What is an online course? Definition explained

According to the dictionary, a course is a series of lectures or lessons about a particular subject, leading to an examination or qualification. The term became popular in the 1800s and comes originally from the Latin word cursus, which contains the idea of something that runs, or flows. Which is very related to how a course works: there’s a curriculum, or study plan you must follow in order to complete the training.

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Taking a course – a short story

Usually, when someone said “I’m going to take a course”, you immediately thought of someone going to a specific place every week, or at least on a regular basis, in order to learn something.

There were some exceptions when you could take a course by mail, or correspondence. You could apply for a course and send your application by mail, pay for the course fee, have some handouts or books delivered in your house on a regular basis, and send back your assignments once they were completed.

Normally, the material was authored by experts in the field, people with experience that could get approved to be published by a publishing company. 

The modern world

Then comes the Internet. Now you can learn about everything, everywhere. More information is available now than ever before. Research shows that people ask Google things they would never dare to say to or ask anyone.

And the most incredible part: everyone can have a voice. With the advent of blogs and social media, any person can publish their opinions and thoughts about a certain topic. Anyone can be become an expert in any field.

In fact, with so much information about every topic available online, some people are even starting to question the usefulness of taking a lengthy university course or employee training. 

With that avalanche of information easily available, is there still a demand for organized learning materials, such as courses?

The demand for high quality content

With more and more people and web pages available, it’s hard to know what to trust, what is just a sales pitch and what is actual reliable information. People are still looking for information, but they are more interested in content that is authoritative, comes from trustworthy sources and most importantly, that can add some value to their lives (personal and professional).

So, there’s still a demand for content from authoritative sources.

For example: even though companies and organizations are aware of the fact that their employees do online research for their jobs, there is still a demand for organized content that can easily be reviewed and used as a reference.

Companies know that, for certain topics, they are still the best source of training when it comes to the ins-and-outs of the organization. Old methods of employee training for companies and organizations are costly in time and money, but still, many companies want to take control of the learning of their employees. To avoid the costs, many have started sharing PDFs, videos and emails with their employees as a form of online training.

Online courses

Online courses are the modern version of courses: you can create and share learning content in an organized way that allows users to progress in their understanding of a certain topic. It consists basically on a curriculum, or study plan, organized in units. Online courses can include videos, images, text and hyperlinks. You can share them easily with a link or send an invitation email to the users.

Setting up online courses

Learning Management Systems (LMSs) can make it possible to create online courses and share them with an audience. Not only that, but it’s possible to keep track of your users and analyze their results and statistics.

How to set up online training courses

Online courses and Easy LMS

With Easy LMS you can easily create an online course. No super computer skills required. Simply create an account, pick a name for your course, go to your course curriculum and start adding slides with your content. That can be in the form of text, videos, images, quotes, etc. When you are done, simply share the course URL with your users or embed it on your website. Choose the colors and fonts of your preference and make your learning environment match your brand.

Ask for user information, such as name, email address, company name, department, employee ID… and then view, export and analyze the results of your users. It’s also possible to issue a certificate directly from the course that is sent to the users’ emails or generated at the final page of the course. Fast and easy.

Read more about our online course builder.

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