The online learning market is projected to exceed $243 billion dollars within the next 2 years, according to Statista. This explains why an alarming number of people writing content in 2020 will focus on creating courses and training material. If you are interested in giving it a shot, this guide will provide you with a brief overview of how to get started.
Identify the Problem, Create a Simplified Solution
To write courses, training material and other educational content trends in 2020, you must first identify the problems or needs of your potential students. What skills must they acquire? What questions must they answer? What are the problems for which they need solutions?
Think about a standard course, instructional lesson or training manual that you have used in the past as a student. In most cases, the learning objectives are outlined at the very beginning, right? Those are placed there to help the student understand exactly what he or she will get from the course upon completion. Once you identify the problem and map out a proper solution, then you can create the learning objectives that will essentially serve as the outline and blueprint of your course.
Focus on the Quality of the Core Content
High-quality content is the core element of any successful course or training module. You may try to explore a variety of content trends for 2020, but that primary principle will always apply. Therefore, as you work to create the content for your online courses and modules, keep in mind that quality should never be compromised.
- Continue to place a high priority on the editing phase of your content creation. You may need to revise or even rewrite a lot of it. However, it is still much better for you to catch that before your students do.
- Stay up-to-date with your research. Check the validity and relevance of your source material.
- Appreciate the “less is more” principle. The beauty of online learning is that there are no specific length or duration requirements. Pay more attention to the quality of learning experience than to the quantity of hours consumed by it.
Create and Maintain an Avenue of Explanation
Regardless of the nature of your lesson or the topic(s) covered, there will always be a need for further explanation. For instance, you may strive to limit your use of technical jargon – especially if your target audience has limited knowledge or experience of your topic. However, they will still need to know those details to supplement the core lessons taught within your courses.
Within a traditional classroom setting, this “avenue of explanation” may come in the form of a Q&A session with the instructor or after-class tutoring. In a textbook, the same “avenue” is used when creating footnotes, endnotes, appendices and glossaries. You must find creative ways to make sure that the same “avenue” is accessible within your online courses and training materials as well.
Leave Room for Application
According to the American Physiological Society (APS), the average student’s attention level drops after the first 10-15 minutes of any lecture. You should apply the same principle when creating content in 2020 for courses and training materials. When creating a regular blog or article, it may be easy to ramble off 10-15 minutes worth of readable content. You must remember that the rules are slightly different within an instructional setting, though.
The best solution is to focus on application in addition to the information. Once you have covered a specific point or pertinent detail, make sure that you leave room for application and understanding. For instance, you can:
- Ask an open-ended question and allow the student time to answer it based on the material covered.
- Create an exercise or activity that the student must complete using the knowledge that they acquired within the same lesson.
- Add a relevant image and use probing questions to encourage the student to explain how it applies to the lesson.
- Add pop quizzes and unit tests throughout the program to assess understanding
Leaving plenty of room for application will help you to keep your students informed, engaged and even entertained. This will make it much easier for you to keep their attention and add value to the overall learning experience.
Explore the Various Types of Content Available
In addition to avoiding the “lecture” trap, you need to diversify the types of content that you create within your courses and training material. Keep in mind that there is a plethora of options available. From slideshow presentations and infographics to online tutorials and instructional videos, there is a seemingly endless list of paths you can take to accommodate your student’s needs. It is very easy to approach your course content with a “cookie cutter” mentality – especially if it worked successfully in the past.
Like a skilled pitcher in a baseball game, you need to become skilled at switching up whatever you throw at your students. Do your research and focus on the content options that work best with your target audience. It is also recommended to examine the timeline associated with your instruction to find the most suitable delivery option available. It is easy to fall into the trap of making everything “fun”, but the last thing you want to do is compromise the education by overdoing the entertainment.
Schedule a Stream of Consistent Content
A valuable lesson in the art of creating courses and training materials is that of consistency. Picture a traditional classroom setting for a moment. Let’s say that Day 1 is packed with engaging and informative lessons that give you a lot to consider and study after class. However, Day 2 pales in comparison (if there is even a class available at all.) How would you feel about the overall value of that course?
You do not want to create that scenario for your students. Creating one great lesson is a wonderful step, but that is all it is: a step! You must schedule a stream of consistent, quality content that will keep your students coming back for more. Even after you complete one course, look for additional learning opportunities that will encourage your students to build on their recently acquired knowledge.