Leading educational institutions in the world are now opening their doors to a new era of digital learning. From MOOCs and massive open online courses, to on-demand programs and virtual schools, technology has made it easier than ever for educators to reach a global audience at scale. As students are more connected than ever before, it’s time educational institutions opened up as well. If you’re thinking about starting an online school, this guide is for you. Follow these tips and you’ll be well on your way to creating the best educational experience possible for your future students.
Choosing a Topic
The first step to starting an online school is to decide what you want to teach. Do you want to offer a specific program of study, like a degree in business management? Or do you want to offer general education courses for kids, teens, or adults? It’s important that you choose a topic that can spark interest in your potential students and will motivate them to come back on a regular basis. A good place to start is by figuring out what makes your school unique. For example, if you want to start an online school for children, think about why they might be more interested in coming back than other children their age might be. Perhaps it’s because they have access 24/7 and they learn best when they are able to work at their own pace. Maybe it’s because they don’t have the stress of going through traditional schooling and could use the chance for some fun learning instead of memorizing information on a test. Whatever the reason, figure out why this topic would be interesting enough for your target audience and make sure your school gets it right!
Creating Customer Avatars
It’s important to create customer avatars in order to create a level of understanding with your students. These avatars will help you understand what your students want and how they want to be educated. Consider how each student behaves in different scenarios, what their needs are, and what their goals are before developing an avatar for them. That said, think about the main traits that are most important to your ideal customer and prioritize them accordingly. For example, if you’re starting a digital school for working professionals, consider creating an avatar based on the following features: -Passionate about education -Loves to learn -Wants to be challenged -Self-sufficient -Likes technology Once you have these attributes set in stone then it will be much easier for you to make decisions by utilizing these characteristics when designing your course materials.
Creating a Course Outline
The first step to creating a course outline for an online school is deciding 3 or 4 main points you want your students to know. The class will have a set curriculum, which usually includes three main topics: -Course Introduction: This section covers the overall goal of the course and how the content in the class will fit into this goal -Types of Learning: This section helps students learn about different types of learning. It could include teaching styles like formal or informal, as well as physical and digital learning environments -Student Development: This section covers how students can grow and develop through the course
Choosing your LMS (Learning Management Software)
Choosing a LMS (Learning Management Software) can be difficult due to the number of options. However, there are some basic questions that should help you figure out which system is best for you. The first question to ask yourself is what type of school or institution do you want to create? Some of the most popular platforms for educational institutions include Moodle, Canvas, Desire2Learn, or platforms that include marketing and websites like Kajabi, and Uteach. Next, consider how much time your students are willing to commit to their online education. If you’re looking for an LMS that allows students to complete all of their courses on their own time without needing any assistance from instructors or tutors, Moodle might be the right tool for you. If students need more guidance than just self-study but want their teacher available in case they have questions or need help with something outside of the syllabus, Canvas is perfect as it provides both an instructor portal as well as a chat function in case students need guidance while they study independently. Desire2Learn is ideal if your institution wants to create a more traditional learning environment where students have access to teachers and mentors 24/7 via live chat. Kajabi is the best for someone who wants an all-in-one marketing funnel solution with video and website hosting. Finally, decide what kind of materials and tools are needed by your learners: whether they prefer digital learning materials such as videos, ebooks, PDFs, or textbooks and handouts; whether they require instructor support.
Choosing an Email Marketing Platform
If your school is going to reach out to potential students, it needs an automated way to send emails to potential customers. One of the best ways to do this is through email marketing. An email marketing platform will allow you to send mass email campaigns with ease. Before choosing a platform, make sure it allows you to segment your lists and target them specifically. You’ll also want to decide ahead of time what type of email content you’d like your students to receive. 1) Posting content on social media: Important in order for people to find you and get interested in learning more about your school. 2) Search engine optimization: Helps improve traffic by reaching specific people who are interested in what you have to offer 3) Email marketing: Engages members of the community who might not be directly marketed to. Some solutions for email marketing include Mailchimp and ConvertKit.
Content marketing is an effective way to establish a digital presence for your business without having to spend a lot of money on advertising. You can create content on any topic that’s relevant to your target audience. For example, you could create educational videos about subjects related to the industry or niche you’re in. The key is to be consistent and always create new content, because people will only stay interested for so long. You can also use content marketing tactics like guest blogging and social media marketing. By being active on social media, you can establish your brand's authority on the topic and gain more followers who are interested in what you have to say. Make sure to include a CTA (call to action) back to your website for more information and a way to sign up to the email newsletter or a lead magnet like a free pdf download of something applicable.
Starting an online school will take time to develop and require the setup and administration of a lot of moving parts. Make sure to do more research on content marketing, email funnels, video hosting, website hosting, and potential LMS systems. Some all-in-one solutions like Kajabi, and Uteach help with most or all of these things.
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