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The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the growth of the online education industry. Several online platforms emerged, enabling teachers, instructors, and content creators to teach their skills on a wide range of subjects, and at the same time have an alternate source of income, or even earning a full time living from teaching online.
But what about pay when it comes to eLearning platforms? You might be wondering about this, and that’s precisely why you’re here. So, let us look at some of the best online education platforms where teachers can sell and offer their courses. We’ll also give you a few insights on the in-demand niches and how you can stand out as an instructor.
|Name||No. of Learners||Average Instructor Earnings|
|Coursera||100 million+||$66,020 per annum|
|Udemy||57 million+||$1,000 - $3 million lifetime earnings|
|Skillshare||38 million+||$1,600 per month|
|Udacity||14 million+||$78,665 - $251,000 per annum|
|EdX||46 million+||$58,768 per annum|
|UpGrad||2 million+||$13K - $26K per annum|
|Teachable||10 million+||$16 - $23 per hour|
|LearnWorlds||5 million+||$100 - $100K per annum|
|Thinkific||100 million+||$100 - $10K+ per month|
|Kajabi||60 million+||$40K per annum|
The above 10 platforms have varied structures for course creation and even payment to teachers. For instance, Udemy claims that the teachers get 97% of the revenue share. However, according to some forums, Coursera doesn’t directly pay teachers but pays the colleges/universities that host their courses online. In EdX’s case, the revenue sharing is quite complex. Thus, different platforms pay their instructors in different ways.
If you’re a course creator or teacher looking to earn a stable living by teaching online, you must remember a few things:
- Where do the payments go? Ensure that the money doesn’t go to the university you teach in but comes to you.
- How much will I earn? Try to calculate the actual revenue you will get, no matter how complex the pay structure is.
- Is the platform the right fit for me? Understand how good the platform is when marketing its courses and what types of courses are most popular on those platforms. For instance, if you want to teach photography, a platform like Skillshare might be more suitable than Coursera because the latter is more popular for data science, AI, and other such IT industry courses.
- How hard will it be? Finally, choose a platform that is easy to create and sell courses for. This way, you won’t have too much hassle curating a course and earning a living from the same.
More Teaching Platforms to Consider
- LinkedIn Learning: teach others to grow their skills and advance their careers with LinkedIn Learning.
- Alison: teach new skills, award diplomas and certificates, and help others level up their careers in various fields.
- Pluralsight: Enhance the skills of others with expert-led courses, stay updated with industry blogs, and more.
- Foundr: a magazine for young entrepreneurs that offers valuable resources, including articles, podcasts, courses, and success stories.
- MasterClass: offers unlimited access to thousands of bite-sized lessons taught by the world's best experts in various fields
- Jolt is on a mission to help great people break into the tech industry. They offer immersive bootcamp programs in customer success, data analysis, digital marketing, tech sales, and business operations management.
- Ironhack: Supercharge your career in tech with immersive bootcamps in web development, UX/UI design, and data analytics. Join a global network of next-generation tech leaders.
- Treehouse: Learn to code, design, and more at your own pace. Expert-led video courses for beginners and advanced learners, with in-demand topics and interactive learning. Start with a free 7-day trial.
Being an online teacher and creating courses for a living has its challenges, but the skills needed to be successful and earn a full-time living from it can easily be learned.
Here are some of the important things you need to remember to be an excellent online instructor.
The below guidance assumes you have already defined your niche and the subjects you wish to teach. If you're still in the dark about what you would like to teach, then perhaps try building on your existing passions and skillset, and see how you could create that into online courses and a teaching career. You'd be surprised at just how many varied subjects people are interested in learning.
Top Niches Where Instructors are Required in the eCommerce Industry
- Digital Marketing and driving traffic
- Selling on Amazon
- How to Run an eCommerce Business
- How to Operate Facebook Marketplace
- The Fundamentals of an Online Business
When you create a course to be sold online, you must understand the students’ mindset. Whether you’re hosting the sessions live or as pre-recorded training videos, learn to break down the concepts into segments and sub-segments. This enables the students to establish a flow while learning, and makes it easier for them to be engaged and pay attention.
