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Tools and Templates for Developing Online Courses

Creating engaging online courses requires a combination of effective technology, polished graphic design, and educational strategy. Rather than building from scratch, leveraging the right set of tools and proven course templates saves massive time while allowing you to produce high quality courses. This comprehensive guide covers recommended tools and resources for efficiently developing stellar online courses as a solopreneur without intensive technical or design skills.

Why Using Online Course Tools and Templates Accelerates Development

The right tools and templates provide huge advantages creating courses including:

  • Professionally designed templates for structure and slides prevent starting with blank canvases
  • Pre-built interactive elements like quizzes, worksheets and graphics integrate easily
  • Collaborative tools assist working efficiently in teams
  • Automation capabilities speed up monotonous tasks like video captioning or quiz generation
  • Premium templates, animations and illustrated assets elevate production value
  • Powerful built-in analytics reveal engagement and completion rates to guide optimization
  • Mobile apps allow access and notifications on the go
  • Hosting and video services simplify delivery at scale

The time savings and elevated results possible using the right online course creation tools pays for itself many times over through higher course sales and enrollments.

Top Online Course Templates

High quality course templates to showcase your content:

Udemy Course Templates

Over 150 free and paid templates for various course topics on Udemy’s Teachable-like course builder.

SlidesGo Course Slides

Professionally designed PowerPoint slide templates for online course lessons and presentations.

Canva Course Templates

Visually impressive course templates for Canva presentation and video projects. Free and paid.

Educivity Template Bundle

300+ fully editable course templates for PowerPoint, Google Slides, videos, workbooks, graphics and more.

Skillshare Class Project Templates

Reusable templates for projects, lessons and assignments within your online classes.

Teachable Templates

Modern pre-made Teachable course templates to customize including landing pages and emails.

CourseCraft

Beautiful customizable templates for an entire online course ecosystem including lessons, graphics and assessments.

With templates serving as strong foundations, you can build stellar online courses efficiently even without extensive design skills.

Best Online Course Creation Tools and Platforms

Top course builders:

Teachable

The premier course creation platform. Build, customize, sell, host all in one place.

Thinkific

Comprehensive course builder and hosting solution focused on marketing tools and automation.

LearnWorlds

Interactive course builder focused on community and engagement features beyond just video lessons.

Podia

Great option for smaller courses, digital downloads, and membership sites alongside online courses.

LearnDash

WordPress plugin transforming sites into robust course marketplaces. More technical.

Kajabi

All-in-one platform for online courses, membership sites, and coaching programs with built-in email marketing and sales funnels.

Udemy

Massive marketplace reach with powerful course creation tools optimized for video content and monetization.

Select course creation platforms based on features, technical needs, audience size and monetization models.

Design Tools to Visually Enhance Online Courses

Make courses more professional visually:

Snappa – Design graphics, banners, workbooks, posters, social posts

Canva – Create thumbnails, certificates, illustrations, and animated videos

Genially – Interactive animations, presentations and assessments

Adobe CC – Premium design suite for pro-grade video, audio, and graphic production

Animatron – Produce engaging animated explainers and tutorials simply

Animaker – Create animated characters, illustrations and videos

Lucidchart – Build diagrams, wireframes, and process flows

Visme – Dynamic animated infographics, presentations and charts

Quality visuals and media assets instantly elevate course perceived value and engagement.

Video Tools for Online Course Creation

Simplify video production:

Loom – Quickly record lesson screen capture videos with camera overlay

Renderforest – Produce intro/outro animations and promo videos

Adobe Premiere Rush – Streamlined video editing and effects on desktop and mobile

Wevideo – Collaborative cloud video creation with templates and stock media

Clipchamp – Browser-based video editor with templates, stock assets and effects

Animoto – Convert images into videos with stylish templates and effects

Invido – Automatically generate videos from blog posts and transcript

Wave.video – AI video generation from any text including voice narration

Compelling video content helps online courses mimic immersive in-person instruction scaled.

Interactive Tools for Online Course Engagement

Increase student participation with:

Typeform – Build surveys, quizzes and assessments

Quizlet – Create study aids, quizzes and flashcards

H5P – Add rich interactive content like games, assessments and simulations

Articulate Rise – Easily create quizzes, games, VR modules and interactives

Graphite – Build guided visual pathways through key concepts

Parlay – Launch interactive discussion forums

Flipgrid – Facilitate video-based discussion boards and feedback

Poll Everywhere – Crowdsource responses via mobile and web

Interaction tools motivate students to actively apply and test their learning – not passively spectate.

Top Automation Tools for Online Course Creators

Save time with automation:

Zapier – Connect and automate workflows between course apps and platforms.

