How To Create An Online Course For Free: Online Course Creation Made Easy

How to create an online course for free

If you are just getting started in the online business world and you don’t have a budget to spend on getting a kick-start, or you have more time than money on hand, here is an exact guide on how to create an online course for free. 

 

Note: This is not a long-term solution as you are very limited in functionalities and you will have to do a lot of manual work. 

 

You can create an online course for free with simply using free software and free trials, which will give you a bit of time to actually make money which you can then re-invest into your online course business and work towards automating more and more. 

 

This article will cover how to create an online course for free, literally with $0 investment. 

 

So let’s first break down which tools you would actually need when you create an online course for free. 

 

The tools we will use to create an online course for free are: 

 

Now there are obviously things you need to do before you get started building courses, such as validating your idea, doing market research etc. Right now I am going to assume you have already done all this. If you haven’t done this yet, stop right here and check out my free course on how to get your online course idea kick-started here. 

 

You can check out the full guide on how to create an online course that sells all year round right here. 

 

 

All right, moving on, assuming you have been through my mini-course on course creation, here is what you need to do in order to create an online course for free: 

 

  1. Create your online course content with Canva
  2. Film your online course content
    1. Using your phone
    2. Using a built-in screen recording
  3. Edit your videos with Imovie or Windows
  4. Host your online course video lessons
    1. Google Drive
    2. Facebook Units
    3. Thinkific
  5. Create your Facebook group & graphics on Canva
  6. Set up a free Convertkit account
  7. Create a Paypal link for direct payments or use Transferwise for transfers
  8. Run your support calls

I have created an entire mini-course on how to build a strong foundation for your online course. If you would like my help nailing down the one-course idea which sells, you can sign up here for my mini-course “Get your course idea kick-started”. 

This course consists of five learning modules (MP3 and MP4 format), five interactive workbooks which will help to guide you through step by step to build a strong online course foundation. There are also some surprise pieces of content along the way. 😉

Create your own online course

1) Create your online course content with Canva

Canva is a free design software which really lets you create almost everything for free (the paid version does provide more features and graphics to you which is only $12.95/ month). 

 

I create all my presentation slides on Canva. Once it’s done, I hit the “share presentation” button in the top right corner and start filming with the built-in recording software.

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How to create an online course for free19

I have created an entire mini-course on how to build a strong foundation for your online course. If you would like my help nailing down the one-course idea which sells, you can sign up here for my mini-course “Get your course idea kick-started”. 

This course consists of five learning modules (MP3 and MP4 format), five interactive workbooks which will help to guide you through step by step to build a strong online course foundation. There are also some surprise pieces of content along the way. 😉

2. Prepare and film your online course 

First decide which type of tutorials you want to offer. Do you want to be seen on screen or not, do you want your audience to focus on slides only? This decision really depends on how your students will learn best and how you can keep them engaged the most. I always suggest you have all forms of learning material available, MP3, MP4 as well as reading material. 

 

This is less about you and your shyness, please get over it. This is about your new education business, it’s all about your students and making sure you are getting them to the finish line. So do what’s best for them. 

 

You definitely want to have a welcome video where your students will see your face, explain some housekeeping, where they can find the lessons and how they can be in touch with you and with fellow students (e.g. in a Facebook group, in a Thinkific community or via your weekly support calls). 

 

This is how my welcome video looks like, I have slides prepared and people also see my face which I think is very important to build rapport and connection.

How to create an online course for free

a) To create this video I used a free software called Loom. You can download their Google Chrome extension here and check out their different plans here. They will gift you a free version (up to 5 minutes video length). The next higher tier would be $10/month which allows you to record unlimited minutes. Loom offers a 14-day trial, so if you really wanted to, you would potentially crack it all out in 14 days for free.  

Loom is a web-based software and while I was filming the software crashed a few times, so you are much better off using your device’s built-in recorder to avoid unnecessary rerecording.

You can then download the MP4 file from Loom and upload it into your online school. 

