15 Best Courses And Training For Online Teachers


teacher with a laptop watching a video training

Being an educator requires constant development and that is no different when you teach online. It is even more important when you need to know more technologies and this article will show you how.

The 15 of the best courses and training for online teachers are:

  • Soft Skills
    • Communicating Skills
    • Presentation Skills
    • Classroom Management
    • Dispute Resolution
  • Technical Skills
    • Instructional Design
    • Web Development
    • Assessment Tools
    • Content Development
    • 1 on 1 Online Tutoring
    • Group Online Conferencing
  • Software Product Training
    • eLearning Packaging
    • Single Sourcing Tools
    • Learning Management Systems
    • Office Suite
    • Basic Operating System

Before we continue on to the list of courses it is important to discuss what kinds of courses are available and how you can get help and even a mentor.  These will help when you are then undertaking the courses listed later in the article.

So let’s look at what will make you the best online teacher to secure your career for many years to come.

Understanding Skills Required

Online teaching is slightly different to teaching in the classroom.

Depending on the topic you are teaching there are certain skills you must have:

  • Online Tutoring 
  • Communication
  • Technology
  • Time Management 
  • Assessment 

To teach online you need to understand how online tutoring or teaching is different to in class teaching.  Not only do you need to know how to draw people into the class but also how to make them feel at ease remotely.

Communication skills are even more important when teaching online due to the fact that you may not be able to read body language.   If you are teaching via video conferencing you will but with other forms of training you may not be able too.  This means you have to be more vocal with your active listening skills and use the in built chat feature to request feedback about the training frequently.  You also need to make sure all students feel equally loved.

Being an online educator requires you to have certain technological competencies like:

  • Operating Systems 
  • Learning Management Systems 
  • Content Creation Tools
  • Web Conferences
  • Live Virtual Classrooms

Time management is important for both students and teachers. When teaching online it can take longer for your students to complete their work and you need to factor this in.  If you are running live classes it can also take longer to fix students technical problems so you need to be aware of what may go wrong and have a quick method to deal with it.

Assessment skills allow educators to determine whether learners have or have not learned certain competencies. It comes in two formats (formative and summative) and should be constantly used to adapt your teaching techniques to the audience you are working with.  While this is the same whether you are teaching in the classroom or online the method of how you do this is slightly different. 

ARTICLE: 27 Interactive Assignment Ideas For Online Students

Future Proof Your Job

Being an online teacher myself I have learned many important things. Skills that are constantly required now may not be so important 5 years from now. It is very important to enroll in courses and engage in your communities that allow you to future proof your job with skills and knowledge. 

I personally always keep an eye on the job websites to see what the current job market requires of educators.  More and more you have to have a sound grounding in IT technologies and Learning Management Systems as well as how to quickly develop digital content.  

This article will provide you with some of those current skills you may wish to work towards to future proof your career.

Different Methods of Training

When you are learning to teach online whether you are already a teacher or if you are just wanting to share your skills online there are many ways you can do that.

Here are some of the methods you can use:

  • Self-Taught
  • Paid Online Courses
  • Official Vendor Courses
  • Vocational Training
  • University

Let’s figure out which one works best for you.

Self Taught

There are heaps of ways you can learn to teach online for free.  You can teach yourself all the skills you need to know but it just may take you longer not knowing what to prioritise.  Here are a few ideas that may help you.

Ideas for learning to teach online by yourself:

  • Website Tutorials
  • YouTube Playlists
  • Scholarly Research

Website Tutorials

There are heaps of free tutorials on blogs on websites that can help walk you through the new skills you will need to learn to teach online.

Paid Online Courses

If you do not want to spend a fortune on a training session then you might want to take a look at the Udemy teaching platform. It features heaps of courses that are designed to help educators to improve their skills and competencies. 

Starting from pilates trainers or accredited yoga teachers to ESL (English as a Second Language) educators you can find a course for anything you are planning on teaching. Moreover, Udemy comes up with plenty of discounts and promotions that you can take advantage of. 

If this sounds like a suitable training method for you I suggest taking a look at the following link:

LINK: Udemy Top Teacher Training Courses 

Official Vendor Courses

There are plenty of vendors that offer courses designed for teachers. These courses are not normally nationally accredited courses like Vocational or University study but are laser focused on the skills you need to actually use a specific piece of hardware or software.

Vocational Training

Vocational Education and Training is Nationally Accredited training that is post secondary school study.  This is recognised as higher education study and hands on skills based.  In most countries they were referred to as Technical Colleges where you went and did an apprenticeship but are not across all study areas.  As well as gaining job ready skills you can use these courses as a University pathway.

