy and start receiving enrollments, you need to set up your analytics tools. This is a crucial step to take since such tools can help you assess your online academy’s overall business model performance in terms of website traffic and brand exposure.

Google Analytics
Google Analytics is an industry-leading tool that allows you to monitor web traffic and can be easily integrated with your virtual learning academy.
To connect Google Analytics with your school, follow these steps.

Facebook Pixel
Also, out of the many analytics and monitoring integrations you can get with LearnWorlds is Facebook Pixel, another powerful tool to use. With it, you can leverage the actions people take on your website across devices to create more effective Facebook advertising campaigns.
To connect Facebook Pixel with your school, follow these steps.

Mixpanel
This is the big boy player of analytics. Mixpanel allows for more advanced tracking and analysis of users.
If you are looking to track user interactions in more detail, our Mixpanel integration will solve everything for you!

Step 7: Sales & Marketing Features

HJust like with any business, your online academy needs to follow a marketing plan. Adopting a marketing strategy can help sell your online courses and gradually grow your students’ number.

These are the tools that help you sell your digital products such as online courses, online classes, and online training, create offers, manage promotions, and upsell to your customers. LearnWorlds comes with built-in marketing tools such as the following:

Bundles
Create a bundle of courses to upsell to your customers. Sell more courses in one quick swoop and offer a great offer to your customers by grouping similar courses together into one big bundle.

For example, if you have four courses worth $325 in total if bought individually, you can bundle them up and offer them at the price of $150 to entice people to buy them all at once. Here’s how you can create a course bundle:

First, go to Marketing Products and choose “Bundles”:
Click on ‘Create bundle,’ and then another window will open up to choose the courses you want to bundle up and their price.

Promotions / Coupons
Another way to increase interest in your courses is by offering promotional coupons with or without an expiry date. Coupons can be used for unique offerings, sharing with partners, or loyal customers as a gift.

They are also great for discount periods, sharing them by email or on coupon sites to attract first-time remote learning customers.

To create a promotion or coupon, go to ‘Marketing Tools,’ ‘Promotions (Coupons),’ and click on ‘Create Course/Bundle Promotion’.

Then, give your promotion a name, decide the discount for it, and select the courses for which the promotion will apply.

Create a coupon code by giving it a name, set the maximum number of times this coupon can be used, and choose an expiration date for it. And that’s it!

For more details on how to create and share promotional coupons, go through these steps.

Lead capturing
Lead captures are an excellent tool for getting people to opt-in to your email list. For it to work, you need to offer your school website visitors the option to join your email newsletter subscription.

Get them to complete an online form to opt-in and ask them to give you their contact details, e.g., their name and email address, through an online form.

As an extra incentive, you can also offer a free course, an ebook, a PDF document, or a checklist related to the subject of your course and get them more interested in it.

When you come to think about it, there are tons of online marketing ideas you can try out. In the end, it’s up to you which one(s) you prefer to use and works best with your target audience. The important thing is to make sure to have a clear description of your audience; you will not provide the same offers to a high school student and to a business professional, right?

Step 8: Most Important Settings of an Online Academy

Having your own online academy goes beyond building a website, a landing page, and customizing the email notifications. You will need tools & options that can give you absolute control, and you can find these listed in your LearnWorlds school admin menu.

Site settings: Sign in/up & Navigation
First of all, controlling the students’ experience is more than mere settings; it also defines who is allowed to log in to your school, in what cases you can block a user from signing up or enable social logins.

This is the Sign in/up screen. Be sure to check the settings there and customize it to work for your dream school!

This is even more important if you plan to allow only paid users through 1-click funnels or operate a private school for specific users you want to enroll.

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