The rest of my course content from my “From Idea to Course” course shows mainly slides only. To create those videos I used the built-in recorder from Mac 

b) Record your online course lessons via the built-in recorder

You have this option in both operating systems, Windows as well as IOS. 

Record your online course lesson with a Mac computer:

On Mac, if you type: SHIFT, COMMAND + 5, this window will pop up.

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Click “record” and start presenting. Simply hit the “stop” button in your menu bar once you are done. You can find your file on your desktop. 

You can read more on the Mac support page here. 

 

b2) Record your online course lesson with a Windows computer:

On your Windows computer, simply type “Xbox Game Bar” in the search and this programme pops up. 

Here is a quick video tutorial on how to do that: 

Hot tip: You can also use “QuickTime Player” to record your screen.  

 

c) Use your phone to film your online course lessons 

 

Yes, you do not need an expensive DSLR camera. A very common myth is that you need expensive camera gear to create a quality online course. This couldn’t be further from the truth. All the phones nowadays have amazing cameras built-in, so just use your phone to film your online course. 

Pro tip: Make sure to pay attention to the sound, you want to have a really clear sound and don’t have any background noise happening. If you don’t have a microphone, borrow one from a friend or use your headphones, they will probably have a built-in microphone. Don’t record your videos without using a microphone. 

I have created an entire mini-course on how to build a strong foundation for your online course. If you would like my help nailing down the one-course idea which sells, you can sign up here for my mini-course “Get your course idea kick-started”. 

This course consists of five learning modules (MP3 and MP4 format), five interactive workbooks which will help to guide you through step by step to build a strong online course foundation. There are also some surprise pieces of content along the way. 😉

3) Edit your online course videos

3.1) On Imovie 

If you are using a Mac, simply use the free software Imovie.

How to create an online course for free

 

It’s a free software and easy to use, you can check out a free tutorial for beginners right here. 

 

I did not edit any of my videos. I maybe just trimmed the beginning or the end off and I used the built-in software to do that. Depending on your course topic and the complexity of your videos, of course, this is not possible for everyone out there. 

 

If you are showing DIY tutorials, you may want to consider investing into Adobe Premier Pro (I use this software) if you want to learn video editing yourself, or simply outsource it to someone on Fiverr. 

 

3.2) On Windows

 

If you are using a Windows PC, you can use the built-in and so-called “Video Editor” to edit your online course videos. 

 

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You can read up on an extensive guide on how to use this software here

I have created an entire mini-course on how to build a strong foundation for your online course. If you would like my help nailing down the one-course idea which sells, you can sign up here for my mini-course “Get your course idea kick-started”. 

This course consists of five learning modules (MP3 and MP4 format), five interactive workbooks which will help to guide you through step by step to build a strong online course foundation. There are also some surprise pieces of content along the way. 😉

4) Free online platforms to upload your video lessons

You can now go ahead and upload your lesson into your chosen platform. There are a few free options out there which come at absolutely no costs. Let’s have a look deeper into the online learning platforms which you can utilise for free. 

 

4.1) Facebook Units

 

Simply head over to your Facebook group, find the unit section and create different units for your students. You can then upload your individual lessons and create one unit per lesson. Your students will have the opportunity to comment below each lesson so you can keep your engagement organised. 

 

How to create an online course for free

 

Note: You don’t own the platform and Facebook can shut down your account any time (happened to me three times over the last three months), so I would never recommend using Facebook to host your online course.  

 

4.2.) Google Drive

 

You could potentially also use Google Drive. You can host content for free up to 15 GB. But as I mentioned already, it’s a free option and it really doesn’t leave you with many options and features to play with.

 

4.3.) Thinkific

 

This would be my #1 recommendation when it comes to choosing a reliable option out of oh so many online learning platforms out there. 

 

Thinkfic has a free basic plan which you can make use of until you have made your first sales and can invest in a higher plan to benefit from more automation features. 

 

However, I would suggest you start off with the growth plan immediately, as it has really handy functionalities which you will need to make your life easier, such as Zapier. 

