Online Courses

How to Find an Online Course Idea

You are mulling over creating an online course. Perhaps you want to start making some passive income, or because you want to grow your own brand. Yet you stumble upon a huge first block: you can’t think of a course idea.

Good news is, you are at the right place. At Senseily, with our expertise in creating online courses, we can give you guidance for you to come up with your first profitable course idea. Read on to discover how!

Man writing ideas on a notebook

Brainstorm your area of passion

Although this sounds like common sense, you should pick a topic that you are most interested in and passionate about.

Many people pick an idea that they are not truly interested in and choose it simply because of its apparent profitability. This usually ends up with a dwindling motivation in the long run. Don’t make this mistake.

Let’s take a look and reflect your life experience up to now. Try to come up with 3-5 ideas for each of the following questions.

  • Is there any topic that you constantly talk about with others?
  • What are your proudest achievements?
  • What do you enjoy doing regularly?
  • What do you have the most expertise in?

Your potential course ideas should emerge from one or two overlapping answers from these questions above. Gather these ideas for the next step.

Find the market of your solution

Now that you have your own idea, you will have to think about how this idea can benefit your learners. If your idea is too niche and/or the skill you teach is not very practical, you might have a hard time selling your course. If the number of possible customers risks being dishearteningly low, you might want to switch to another idea.

You should find an idea that you can capitalize on. Don’t worry, it doesn’t mean that you have to compromise on your passion.

We suggest that you should do some preliminary research online to gauge the interest of your future customers. Go to online forums, Facebook groups and similar discussion boards where your audience is likely to visit and seek for advice.

  • What are their pain points? (e.g I want to learn creative writing skills and start working on my first novel.)
  • What is preventing them from achieving their goals? (e.g I have too many/few ideas. I don’t have the self-discipline or a clear guidance on how to proceed.)
  • What methods can they seek and attempt to solve that problem? (e.g I can look up writing prompts online and read novels of the same genre for inspiration.)
  • Why are those methods above not fully solving the issue yet? (e.g Too many materials of varied quality make me feel lost.)
  • What do they wish to see? (e.g I want to be guided by an experienced writer who went through the same route as me.)
  • What solution can your course provide them? (e.g The course will provide an outline on how to develop a prompt from scratch and provide one-on-one writing workshop sessions.)

Determine the impact of your idea

People want solutions to their itchy problems, and they want to see tangible results quickly. Everyone loves a compelling story of a transformation. Your job is to paint a picture of a clear, achievable goal within an X number of days/ weeks/ months. Having quantitative results to look forward to will have a positive impact on motivating people.

E.g Start your own fiction novel in 60 days

Solidify your idea

Once you have an idea of what your audience wants, you can narrow down the area that you want to teach. You might want to create a persona of your target audience. This can bring your audience to life and help you vividly imagine their profiles and characteristics.

By doing this, your idea for a course will become considerably more relevant to their needs. When the mission and objectives of your course speak directly to them, your potential customers will trust you and become more likely to subscribe to your course.

Identify the resources for your course

Before finally deciding to realize your idea, you need to consider practical logistics for your course. It’s better to have a short course fully mapped out and developed, rather than a course with a grandiose mission but poor and half-hearted execution.

Check with yourself if you are mentally ready to put in the work:

  • How extensive is the course content that you plan to develop?
  • Are you only offering the course in the form of passive materials (e.g recorded videos, self-guided worksheets, etc.)?
  • Or, are you also engaging with your learners (e.g interactive chat boards and one-on-one consultations)?
  • How much time and effort are you willing to put in in the pre-launch space?

Additionally, it is worth remembering that you need to think further down the line. This is about not only the course content that you develop once and reuse forever, but also the engagement needed to grow your course later on.

Once you finish building a plan and thinking through these steps, you are ready to be on the way of creating your first online course!

Not sure yet how to turn this idea into a real course? Check the “How to Launch Your First Course” guide that we made to help our creators.
Hà Lưu

Hà Lưu

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I'm a freelance content creator experienced in writing about education, blockchain technology, sustainable business, and Japanese arts and culture.

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