- Lesson length: 7-15 minutes (but some lessons or concepts require more but consider a maximum of 30 mins per lesson in this case)
- Number of Course Sections: work on around 5-10 (but naturally a "Master Course" on a topic will need more than this, so it depends on your subject matter)
Using AI to Create My Course Outline & Content
When creating your course outline, and even the course content, using AI tools will help you to create a framework and sections. Once you have that in place you're then able to build-out the individual lesson.
A great prompt for generating a course outline for an online course would be clear, concise, and informative. It should specify the following:
- The topic of the course
- The target audience
- The desired learning outcomes
- Any specific requirements or constraints
Here is an example of how to structure the prompt for a course on Machine Learning using Python:
Prompt: Generate a course outline for an online course on the topic of machine learning for beginners. The target audience is people with no prior experience in machine learning. The desired learning outcomes are that students will be able to:
- Define machine learning and explain the different types of machine learning algorithms.
- Train and evaluate machine learning models using Python.
- Apply machine learning to solve real-world problems.
The course should be 10 weeks long and consist of 2-3 hours of video content per week.
In addition to the above, you can also specify the following parameters in your prompt to further refine the results:
- The tone and style of the course
- The level of detail
- Any specific resources or tools you want to include
- Any examples or case studies you want to include
For example, you could add the following parameters to the above prompt:
- The tone and style of the course should be engaging and conversational.
- The level of detail should be appropriate for beginners.
- The course should include examples and case studies of machine learning applications in the real world.
- The course should include resources for students to learn more about machine learning on their own.
By providing a clear and concise prompt, you can help the language model to generate a course outline that is designed to your specific needs.
Here are some additional tips for writing effective prompts:
- Use simple and straightforward language.
- Avoid using jargon or technical terms that the language model may not understand.
- Be specific in your requests.
- Provide examples to help the language model understand what you are looking for.
- Break down large tasks into smaller, more manageable ones.
- Proofread your prompt carefully before submitting it.
As an online instructor, you’ll need to become a bit savvy with video recording equipment and software. This could be a camera, a mic, online streaming devices, and more. The better the quality of your videos the more engaged your students will become. Understanding how the students see you through this equipment, the easier it will become for you to know how to present the class. This includes everything right from how you dress to how the green/whiteboard (if any) is seen. It would help if you considered whether the student can see what you’re writing.
You also don't need fancy video editing software to create high-quality courses. See the best choices for video editors article for some suggested video editors to create your courses.
Examples of Professional Looking Courses:
- LinkedIn Learning: Patrick Rauland → Ecommerce Fundamentals
- Udemy: Angela Yu → 100 days of Code
- Skillshare: Peggy Dean → Strategic SEO
Make It Engaging
Visualisation is an important element for keeping students engaged. Some concepts tend to be more complex than others. However, with the right tools, you can create engaging visuals to make the concepts memorable and understandable. Visualization helps students not only understand the concepts more clearly but also retain the information presented.
- Use a variety of teaching methods. Don't just rely on video lectures or text-based lessons. Mix things up by using interactive exercises, quizzes, and assignments.
- Make your lessons relevant and interesting. Use real-world examples and case studies to illustrate your points.
- Provide students with opportunities to practice what they are learning. Include hands-on activities and assignments in your course.
- Give students feedback and answer their questions. This will help them to learn and improve. Most platforms provide a community or comments area for each section or lesson where you can provide feedback and answer questions they might have.
- Make your course easy to navigate. Students should be able to find the information they need quickly and easily.
A sense of community is key when it comes to online education. Students should feel welcome and be able to interact with you and other students, asking questions or being part of a conversation about related topics. This is why many top course creators will have a community forum or a Q&A section on their course pages.
