blog post illustration showing 2 participants working through an on-demand online course

'Online course' can mean different things to different people. Let's get clear on what is a live online course and what is an on-demand online course.

The idea of an online course is truly embedded in society since the global pandemic. People around the world were faced with a stark choice in 2020. Quickly start to do things & learn things online... or miss out!

But there are 2 types of online course so I thought I would talk about those in this post.

Firstly, let's be clear on what we are talking about!

An online course is an organised opportunity to learn something, in a structured way, using a device, via the internet. Device being computer, tablet, smartphone, smart TV, etc. Will also be referred to as a digital course, a newer term, or perhaps e-learning, or an eCourse, older terms.

Next, learning can be broadly divided into 2 types : Live & On-Demand.

Learning can also be broadly divided into 2 other types : in-person & remote/distance.
Technology has blurred these categories.

'Live' teaching & learning is known as synchronous teaching & learning. 

It is where the teacher/trainer and the learner(s) are participating in the learning event at the same time.
Traditionally everyone was in the same location too.

Over time, technology has made it possible to attend live training in different locations. Think of those early pioneers of live distance learning. All those kids living in the remote Australian outback who took part in school lessons using a radio.

Now we have Zoom and Skype and other video-based live-stream technology platforms. These make it much easier for learners to attend live online learning events, regardless of their physical location. Even 'going live' on social media platforms is a form of live training!

So if you are teaching live art or craft sessions via livestream technology such as Zoom, then people will often refer to that as an online course. Perhaps 'online class' or 'online workshop' are a more accurate description? More on this later.

The opposite of live synchronous learning is On-Demand learning, and it is also known as asynchronous learning.

It is where the teacher has created in advance, the learning materials for the learners to work through at their own speed, convenience and location. 

Depending upon the design of the training, the trainer may never interact with the learners. There may be no opportunity for learners to ask questions or communicate with the trainer. Or they interact but at different times. Learners post questions as they work through their materials. Teachers answer later.

You may also hear the terms 'remote learning' or 'distance learning' . These were terms originally used to describe learning something away from an in-person setting. Typically learning was through printed course materials or audio or video tapes, or CDs or latterly, DVDs. 

As I mentioned above, technology has blurred and altered those old descriptions, 'cos distance learning can be 'live' learning now.
A more accurate older alternative term for on-demand training / learning would be 'self-paced learning'.

Therefore learning used to be defined by distance between the teacher and learners.

Nowadays, learning is defined by whether the teacher & learners are experiencing the learning event at the same time, or at different times.

To keep things 'obvious' I tend to use the terms 'in-person' class / course as one where the teacher and students attend the same physical location and learn together. You run an in-person class in your studio or external physical venue, and your students turn up and take part.

Therefore, what is an on-demand online course?

  • I use the term 'on-demand online course' to describe
  • materials created in advance 
  • presented online,
  • in a specific learning path
  • preferably in an easy to use course hosting platform, 
  • where the learners work through the materials at their own pace
  • when it's convenient, 
  • at any location they can access the internet with their device.
  • The teacher may or may not interact with their learners, but any interaction is at different times.

  • And what is a live online course?

    Finally therefore, I suppose a 'live online course' would describe a livestream learning event, where everyone is learning at the same time, but in different locations, brought together by internet streaming technology.

    There are different challenges involved in running a live online course, versus creating an on-demand online course.

    My main business focus is helping artists, crafters, makers to create and sell an on-demand online course. 

    But I do sell an on-demand online course to teach you how to use Zoom to deliver a live online course!

    In my next blog post I will consider the pros & cons, the advantages and disadvantages, of offering a live online course vs offering an on-demand online course.

    Don't Struggle: Get Help!

    You are welcome to Contact Me if you have a quick question - always happy to help.

    And for detailed, personalised help, then book a paid-for 'brain-picking' session with me!

    And I'm always cheering you on!

    Sue xxx

    If it's an on-demand online course you are puzzling about, then why not save yourself a ton of time and effort and grab my gift to you?

    I look forward to helping you make your online course dream into a money making reality.