I heard a comment from someone recently that most of these online courses aren’t really worth the money. Usually, you can find all the information included somewhere else online for free (that’s because someone will probably write about it for free to either get advertising money, or attention). What’s more, you can usually find a community for free as well so you don’t need to meet “like minded people” via someone else. Having said that, I do believe there can be value in paying for something (you value it more meaning it is more likely that you will complete it and so on) but if you don’t have the cash, or don’t want to give the person selling your cash. Here are some ideas about how you can make your own course for free on any topic you want to learn.
[By the way, a lot of these ideas are stolen from the first twenty hours]
Pick the topic
Before you start, you need your topic to study. Some examples could be a language (Polish maybe), a hobby (photography perhaps) or something more intellectual (philosophy, history, etc). Choose something your motivated to learn about (this will require willpower as you will have to coach yourself and won’t have outside influence).
Brainstorm questions, problems and ideas
The biggest issue that you have when learning something is the first stage is “unconscious ignorance” that is, you don’t even know the things you don’t know. Take a sport. I’ve played football a lot so I know lots about how to pass, dribble, shoot etc. I may not be good at it, but I know what skills I need (for the most part) that helps me to find out more. But if I took a sport I’ve never played like…handball. I don’t even know the rules or the special skills I’d need to find out more.
Brain storming your questions is a first step to helping solve this, but we need to go much further than that.
Find “experts”, especially if they have a course
There are usually loads of experts out there online (some more valid than others) and they’ll offer you learning resources. Take a look at what they have to offer, especially if they have a course they are offering. This is because they often have to share that course to help promote that course (the freemium model) they might not share everything, but they will share enough to help you find out more. Plus if they have a course you might want to check…
Look up the course content
If someone has a course, they will have a course content (probably) to prove their course is good. This way you can get a detailed break down of the skills you need to learn and questions you should have/will have as you start learning. This helps you find resources to address those needs before they even come up!
Check out physical books (and their content pages)
Remember books? There are plenty that promise to teach you to (do whatever). You can check out some of these books (like the for dummies series) and look through their content pages OR you may be able to find a cheap second hand version on Amazon.
Choose a place to assemble your course.
You need some place to put your course together. A tool like Evernote, Instapaper, Pocket or even pinterest could be a good tool to collect all the information you search for.
Create a calendar and schedule to progress through
Block off time to practice and learn. You’ve got your material and hopefully know the most important stuff so set aside time and go through the cool things you’ve found.
If your course works well, share it
Of course. Once you’ve put your course together and have gone through it. You’ll know more about what was good/bad etc. So why not edit it a bit more, then share it as a blog post. You could have links to the resources you found and the syllabus you put together for yourself. that way you can help other people continue to learn.
Paid courses are still better
I fundamentally believe that a (decent) paid course will still be much better than the self assembled one mainly as you (should) have a coach to help encourage and motivate you to keep learning. hopefully they’ll address your questions as well to help you with any confusion AND because you paid for it, you are more likely to complete it. Still, if that’s not an option. This is a good second choice. With that in mind, I hope to share a “course” i’m making for myself and I’d love to see you share some of your courses in the comments below (these should be free and self assembled. If you share a paid course you created I’ll remove it).