If you've needed a creative or crafty how-to in recent times, you've probably gone looking for help in an online course or tutorial.
This past summer, my youngest son crocheted Yoda using a free Youtube video. I was glued to a class on surface pattern design at CreativeLive. My oldest son learned to program Java with Lynda.com.
Online courses are projected to be a $107 billion market in 2015 (Forbes): TJ McCue writes, “Sure, you can hunt around on YouTube for free tutorials and there are some good ones, but I think the niche sites and well-organized, curated platforms are going to change how we learn.”
e-Courses are now trusted and sought out
Over the last seven years, I've taught thousands of writers, scrapbookers, and visual storytellers in my online classroom at GetItScrapped.com. Not only do I teach to a community of long-time members, I also hear from more and more people who want to try an online class–for the first time!
The internet has become a trusted and valuable resource for learning creative skills. Joining and learning with online classroom communities has become normal, accepted, and even desirable. ELearning offers ease, speed, and opportunities for connecting with experts on a wide variety of topics.
Creative entrepreneurs can teach online courses to create new businesses and grow existing ones
E-courses offer opportunities for artists, makers, coaches and creative entrepreneurs to extend existing businesses or start new ones. Supplement your ScoutMob jewelry store with a class on metalsmithing. Complement a graphic design business with a class for those who want to learn to make logos. Add an online component to your work as a picture book illustrator by teaching illustration. Share your aromatheraphy skills and make money.
Does this mean that if you're a creative, you should jump on this opportunity to teach e-courses today? Only if you understand that the popularity of online creative classes isn't a secret.
More creatives than ever are opening the doors to their virtual classrooms, posting password-protected Youtube videos, and setting up private Facebook groups. Keeping the doors to an online classroom open for a second, third, and fourth cycle of a class requires: 1) a buying audience, 2) content that teaches creative skills effectively, and 3) the setup of an easy-to-access and secure virtual classroom.
- Audience. Without an viable audience , you won't sell seats in your online class. Before you write your first lesson, figure out exactly who you can teach, what they want to learn, and whether that topic is congruent with your passions and current brand.What's more, choose a topic that YOU are especially well suited to teaching. What can you offer that others do not–and does that fill a need for a viable audience?
- Content. Teaching creative and life-enriching skills is different from teaching more concrete, rule-based topics. It requires revealing and desconstructing the creative mind so that your students come away inspired and capable. It requires offering lessons delivered in a multiple formats.A combination of written, video, and live events will serve those with different learning styles and let you teach in a way that reveals the creative mind.
- Delivery. Your delivery mechanism can be as simple as password protected blog posts and a private Facebook group. Today, though, offering a complete classroom experience is easier than ever with Worpress membership plugins. Combine a gated classroom with a forum for building community and you've got a room for teaching.