Creating an e-course as a Psychologist
We live in a new digital age.
This much is obvious, but it also applies to work in therapy, counselling, mental health and psychology.
As a result, there are numerous opportunities for developing online content and engaging with others as well as developing multi-streams of income in your field via online platforms.
One of the most effective ways to do this is via e-courses.
So, what exactly is an e-course?
Well, an e-course is an online course that you film, edit and sell to those that might be interested.
E-courses are a fantastic way for you to create new and engaging content that can reach a massive audience.
This all sounds great, but you are probably asking yourself how exactly do I create an e-course?
Well, I’m going to give you my own experience of e-course development and my top tips on what it takes to get started and to develop a brilliant e-course in therapy, counselling, mental health or psychology.
KNOW THE LOGISTICS:
Knowing your logistics of what exactly an e-course involves is vital.
You don’t want to go to all the effort of developing scripts and course ideas, only to realise you don’t know how to film or edit, or that you don’t have the right equipment.
So, here’s what I do, and have done when I have created e-courses in the past.
First, I got myself familiar with talking on camera.
Some simple test videos will get you accustomed to being filmed. You also get a better understanding of how you come across and how you sound. This is a key tip that we’ll cover later.
Know that you are also going to need to be able to edit your video. I use iMovie for my Mac and find it very user-friendly and simple to navigate.
You’ll also find some really straightforward tutorials online that will help with your editing process.
I also recommend that you invest in appropriate lighting and backdrops for your e-course.
I bought some good lights online for around 40 UK pounds. They have served me well and are still working a year and a half later.
Also, think about your backdrop. These simple things can be key to the aesthetics of your course. This really can make all the difference.
Some really basic things like ensuring your camera is level, that you smile and that the lighting is good might sound like they are not that important, but they really are vital.
FORMULATE THE IDEA:
So, now that you have a better understanding of the logistics of how to develop your course, you need to think about what your course is going to be all about.
Perhaps there is an area of therapy that you specialise in and can, therefore, teach and inform other therapists about it.
Perhaps you can develop an e-course that assists students through their studies in psychology.
Maybe you have insight about how best to network to get ahead of the field in your line of work.
Or maybe you have a great idea for an e-course on self-care.
Whatever your idea is, make sure you have a solid structure for what you want to get across.
E-courses are often an hour to two hours long, so you want to ensure that you cover numerous points in good detail.
For example, if you choose an e-course on networking, there will be numerous points that you need to cover. Such as:
- What networking is
- Why its important in your field
- Your own lived experience of it
- How best to establish relationships with other professionals
- How to start networking
- How to develop your networking opportunities over the long-term
There will be many more examples included in the e-course, but this gives you a bit of an idea of what you should be including and the detail you need to be providing.
YOUR OWN SPIN:
My next key point for when it comes to developing your own e-course is that you need to be giving your own spin on what it is you are discussing.
Simply talking about a topic that people already know enough about really isn’t enough.
This means that you will add real value by giving your own experience and subjective understanding of the topic you are discussing.
For example, looking at the networking e-course example again, to add real value based on your subjective experience you might want to include some of the following:
- What has worked for you when networking and why
- What hasn’t worked for you when networking and why
- The opportunities you have experienced from networking
- Things you wish you knew when you started networking
- Things you wish you had done differently
Again, there will be more discussed in your e-course, but this gives you an understanding of the value in giving your own spin and subjective insight into the topic you are looking at.
HOW YOU COMMUNICATE IS KEY:
Ok, so we have taken a look at the importance of developing the idea you want to look at for your e-course and how to put your own spin on it.
We looked at this first because the content of your course really is key!
It needs to be the focus of your efforts, giving maximum value to those that have purchased your course.
However, you also need to be considering how you come across in your presentation of the information you are giving.
How personable you are and how engaging you are on camera is vital for ensuring that people buy your course, get value from it and eventually come back for more.
Make sure to be as open and friendly as possible.
There is a lot of work that goes into an e-course. It’s a massive amount of time and effort so it can be easy to forget the small things like remembering to smile and be engaging.
DO YOUR RESEARCH:
The research you do on the topic you are looking at will be vital for the development and impact of your course.
This really goes without saying.
You need to be doing your research well in advance, ensuring that you cover all the basis for what you want to look at.
This, of course, needs to be balanced well with some of my earlier key points such as giving your own subjective spin. However, the research you do is going to take up a lot of the content of your course, so make sure you invest in it.
CONSTRUCT YOUR SCRIPT:
Constructing your script is perhaps one of the most time-consuming aspects of developing an e-course.
However, if done well it can make the process of delivering your course much easier.
What I normally do is write out an example of what I might say word-for-word through the whole course.
Now, this can at times be in excess of 10,000 words.
However, it is worth doing as it gives me a reference point for what I want to cover.
It also gives me a feel of how the course might come across and what value it might bring to those that buy it.
What I then do is construct a bullet point draft of key points based on my full script.
This is the script I refer to when I am filming my course.
What I would say here is that you need to invest time into your script. Your script is like your map, without it you’ll be totally lost when it comes to developing your e-course.
E-courses can be an incredible way to expand your reach, engage with a new audience and add a new dimension to the work you do.
They do, however, require a massive amount of work and effort. But with these top tips, you will be well on your way to developing a course of real value.
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About the Author: “Fraser Smith is a counselling psychology doctoral trainee in Glasgow Scotland. Also the creator of GetPsyched, an online psychology platform that creates YouTube videos, blog content and social media content in the field of psychology. Fraser works as a psychological counsellor for a number of organisations and also works as a seminar tutor for undergraduate psychology students in Glasgow. Fraser has a passion for mental health, primarily men’s mental health, psychology, therapy and networking with others in the field.” Check out his website at http://www.getpsyched.org.uk/