How Do Online Courses Work and Why Should You Care?

How Do Online Courses Work and Why Should You Care?

by CreativeMindClass • 4 min read

Online courses work by uploading your course content to a learning management system called an online course platform. These platforms link a course creator with an audience. When you run an online course business, it brings an income and creates a closer relationship with your audience.

If that sounds complex, it's because it is. But if you want to create and sell online courses you need a basic understanding of how online courses get traffic, give value, and create a sustainable online course business.

That’s what you’ll learn in this guide.

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This is chapter 1 in the
Beginner's guide to ONLINE COURSES

In this chapter:

Online Course Basics


Online Course Basics

Before we get into details, let's first make sure we understand what online courses actually are, why they exist, and why this even matters.

What are online courses?

Online courses are classes that a student can view via an online course platform.

Each online course consists of two parts:

  1. Video Lesson(s). A recorded version of your course.
  2. Learning material(s): Additional content such as PDF(s), jpg(s), etc that increase the value of an online course.

Examples of popular online courses include art&creativity, web development, health & fitness, and business.

What is the aim of online courses?

Every online course aims to provide the best value to its students. That's why people pay money for them—at least in theory.

online course value to price chart

Related article:

How to Increase Online Course Value: 3 Easy Steps
If customers perceive a high value they willingness to pay more rises and if customers sees a lower value they don’t want to pay much.

How do online courses make money?

There are two pricing strategy types of online courses:

  • Free online courses where the price is 0. A student doesn't need to pay to take the course (a strategy to hook new students).
  • Paid online courses where the price is from $10 to $350 (or €). A student needs to pay to take the course.

Each time someone pays for your course, they expect some value in return, it's called value based pricing.

This is why value matters. Higher value means higher price and more income.

Related article:

How Much to Charge for an Online Course. What You Should Know
Online course prices generally go from $10 for a mini course to a premium price of $350. But how to know what price is best for you? We lay it all out.

Why should you care how online courses work?

Understanding how online course value and price work will help you in sales.

If you can create a course with a high value, you will get more sales of your online course.

online courses value to sales chart

Related article:

Sell Online Courses: Best Strategies to Boost Your Sales
How to Boost Online Course Sales:1. Increase your responsiveness2. Listen to feedback3. Reward your customers4. Provide extra value5. Communicate effectively

The good news is that the online course industry is growing in many categories, from art&creativity to web development through health&fitness and business. The most in-demand courses in those categories are the following:

  • Art & Creativity

Illustration courses. They are 36.8% of all art/creativity courses.

Online courses popularity chart - Art and Creativity

Illustration courses are most popular in the art/creative category of online courses.

  • Web development

JavaScript courses. They are 28.7% of all web development courses.

Online courses popularity chart - Web development

JavaSript courses are most popular in the web development category of online courses.

  • Health & Fitness

Nutrition and diet. They are 28.7% of all health and fitness courses.

Online courses popularity chart - Health and fitness

Nutrition and diet courses are most popular in the health&fitness category of online courses.

  • Business

SEO. They are 43.3% of all business courses.

Online courses popularity chart - Business

SEO courses are most popular in the business category of online courses.


Let's wrap this up

Understanding how online courses work is the first step towards creating and selling more online courses. If you place your course to an online course platform that doesn't allow you to create value for your students, you’re dead in the water before you even start.

If you want to know how to do that, and how to start creating online course with high value, subscribe to our guide.

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