 

You can try Thinkific for 1 month for free on the Pro + Growth Plan here

 

Simply log in, and click “create new course” in the top right corner. 

 

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Then name your course and choose your course template. Learn how to create names for your digital products that sell right here

 

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You can choose between a blank course (create your own), a flagship course, a mini-course, webinar, a pre-sell course and a membership library. 

 

If you select the “Pre-Sell” option, you can create a presell landing page and start building your waitlist to collect email addresses from people who are interested in your course.

 

I would highly recommend you to use the Thinkific as your online course builder as you want to prepare for long-term success. 

 

This guide on “how to create an online course for free is only there to get you started, it will by no means set you up for long-term success. To be successful in selling an online course that sells over and over again and on autopilot, you want to have as much automation going as possible. 

 

So, starting off with the free version of Thinkific is a good choice as you then simply can upgrade once you have made some money and “outsource” more tasks to the system. 

 

A Facebook group or Google drive aren’t really online course builders and you are better off with a company that focuses on building an elearning platform specifically for online course creators

I have created an entire mini-course on how to build a strong foundation for your online course. If you would like my help nailing down the one-course idea which sells, you can sign up here for my mini-course “Get your course idea kick-started”. 

This course consists of five learning modules (MP3 and MP4 format), five interactive workbooks which will help to guide you through step by step to build a strong online course foundation. There are also some surprise pieces of content along the way. 😉

5) Create your community forum or Facebook group & graphics on Canva

Go ahead and create a cover photo (mobile friendly!) for your new Facebook group. (You don’t need to use Facebook and face the risk of being shut down if you use Thinkific and it’s community forum option. A community forum looks almost the same as a Facebook group). 

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How to create an online course for free12

If you decide to stick to Facebook, create a nice graphic which is also mobile-friendly. Just create a new account on Canva, log in on the top right-hand side corner you will find a button “create design”. Choose the “custom size” design option and type in the right dimensions. 

 

The recommended size for group cover photos is 1,640px by 856px (or 1.91:1 ratio). 

 

Your cover image should include detailed information about your online course and what exactly it is you are providing to your people. If you want to learn more about how to create an online course name and a market proposition that sells, you can read more about it here. 

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6) Set up a free Convertkit account

Convertkit now offers a free tier which allows you to:

 

  • build unlimited forms (to collect email addresses), 
  • create unlimited pages landing pages (you don’t need a website now), 
  • have unlimited traffic coming to those landing pages, 
  • send email broadcasts, 
  • tag subscribers and 
  • manage 1000 of them
How to create an online course for free

 

This is how the form builder looks like. 

 

If you want to learn about the 10 crucial things you must consider before you create your next online course, and you want to check out my “form”, click here

 

You can create your own free ConvertKit account here

 

You can connect Convertkit and Thinkific via Zapier, which means once a subscriber is tagged with a specific tag (which you need to set up), the system automatically sends a signal to Zapier and you can enrol your students automatically. 

 

This is only possible with the Growth plan (the basic plan doesn’t enrol students automatically). 

 

You can try Thinkific for 1 month for free on the Pro + Growth Plan here

 

This will save you a lot of time and is not possible with another Thinkific account (only with the Pro add-on). And obviously, you don’t have that luxury hosting your content on Facebook or Google Drive.

 

I have created an entire mini-course on how to build a strong foundation for your online course. If you would like my help nailing down the one-course idea which sells, you can sign up here for my mini-course “Get your course idea kick-started”. 

This course consists of five learning modules (MP3 and MP4 format), five interactive workbooks which will help to guide you through step by step to build a strong online course foundation. There are also some surprise pieces of content along the way. 😉

7) Collect payments for your online course

7.1) Collect payments with Paypal 

 

You want to be able to collect payments somehow, right? In this case, you can set-up a Paypal account and create a “pay me link”. (Be sure to set up a business account as you are about to make a business transaction. Yes, it will cost you a fee to receive money, but you are now running a business and that’s the way things are). 

