How to Create A Good Online Course and Educate Supporters on Your Cause

Online course of study
Online course of study

As a social entrepreneur, one of your jobs is communicating your social enterprise’s goals to your target audience. This audience may be your customers, your partners, your collaborators, your vendors, or your students.

Any social enterprise will need to educate their audience in some way. Some examples:

  • If you’re selling a zero waste biodigester, you’ll need to educate your potential customers on why zero waste is important, what are the benefits of using a biodigester, what are the things it can and cannot do. It is important to set their expectations, as your solution solves one problem in a good way, but it is not a silver bullet and may not solve all of the world’s other problems.
  • If you’re advocating for reusable bags (and perhaps selling them too), you need to educate your users on why plastic bags are generally bad for the environment, that reusable bags are good for the environment, and how to clean reusable bags properly. Don’t let them get excited at first, but leave them with a harmful habit of reusing dirty bags that may make them ill. The cure shoudn’t be worse than the disease.
  • If you’re asking volunteers to teach children at orphanages, you’ll to first teach them how to teach kids properly. Understand their expectations on orphanage kids’ behavior. Show them what to do and what to avoid. So when they’re finally interacting with the kids, they are ready.

As you can imagine, educating your audience and supporters is a key part of any social impact campaign. But doing it in a traditional way will cost you a lot of time and effort, and may not even give you the results that you want.

To educate your supporters, a good and cost-effective way is to create an online course about your social enterprise’s cause. Here I’ll show you how to create and run a good online course. Here’s a summary:

  1. Define the problem
  2. Smoke test
  3. Pick the perfect course topic
  4. Ensure your course idea has high market demand
  5. Create magnetic and compelling learning outcomes
  6. Outline your course
    • Select and gather your course content
    • Structure your modules and course plan
    • Determine the most engaging and effective delivery methods for each lesson
  7. Filming, recording, and editing your online course
  8. Setting up your online school
  9. Getting the perfect pricing model
  10. Launch and ongoing marketing
    • First class of students
  11. Validate, reiterate, and validate again

Outline Your Course

Write The General Course Structure

After you decided your online course’s topic, but before you write the actual content, you need to write your course structure. A course has an expected completion timeline, it can range from 4 weeks to 14 weeks. If you are new, I recommend to start with a 4-week course, with each week covering one major theme. One week may contain between 2 to 5 bite-sized topics.

Generally, the course structure for one week goes like this:

  • Week 1: Getting Started
    • Topic 1: Welcome
      • [Video] Introduction
      • [Reading] Explanation
      • [Quiz] Short question
      • [Poll] Introductory poll
    • Topic 2: Another topic
      • [Video] Introduction
      • [Reading] Explanation
      • [Video] Another video
      • [Reading] Another explanation
      • [Quiz] Practice quiz
    • Topic 3: Another topic
      • [Video] Introduction
      • [Reading] Explanation
      • [Video] Another video
      • [Reading] Another explanation
      • [Quiz] Practice quiz
    • Module 1 Quiz
      • [Quiz] Summative quiz

A lot of people get stuck on this step for a long time. So don’t overthink it. I suggest you make the rough draft for all weeks first, then refine each week based on topics, then refine each topic’s activities.

At this stage, don’t think too much about the final form. Treat your outline as a “living document” that you can tweak at any time.

After you’ve outlined the topics and activities for all weeks, consider the learning outcomes that the course participants will achieve. Do the activities you’ve designed help the participants towards the outcomes? Perhaps there are games or interactive quizzes that will make your participants learn faster and in a more exciting way.

Design Your Course Teaching Plan

I strongly recommend you to design a structured teaching plan for your course. Although this is not strictly necessary, but it makes it easier for you to deliver and evaluate your course in a systematic way.

A course teaching plan starts with an overview of all the outcomes of your social enterprise education programs. Then it details how this particular course will fulfill some of the outcomes. Then for each week, you detail the topics and activities, and how to assess

Tips to Make Teaching Effective: Use PAKEM Approach

I recommend you to consider using PAKEM approach in teaching (Suparlan et. al. 2009, Chamisah 2012). In summary, you should strive to realize the following:

  1. Students are involved in many activities to develop their ability and these emphases on learning by doing.
  2. Teachers use various media assistance and methods, including using environment as source of learning.
  3. Teachers arrange the class with books and materials of learning, more drawing and provide reading corner in the (virtual) class.
  4. Teachers apply approaches co-operatively and interactively, such as group work, and partnership method.
  5. Teachers support students to find out their own way in resolving problems, to express ideas, and implicate students in creating their school environment.