Integromat – Build sequences like enrolling new email subscribers or grading quizzes.

ManyChat – Set up Messenger bots to qualify leads, segment students and promote content.

ActiveCampaign – Send behavioral email triggers like when students complete modules.

Jarvis.ai – Generate transcriptions for video and audio courses automatically.

Veed.io – Auto-generate video captions and subtitles.

Shortly – Queue social posts to auto-publish to multivariate accounts.

AppointmentCore – Automate booking consultations and calls with course creators.

Eliminating repetitive manual tasks allows focusing energy on high value priorities only you can handle.

Collaboration Tools for Course Creation Teams

Enable remote teamwork:

Slack – Chat, share files and manage projects with your course production team.

Asana – Task management with kanban boards to assign and track course development progress.

Trello – Visually map course projects into production stages on shareable boards.

Notion – All-in-one workspace for note-taking, docs, wikis, lists and project management.

Google Drive – Store course assets for cloud access and remote multi-user editing.

Dropbox Paper – Collaboratively write and edit course scripts and outlines together.

Cage.sh – Share visual sitemaps and content calendars across teams.

Figma – Collaborative UI and graphic design creation space.

Distributed teams require project clarity and organization for smooth open communication and production.

Distribution Platforms to Host and Sell Your Online Course

Get your course in front of students:

Udemy

Massive marketplace – great distribution but smaller margins.

Skillshare

Subscription model pays based on engagement time rather than per sale.

Udacity

Specialized in high-quality tech and business courses. Enterprise focused.

LinkedIn Learning

Corporate training video courses. Company licenses provide distribution.

Teachable

Sell from your own site. Offer certificates and tiered pricing.

Thinkific

All-in-one coursed platform focused on marketing and community.

Podia

Great for smaller digital products like mini-courses, downloads.

Cross-list courses widely across platforms tapping into varied student segments and built-in audiences.

Automating Your Online Course Feedback and Analytics

Tools to understand student progress:

Google Analytics

Free website analytics reveal course funnel drop-off rates, conversions, locations etc.

Hotjar

Records visitor sessions, heatmaps and funnel flows to optimize course experiences.

Zapier Surveys

Send automatic brief feedback survey emails when milestones like course completion are reached.

Tally

Quiz-based knowledge checks throughout the course reveal comprehension rates.

Indicate

Form analytics gauge responses on application forms and assessments.

Survey Monkey

Create one-click feedback surveys and polls to collect student opinions.

MailerLite Surveys

Gather feedback and test knowledge with simple email-based surveys.

Constant objective student data enables continuously improving course structure, content and messaging based on real learning outcomes.

Top Online Course Marketing Tools

Promote courses effectively:

Podia Landing Pages

Lead capture and sales pages optimized for online course conversions.

Thinkific Email Marketing

Send automated email sequences like post-purchase onboarding.

ConvertKit

Powerful email marketing automation optimized for creators.

Teachable Referral Program

Encourage student referrals through affiliate incentives.

Mailchimp

Leading email marketing platform. Free tier available.

Facebook Ads

Target ideal students based on interests, behaviors and demographics.

Google Analytics

Track website traffic sources and conversions. Free.

Mighty Networks

Build niche membership communities around your course and brand.

Marketing and analytics tools optimize reaching the right prospective students at scale.

Recommended Online Course Investment Budget

Typical costs:

Course Creation Software

$300-$500 annually for platforms like Teachable or Thinkific

Design Assets and Tools

$50-$100 monthly for templates, stock media, graphics etc.

Freelancer Help

$500-$1,500 per course production for outsourced assistants

Advertising and Marketing

$100-$500 monthly for ads, email services and affiliated partnerships

Administrative Tools

$100-$200 monthly including automation services

Video and Multimedia Production

$200+ per finished minute for pro custom video assets

Ongoing Maintenance and Support

10-20 hours monthly

Factor both fixed and variable costs when budgeting your course development expenses.

Conclusion

Online course success today requires much more than just throwing together a few videos. Leverage the full breadth of available edtech tools and resources to produce polished, professional courses efficiently without deep technical skills. Pre-made templates allow focusing efforts on compelling content. Interactive elements drive student participation. Marketing automation reaches audiences at scale. And advanced analytics provide the actionable insights needed to continuously refine course experiences based directly on student needs. With the right selection of enabling technologies tailor suited to your online course niche and business model, you can minimize headache and maximize results.

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By Dani Davis

Dani Davis is the pen name of the writer of this blog with more 15 years of constant experience in Content marketing and informatics product, e-commerce niche.

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