 

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  • Log-in to your new account and select “Pay & Get Paid” in the menu bar
  • Then select “PayPal.Me” in the drop-down menu.
  • This will allow you to create a clickable link and you are good to go to collect payments. 

 

Sign-Up for your Paypal account here and get $10 for free. 

 

7.2) Collect payments with Transferwise. 

 

Transferwise is my go-to payment option. I collect payments via Transferwise and I pay my bills internationally all across the world with the lowest bank fees you will find online. 

 

The cool thing is that you can virtually set up bank accounts in all countries with all currencies. 

 

If you want to save the expensive 2.9 % Paypal fees, Transferwise is a good alternative, however, people won’t be able to pay you with a click only (unlike with Paypal), but can wire money via a bank account. 

 

Sign-up to use Transferwise here and you will get your first international payment for free. 

 

I have created an entire mini-course on how to build a strong foundation for your online course. If you would like my help nailing down the one-course idea which sells, you can sign up here for my mini-course “Get your course idea kick-started”. 

This course consists of five learning modules (MP3 and MP4 format), five interactive workbooks which will help to guide you through step by step to build a strong online course foundation. There are also some surprise pieces of content along the way. 😉

8) Run your support calls

Lastly, if you offer support sessions with your online course and you need to communicate via live videos you have a few options to choose from. If you want to learn how you can run a successful beta round, you are read more here

 

8.1) Youtube 

 

You can simply set your live video to “unlisted” and broadcast from there. To do that, head over to your Youtube channel > Creator Studio > select the video you scheduled and set it to “unlisted”. 

 

Have you subscribed to my Youtube channel yet? 🙂

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Your students have the opportunity to communicate with you via live chat which is pretty awesome. This is a great option if you have a huge group of students participating because you won’t be able to speak to all of them individually anyway. 

 

People can submit their questions and comments via the live chat option and you can simply answer from there. 

 

8.2) StreamYard

 

If you have a group of up to 10 people, Streamyard is an amazing option for you. I love this tool, it’s one of my favourite tools as you can also use it for live streaming too. 

 

Once you are at that stage that you are using live streams a lot, you will appreciate this tool so much as you can stream on different platforms simultaneously and it’s suuuper user friendly. You will live in just a short few clicks and don’t have any tech issues at all. 

 

You can simultaneously also connect this to your Youtube channel and have guest speakers on during your live stream and still communicate with your students via live chat as described above. 

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How to create an online course for free15

The dashboard is super clean, not overwhelming at all and as I mentioned, within a few clicks only you can be live. 

You can sign-up for your free account here

 

8.3) Zoom

 

Zoom is probably the most popular and well-known option out there- however they have a 40 minute limit on the free version. 

You can schedule meetings with Zoom (also with Streamyard) and connect it directly to your Google calendar. You can then add your students’ email address to the meeting under “guests” which inserts the meeting right into their own calendar, once they have accepted the Google calendar invite, incl. the Zoom link placed into the description. 

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And there you have it. This is how to create an online course for free with absolutely no budget required, other than your time. Time is your most valuable player, so please go ahead and do some mindset work and stop looking for “free stuff” everywhere. If you want to grow your online education business and you want to be successful in building courses, you will have to invest in tools and more importantly into yourself as well. 

 

Again, it’s not my recommendation to at all to start with this set-up, but if you really really really can’t find the money to invest it into software and things you need to succeed long-term, then this guide here is your short term solution until you made some money which you can then reinvest back into your new online education business. 

 

If you liked this guide and you know someone who can benefit and wants to learn how to create an online course for free, please share it with the world. Sharing is caring. 

Want to learn the basics of how to create an online course? Check out this 5-day training below and get your course idea kick-started!!

You can laugh at course creation and course selling problems if you follow this simple but effective plan:

E-learning doesn't just happen, and it requires careful planning and implementation. 

Join the 5-day Magic Course Creation Challenge which will help you to easily start planning and online course and validating your offer without wasting months of work creating a product nobody wants to buy...

...So you can add a *passive* income stream to your business and make bank while you sleep. 

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