Watch this video to learn all about the key steps involved in course creation and launch process. Follow these steps if you plan on using both a membership plugin and a LMS to create and deliver your courses.
The idea is to get software stuff out of the way first because once you figure out the tech stuff and get it out of the way at the beginning stages instead of waiting until the very end, you'll be able to focus on your content without worrying about the tech or implementation details.
So install and setup your LMS (not all of your course content, just a couple of modules/lessons), then setup your membership plugin, integrate your membership plugin with the LMS, create a course outline page, create a payment button, create a members area and test user experience before you start working on your content.
The very first thing you need to do is determine how your course is going to be organized. The course structure refers to the choice of topics and the organization of these topics in a logical order to create a great learning experience for your students.
So write down every single step to get your students from where they are at (start state) to where they need to be go (end state). Write down everything no matter how small or insignificant it might seem.
Review the steps and arrange them in a logical order. Next group them into sections/modules. Basically figure out how to divide your content into digestible chunks/modules, so your students can navigate the course in a structured, logical order, without getting overwhelmed or confused.
Get Tech Stuff Out-of-the-way!
Before you can pick out a Learning Management Software, you need to make a list of all the features that are important to you. Write down everything - must-have as well as nice-to-have features.
Once you have this list, it'll help you finalize the right learning management software. And you may not even need a LMS because you can just use a membership plugin like DAP to create and deliver your course. Getting the tech stuff out of the way early will help you focus on your course content rather than the tech!
One of the main reasons I created this training called "Crush it with Online Courses" is to help you pick the right learning management software/platform for your online course creation and delivery. So be sure to take this course as it'll help you figure out what learning management platform will best suit your needs. Once you've finalized the software, go ahead and purchase it, and install it on your wordpress site.
Setup the Course
Now create the course structure in your LMS. Just create a module and a couple of topics/units with some dummy content in your LMS. Don't work on your actual content yet. You can add content later.
Your main goal here is to create a course outline page (table of contents page) in your LMS and see if you are satisfied with how it looks or if you want to make any updates to it.
Step 1: Create your course. Give it a name and add course description.
Step 2: Create your first module. Give it a name and add a description.
Step 3: Add one or more units / topics under the module.
Step 4: Now visit the course page (find the url of the course page in your LMS) and you'll find the course outline / table-of-contents on that page. This is first page your students will see when they click on the 'Access this Course' button in the members area.
Next move on to the membership plugin setup. Don't work on your course content yet. It's better to figure out any tech issues involved in course creation / delivery process early so you've sufficient time to address it before your launch.
DAP Product Setup
Step 1: Create your Course/Product in DAP Admin >> Products >> Manage Product / Levels page.
Step 2: Set up Billing & Access Details in DAP Products page >> Pricing tab.
Step 3: Set up a Welcome Email in DAP Products page >> Notifications tab. Use this email to send out membership login credentials to your students.
Step 4: Protect your course content in DAP Products page >> Content Responder tab.
Step 5: Enter the URL of your Course Outline Page (that you created in the previous step) in the DAP Products page >> Advanced Tab >> Post-Login Field.
DAP Members Area Setup and DAP >> WP integration
Step 1: Create a Login page and set the Login URL in DAP Admin >> Setup >> Config page. If you already have a login page, skip this step.
Step 2: Create a Member Home Page where you can add a welcome video and add quick links for course access and easy navigation.
=> Your Courses
=> Your Profile
=> Your Invoice
=> Contact / Support
=> Forum / Facebook Group
Step 3: Generate a "My Content" shortcode for your products (using the DAP shortcode generator) and add it under the "your courses" section on the member home page.
(If you already have a My Content Page and already deliver other courses from your membership site, just update the "my content" shortcode to include the product Id of the new course).
Step 4: Create a My Profile page
Step 5: Update Member Home page with the right links.
Step 6: In DAP Admin >> Setup >> Config page >> Enable Syncing to WP.
Step 7: Enter URL of your login page and my content page in DAP admin >> setup >> config page.
Sales Page / Buy Button
Your sales page can make or break the success of your online course! You don’t need to have your course fully created to start working on your sales page. After you draft your course outline, finalize your course structure and the order of lessons etc, start giving some thought to your sales page. I actually start working on my sales copy after I finalize my course outline and structure. I don't put it off till the end.
Also, you need to figure out what shopping cart platform you're going to use to sell your courses. It can't wait until your course is ready for launch. I set up my payment buttons on my sales page and test everything out while I'm still working on the course content.
Step 1: Create your Payment Button / Link in your shopping cart software.
Step 2: Publish it on your sales page.
User Experience / Testing
Make a purchase to test user experience.
If you use DigitalAccessPass.com (DAP) as your membership plugin and SmartPayCart.com (SPC) as your shopping cart plugin, you can auto-login users and directly send them to the members area upon purchase. This way they can access your course instantly without having to wait for an email with login credentials.
Test everything end-to-end. See if the users are auto-enrolled in to the course after purchase and if they can access the course content that you've protected in DAP.
Make sure the all the buttons / navigation in member home page works flawlessly otherwise you'll end up with confused and upset users, and a whole bunch of support tickets in the middle of your launch.
In the next series of lessons, I'll take you behind the scenes to show how you can build and launch your course using these exact steps.