How to Teach Online from Home: 11 Strategies, Tips & Tricks for Teachers (2021)

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Ishwar Sundararaman . 04 Oct 21

Founder @ Unsolved. The Bite Sized Learning Platform. IIMB, Serial Entrepreneur

In this blog, you will learn the complete strategy on how to convert your expertise into a course, which you can teach online from home, using equipment and tools that are cheap & even free.

This post will set you up nicely with enough tips and tricks to create a course and build an income by teaching students from anywhere around the globe.

And don't worry if you are not a "techy" person, the strategy and tips we share below don't need that.

Here is what we will cover in this post

1. Why teaching online is so great

2. What kind of courses can you teach online

3. How exhaustive does your online course have to be

4. Should you record your course or teach it online live

5. Should I add students to a community

6. Should I teach on a platform or get my own website

7. How to price the online course you are teaching

8. How to create a Title for your Course

9. Strategy to market your online course 

10. You got enrollments for your online course, what next?

11. List of the most popular teaching platforms

Bonus: List of Tools you need to teach online

Why teaching online is so great

Online teaching is a great way to make money from home. The best part is you can work from anywhere in the world. If you have a computer, an internet connection, and know even one topic really well, you can be a teacher. 

What kind of courses can you teach online

You can teach absolutely anything online. There are students looking for content on every topic under the sun. All you have to do is structure your content so they can learn it.

The only course that is hard to teach online is where students need special equipment or hardware to learn, and if it's too expensive for them to purchase by themselves.  

How exhaustive does your online course have to be

Most teachers get this wrong,  they think their course has to be 100% complete & comprehensive. This is not true.

Students are learning to achieve an objective, and the faster you help them reach that goal, the happier they will be.

For example, most people who take courses are only beginners, if you teach them the basics of what they need to know, in an easy style, they are happy.

Another good strategy is to split your big course into several micro-courses. Each one with a few related lessons that help the student achieve a clear end objective in a short time frame.

Test each micro-course at a smaller price point. If it's a success, you can add more lessons to the micro-course and increase the price.

Micro-courses are a great way to get students, engage them, and then get them to pay you

Should you record your course or teach it live online

I have used both methods of delivering a course and have found that recording a course and answering Q&A live is the best combination. This allows the student to have a recording of the course to refer back to, as well as giving them the ability to being able to ask questions live.

It also forces them to complete the recording before the Q&A session to get the most from the live session. Introducing urgency in completion is a key tactic that online course teachers must use to cause the end objective of learning.

You can also use live sessions to enable students to work together in groups. Peer sessions enable them to network and  share ideas with others that have taken the same course.

The downside to live sessions is that they need you to be able to speak clearly and also have a good level of communication. But like most things, you get better at it with practice.

It's also possible to always set up a live session and then upload the recording for students to watch later.

Should I add students to a community

Students learn best in a small community, so adding students to a private community to interact with each other and you is a great way to increase the quality and decrease the time it takes for them to learn.

Peer interaction also increases engagement, accountability and reduces the stress on the teacher to answer all the questions. 

While most platforms either focus on course or communities, having both in the same platform can really help make it easier for you the teacher

Should I teach on a platform or get my own website?

You can choose to teach on a platform or get your own website or even do both together. Both have their benefits.

I recommend finding the approach that suits your strengths

Here are the pros and cons of teaching your online course on a Platform vs your own Website. 

Platform Pros

1: You can get started at a Low cost and even Free using a platform. 

2: No headache of building the technology to host courses, handle sales and cause engagement 

3: If the platform is a marketplace, you get access to their existing user base in addition to your own. If you are doing well, the platform will want to help you sell more 

Platform Cons

1: Platforms take a share of the revenue, for the technology they have created.

2:  Your student data is often available to them and they can use it to cross-sell other courses on their platform. 

3: If the platform is a marketplace, you are sometimes just one other course on the shelf and as a new creator it's hard to feature high  without reviews, especially when there are other creators who already have better reviews

Own Website Pros

1: Build your own brand. Think of it If you are successful you can sell courses directly from your own site or use it as a platform to sell courses to other sites.

2: You keep all the revenue, no middleman to take a share

Own Website Cons

1: You have to know how to market your website. Just building it won't help.