Live Classes: If you’re hosting a live class, it is important to set the rules and the class atmosphere. While not all students will align with it, the idea is to manage the chaos and thrive in it.
Create a safe space for students and ensure no mishaps occur on the live stream. Having said that, be polite and approachable. Understand that you’re not merely discussing a subject but teaching it to students.
So ensure that there are ways for them to ask you doubts, approach you for discussion, or even have an impromptu debate about certain subjects. All this makes the course more insightful.
The beauty of creating online courses is that they are digital and can be sold many times over. However, the challenge is finding your audience and bringing traffic to your course sign up pages.
It is not enough to be a good teacher in today’s online teaching industry. You must learn to market yourself and your course online to attract more students. Understand what they look for when they think of your subject and create a marketing campaign that leads people to your course. Whether conducting courses on your platform/website or with a third-party platform, you must know how to captivate the students’ attention.
The platforms listed here in this article are a great way to jump-start your online teaching career. By uploading your courses to these platforms you are able to promote your own personal brand and leverage the large amount of members and traffic they already have.
Ways to Attract New Signups:
- Become a Guest Speaker on a Podcast: find all the podcasts in your niche and approach the hosts to see if they are looking for new guests and pitch yourself and your expertise.
Email marketing: Build an email list of interested prospects and regularly send them valuable content, course updates, and promotional offers to encourage enrollment. Link to your email signup page from your website, social media channels and on your LinkedIn profile.
Blog Articles and SEO: having your own website is a must. Once your courses are created you can then break down each course into very specific subtopics to create content around them. Research a few primary keywords for those subtopics. Then create a series of articles around your courses and their subject matter to drive traffic to the course signup pages. The more specific the keywords and subtopics the better, as you will attract a highly targeted audience.
- Social Media: Create videos with snippets, sneak peeks, tips, and more from your course content. Ensure the videos are bite-sized, informative, and interesting enough that the viewer is intrigued to learn more about you and your content. Upload those videos to YouTube, Instagram and LinkedIn.
- Provide valuable free resources related to your course topic to attract potential students. This could include e-books, guides, webinars, or video tutorials that showcase your expertise. Upload these to other websites like Slideshare.net and your social media accounts.
- Collaborate with industry influencers: Partner with influencers or industry experts who have a strong online presence and a relevant audience. They can promote your courses to their followers and help increase brand awareness. This is a tricky one so your course will need to be of very high quality and you will need to have some level of authority in your niche.
Guest blogging: Write guest posts on popular blogs in your niche to reach a wider audience. Include a link to your course or website in the author bio or within the content if allowed.
Collaborate with other platforms: Leverage the traffic of other platforms by hosting your courses on popular e-learning platforms or online course marketplaces. This can help you tap into their existing user base and gain exposure to a new audience.
Distribute Your Courses via Course Library Niches:
Use existing platforms like the ones mentioned above, but take it a step further. There are many private websites and platforms where individuals or groups of people have put together collections of super-relevant courses from top creators around the world. These collections are normally centered around a specific niche or topic. They are always looking to add new content and grow their offering, so could be looking for a course just like yours.
Tap into their audience and list your course with them to gain exposure, grow your personal brand, and also add a new revenue stream.
- Video School is such a platform and was created by Phil Ebiner - not just a home for photography courses it has evolved into an online learning platform that hosts a wide variety of courses from topics such as photography, digital marketing, design and business.
- IMG Courses is a platform for SEO and digital marketers and features a collection of high quality and insightful courses from leading experts.
With 18 years of experience in the eCommerce industry, I have successfully launched and grown multiple e-commerce businesses, the 2nd one hit 7-figures in revenue within its first year. In 2022, I joined a European food technology equipment and IT service provider as their Head of E-commerce, overseeing 14 eshops across Europe and South Africa. Selljam is where I share all those ecommerce tips, tricks and hacks learned along the way that I hope will also help you on your journey to success.