These online course formats will engage, inspire, and offer your students real value.

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The online learning market has been growing, with force, over the past decade—and it’s not going to slow down any time soon. In fact, the online learning sector is expected to reach at least the $336.98 billion mark by 2026 (that’s pretty impressive).

People are hungry for digital courses and with the right content—sellable content—in the right format, you will reach your target audience while standing out from the pack.

Here I’m going to tell you about five types of online courses you need to know about and why they offer so much value in the digital age.

Let’s go.

The flipped format

The flipped online course format is one of today’s most popular types of online learning styles. The thing that makes the flipped format so attractive is that it emulates a real-world classroom lecture, but with a twist.

This type of online course ‘flips’ the traditional lecture on its head (hence the name). Here you, the lecturer, spend the first quarter of the session going over the module’s main points. The rest of the time is dedicated to live problem-solving and Q&A sessions with your students—a great way to spark curiosity and encourage learner engagement.

Face-to-face learning

Similar to a real-world learning setting, the face-to-face online class applies one-on-one or small group sessions. Here you can share course content, teach your syllabus, and impart wisdom in a ‘traditional-style’ online setting, offering discussion opportunities from start to finish. If you’re looking to mirror real-world classrooms situations, the face-to-face model is an effective format.

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The hybrid approach

Also known as ‘blended learning’, hybrid online courses borrow the best elements from the flipped format and face-to-face learning experience.

With the hybrid approach, face-to-face instruction exists, but it’s limited. Reducing face-to-face learning offers more scope for student collaboration and time focused on digital course materials like videos, online discussion, and problem-solving tasks.

The web-based course

A style of online course that is becoming increasingly popular for its sheer scope and flexibility, the web-based format empowers learners to go at their own pace, tapping into discussions and personal support along the way.

The great thing about web-based eLearning is that you can update and refresh your course content indefinitely while creating dynamic educational materials like quizzes and digital games or tasks.

Web-enhanced courses are a mix of the web-based format and the peer instruction format, another variation where learners access the course at their own pace while discussing the content between themselves using threads and forums. All of these online course styles will empower you to create valuable course content while sparking bundles of student engagement.

With web-based courses, you can take both a synchronous and an asynchronous approach. This means that you can mix it up with self-led learning tasks and materials, participant discussion forums, and live virtual lessons. Doing so will offer you and your participants a fun, flexible, and rewarding online learning experience (they will probably sign up for more courses in the future too!).

The MOOC

The long-winded term for MOOC is Massive Open Online Course. The MOOC approach is perfect if you’re looking to expand your virtual syllabus. 

Ideal for universities or institutions looking to level up their eLearning opportunities, MOOCs offer the scope for teaching a large or even unlimited number of students by using a mix of the academic styles above.

While students don’t typically earn formal credentials from this type of online course, MOOCs are still an effective way of providing a rich learning experience while helping people hone their current skills.

“People expect to be bored by eLearning—let’s show them it doesn’t have to be like that!”—Cammy Bean

Online courses are worth your time and effort. With exciting course content, in a format and platform that suits the needs of your target students, your business will reap great rewards.

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