Masterclasses seem to be the next 'it' thing in the edTech industry. I am sure every one of us has come across at least one while sleuthing online. Their focused design makes them an immediate success among users. However, creating and launching an online masterclass requires its own set of skills. So without further ado, let's get into this.
Online learning has proven itself as a durable solution to the pandemic-ridden work-from-home society. Moreover, it is a great way of kickstarting multiple income streams. Matter of fact, the global e-learning industry is expected to reach USD 457.8 billion by 2026.
Given the scope of the online course creation business, the competition has also multiplied. Amidst this, it can be tough to stand out and make your mark. This article will take you through the entire process of creating a successful online masterclass.
What is a Masterclass? 🤔
So how does a masterclass differ from a regular online class? What makes it so special and a cut above the others? Well, to simply put it, a masterclass is a specialized course catering to seekers of expert experience. These are micro-learning-based classes for advanced learners offered by a seasoned expert.
More recently, the term was popularized by MasterClass.com. The platform reeled in top industry experts to share their teaching with rookie learners. Soon the concept became a huge hit.
How to create an online masterclass?
The very process of creation begins with planning. If the plans are not adequately designed, the entire project can fall through. Since you are designing a masterclass, you will require years of knowledge and experience to be able to call something your expertise. Not only is this necessary from a teaching point of view, but perhaps, more so from the marketing point of view.
The reason why people sign up for any masterclass has a lot to do with the person teaching than just the skill being taught. They can learn the skill from anywhere but what is it about you that they should come to you. All this is to say that before you actually begin the design process, a lot of prior work will be required to get to this point.
Masterclass is a class taught by someone who has an expert knowledge or skill in a particular area.
Things to consider when planning a masterclass
Select your niche. One can be an expert in a subject but still might need to narrow down their niche to adjust according to the masterclass. So start by isolating your best skills. Follow this by conducting a market study. Check if there is even a viable demand for your content. Learn about your prospective audience - age groups, learning preferences, etc. It's a bit of homework but it is necessary for your success.
Focus on your goals. Jot down your short-term and long-term goals. Short-term for the actual course and long-term for the overall course business. Make sure to align these goals with those of your learners. The intersection where your goals meet is where success lies.
Develop a tentative plan for the online masterclass. This is where you focus on structuring the content, figuring out the logistical things, and shortlisting your online launch platform. Basically, here you put everything into a blueprint to follow.
Steps to create an online masterclass
Once you have your tentative plan ready, it is helpful if you can get a second opinion on it. Perhaps your friends or SMEs'. After you get your approval, it is time to get into details.
1. Structuring the masterclass
Since a masterclass is a short and focused class that uses a microlearning strategy, it is ideal to design it as short sessions with enough time for student interaction. You can make it a standalone event or turn it into a series of cohorts. It depends on the complexity of your subject.
As long as the structure serves the main purpose of the masterclass, rest it fine. You may opt for synchronous or asynchronous drip-fed content. Include a variety of multimedia options such as podcasts, presentations, worksheets, etc. Most importantly, do not forget to include assessment tools for performance evaluation.
As far as the duration of the masterclass is concerned, experts at Business insider say it should be 2.5 hours long. Below is a handy little outline for structuring your online masterclass.
2. What are the contents?
curriculum and syllabus are the heart of a masterclass. Given the time constraint, you will need to be specific but also thorough. It is challenging to maintain this balance. For reference, make sure to check out how the other masterclass developers divide the curriculum.
For an added effect and resource, include ebooks (bonus points if you wrote them), and exclusive seminars with renowned guests. You can also decide how to launch the content. Whether you want to opt for a one-time curriculum or drip-feed method. Both are great but serve slightly different purposes, so see which one makes a better fit.
Truth be told, your masterclass is a business model at the end of the day. And no business can stand out without the right branding strategy. People invest tonnes of money and resources into articulating a brand that reflects the essence of their business. Hence, take your time with this step.
Select a catchy yet attractive name. Make a color theme. Design your logos and business mission. Just as you would with any other business. To have a successful business model, map out your KPIs and track them throughout to see if you are keeping up with your goals.
Importantly, when choosing your hosting platform, see if they offer the option of white-labeling. For instance, Teachfloor offers its users the to design their course business and truly make it their own by letting them customize their landing pages and much more.
And finally, with branding comes marketing. Branding is what you are about and marketing is dispelling it into the market. Ensure a strong and engaging social media presence for organic traffic. However, you can always go for other methods of paid marketing such as affiliate marketing, PPC ads, social media ads, etc.
4. Pricing the masterclass
Pricing is a tricky bit. You need to ensure just the optimal price. If you overprice it, you lose to market competition. If you underprice it, you risk tarnishing your brand value perception. Some other things to keep in mind are whether to opt for a subscription-based or one-time payment model. You can follow our detailed guide on how to price online courses: How to strategize pricing for your courses.
However, keep in mind that pricing for an online masterclass will generally be higher than regular classes.
- Determine your revenue target
- Estimate the number of enrollments
- Divide the revenue with the enrollments (baseline price determination)
- Calculate the 'hard costs' (supplies, software, etc)
- Consider the 'soft factors' (your per-hour fee, hours to be taught, preparation time, etc)
- Consider the impact your course will create for value-addition. Evaluate the price in comparison to the impact made.
So these are all the crucial steps required to create an online masterclass. Once you have all of these down, your draft course ready, go for a 'test drive'. Beta launching the course will allow you to see the strengths and weaknesses of your course without any risks. You can get key insights from this and they can improve the masterclass even further.
This was our take on designing a masterclass. Let us know in the comments if we missed something.