2: You also need to understand and sometimes build the technology that powers your website

There are some platforms like Unsolved that allow you to do the best of both. You start on a platform for free and can upgrade to your own if things are working out

How to price the online course you are teaching

Pricing is hard. Sometimes you feel you are leaving money on the table. Sometimes it feels like you are never going to make a living from teaching online. Yet there are quite a few who have really managed to take their sales to seven figures

The biggest mistake most teachers make is thinking there should be just one price for a course. That's when you are not sure if you have to price low or high.

Why not follow this Decreasing discount strategy instead. Give away a few free seats as student scholarships, then set a price for the first 10 seats, increase it for the next 10 seats and finally much higher. This will help you understand how much people are willing to pay

Another strategy is to split your courses into a Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 program. Level 1 teaches you the basics. Level 2 is for those who want to learn more. Level 3 is for those who want to be experts.

How to create a Title for your Course

In the book 'Sell More now' by Darren Hardy. He recommends starting with a headline that is very simple and answers these 3 questions.

"Who is this course for?"

"What will you get as a part of this course?"

"How will this course change your life"

For example: "The Ultimate 7 step guide to becoming a Social Media Expert in 2021"

Strategy to market your online course 

Your strategy on a platform will depend on keyword research, competitive analysis and positioning your course as different to what your competitors are offering.

Free Video Webinar

A great strategy is to offer a free video master class to attract people to opt in. Then once they opt in you can offer them a short and low priced 5-7 day introductory sessions. And at the end, get them to upgrade to a higher priced more expensive program.

Build a Free Community 

This strategy helps you acquire a continuous stream of free community members interested in the domain, that you then market to for free as they are now your audience 

Step 1: Create a Landing Page for Your Online Course

Step 2: Create a Community for Your Online Course

Step 3: Use Social posts & ads to Promote Your Free to Join Community

Step 4: Introduce periodic courses in the community

Don't call it a Course 

Courses are boring. If you really want to excite people, give it an exciting title.

Why not position the learning you provide like a game. But note, that just a name change is insufficient. You need to go ahead and build the program to suit that name

Here are some name options

1. Challenges -  Have the participants of the challenge complete daily tasks in a bid to achieve a larger goal. The challenge could be to go from 0-1000 community members for example

2. Races - Have the participants join a Race to achieve a goal. The goal could be  a certain number of new members, or the participants could simply compete to see who has the highest percentage of referrals.

3. Quests - Have the participants go on a seemingly impossible quest to gain new knowledge, win more customers etc.

4. Missions - Have the participants go on a mission impossible. Like "Mission Impossible - Get funded in 3 months"

5. Competitions -  Have the participants compete against each other. The winner gets a prize.

6. Bets -  Invite some of the participants to place a bet. You are betting that you are going to win the competition.

7. Faceoff -  You have two teams with a specific goal or time limit. The winners get a prize, which could be a prize like cash or some other kind of reward.

8. Quizzes -  Have the participants take a quiz on a specific topic. The winner gets a prize.

You ideally need a platform that helps with community, gamification and courses like Unsolved

You got enrollments for your online course, what next?

Once you have enrolled students for your course, it is time to get to work. The next step is to set up your course in the best way possible. You want to make sure that your content is accessible and easy to follow. 

You also want to make sure that you are using the right tools to monitor your students' progress and engagement in the course. 

Most importantly, you want to set up a way for your students to get help and support. Adding them to a community is a great step on that front  

Use gamification techniques to keep your students engaged. The goal is to get them to master all the material in your course. Some examples of gamification in teaching include

1: Earning Reputation Points

2: Getting Certified by the Course Creators

3: Completing Quizzes 

4: Relative Ranking between Students

5. Streaks or Consecutive Days of Completion

6: Quizzes with Increasingly More Difficult Questions

7: Becoming a leader in the community

8: Building a Case Study for the next batch 

11. List of the most popular teaching platforms

2: Udemy

6: Edmodo

8: Kajabi

Bonus List of Tools you need to teach online

1: Webcam

2: Collar Microphone

3: Laptop / Mobile

4: Internet connection

5. PowerPoint presentation/Word document/PDF file

6. Screen capture software like Loom

7. Ring Light

Summary: Now that you have the complete strategy on how to teach online from home, the big question to ask is

Which platform helps you bring together your courses, gamification and community all in one place, so your students and you can have fun while learning...

Remember to keep it simple. There is no need to have too many platforms for your courses. In fact, that can make it confusing for your students. 

If you found this post helped and want to check out our Gamified Learning Communities Platform - head over to Unsolved and grab a free demo

You can follow me on Twitter @ishwars.