Piloting your online course

To ensure that your online course is successful, it’s often a wise idea to pilot it. This is basically a way of testing it, so that you can iron out any issues before you start taking on real students. How you decide to pilot your course depends very much on the type of course. Here are just a few tips for piloting your course.

Decide how long to run the pilot

Will you pilot the course for the same length of time as the actual course, half the time or simply for a couple of days? The length of time at which you run your pilot, depends on how long the actual course is expected to last. You may be able to cram the basic elements of a long course into a few days to save you time – this won’t be as costly and it will be easier to find an audience to test on for a shorter period of time.

Assemble your pilot audience

Your pilot audience should ideally be complete strangers that haven’t had any part in putting together your course. Their opinion is then likely to be unbiased. They should be people who are interested in the nature of your course. Providing your pilot course to people at a significantly reduced rate could be a win-win for everyone.

Take notes

Once your pilot is underway, it’s important to take notes so that you can spot any problems. Are your students struggling in certain areas? Are there any problems with the technology you’re using? All of this is worth noting for helping you to make future improvements.

Ask questions and collect data

Asking your students questions can help you to collect data on how well the course is going. This could help you to spot issues that may not have even noticed are there. Review analytics to see where students are spending the most time, or where they are skipping looking at certain learning objects. If you have incorporated social learning in your course, look at the quality and content of comments. This can all be done throughout the piloting process and after the pilot is complete. You can ask individuals direct questions as well as offering general surveys along the way.

Use your data to improve your course

Once you’ve finished piloting your course and collected all the data you need, you can then start tweaking your online course before its official launch. Take as long as you need to make the changes that are necessary. Once all the major flaws have been rectified and you’re confident that your course is as polished as it can be, you can then finally start advertising your online course to real students. Good luck! Interested in designing and developing your own online course? Get in touch with us and let’s chat about what’s possible.


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