In the USA they are called community colleges and you can find a list of them here:

LINK: Study USA

In Australia they are run by the government as TAFE and also as private registered training organisations and you can find the training they provide here:

LINK: Australian My Skills Portal

If you are in the UK they are called Vocational Colleges and you can find a list of the courses here:

LINK: Find Courses UK Website

University

Universities across the world are starting to include more online teaching requirements into their bachelor level courses.  Whether you do a Bachelor of Education and then major in teaching online or do a specialised degree that is for teaching online only there are many paths you can take.

If you have a Bachelor in any specialisation you can also add a 1 or 2 year post graduate qualification on top of that degree that will certify you to teach in schools.  Depending on what you are trying to teach online through university study may not be required.

If you are teaching in Kindergarten to Grade 12 (K-12) then you will need to have a bachelor in most cases.  If you are just sharing your knowledge on a topic online whether you charge people or not then you won’t need a degree.

Finding a Mentor

If you prefer working with someone that has experience in the field and is able to focus his attention on your needs then you might want to consider finding a mentor for you. Below I have listed three of the most popular methods you can use to look for a suitable mentor. 

Industry Websites

There are plenty of websites that have experts in education. Working with a mentor allows you to bypass the most frequent mistakes and develop your skill faster. 

There are heaps of teaching associations you can join where you can talk with people and find a mentor that you get along with.

Here are the associations in the US:

LINK: American Teachers Associations

Here is a link to the UK Teachers associations:

LINK: UK Teachers Associations

If you are based in another country just do a search for “Teachers Associations <Country Name>” to find the ones in your country.

LinkedIn Groups

LinkedIn is one of the most popular platforms that resemble professionals from different domains altogether. It is designed to allow professionals to post an online resume and talk with other professionals and businesses. This social platform has more than 610 million members that are constantly active. 

You can seek guidance from educators that have plenty of experience in working with students. One of the advantages of this platform is that you can see potential mentors’ experience (online courses they are teaching, main topic, institutions they have worked with, etc.).

Some groups you could join to teach online are:

Teaching Online

https://www.linkedin.com/groups/2794385/

Online Professionals: Teaching College Online and Hybrid

https://www.linkedin.com/groups/1631797/

Online Teaching

https://www.linkedin.com/groups/2082323/

Online Learning Experts

https://www.linkedin.com/groups/3770398/

Facebook Groups

Facebook is one of the most popular social media platforms owning 60% of the social media market. It is globally available and can be used for free. All you need to create an account is having a valid email address or a valid phone number.  It has a wide variety of people from all countries using it.

There are plenty of groups that resemble both experts and newbies in education. You can join as many groups as you want to. Seeking guidance on Facebook groups is a great idea because you can reach out to educators from all around the world.  These are more social discussions compared to LinkedIn that is more formal and work driven in nature. 

Engage Online

To develop your skills you can engage in discussions with other educators or experts. This way you will be able to see and understand another point of view. Teachers can share their personal experiences and come up with tips and pieces of advice for new educators. 

Forums

You can engage in discussions with teachers on different online forums. There you can ask and answer questions as well as read others’ opinions on certain topics. Two of the most popular online forums you can join are:

Online Chats

Live online chats are a great way to have discussions in real time and get answers to questions that you ask straight away.  These are more commonly hosted on social media now but there are still some out there if you do a search.

Web Conferences

It is a great idea to share your experiences with other teachers using web conference tools. This type of engagement can come in a variety of ways (webinar, live chat, one-on-one call, etc.). You can arrange a live conference with educators that are willing to spend some time chatting with other teachers. 

There are a lot of Web Conferences from major vendors, industry groups and government departments you can join to keep yourself up to date.

Social Media

As mentioned before you should take advantage of popular social media platforms. This way you will be able to connect with other teachers. You can discuss different aspects of online teaching with educators that are more experienced in this domain. You can also ask for guidance on issues you are having trouble with. 

The most popular social media platforms are:

The age groups of people you are trying to reach and whether you are wanting to have a social discussion or a more formal work related discussion will dictate the platform you use.

Soft Skills

Soft skills are generally related to skills required to work with others in the workplace.  These are like communications, emotional quotient, social skills and other skills required.  When teaching these are related to managing classes online and how you relate to students and how they relate to each other.

For more information on Soft Skills check out this article:

LINK: Soft Skills On Wikipedia

The most commonly used soft skills of teachers are:

  • Communicating Skills
  • Presentation Skills
  • Classroom Management
  • Dispute Resolution

Let’s discuss some of them to find out why they are so important for online teachers. 

Communication Skills

For any teacher, communication skills are one of the most important ones you can have.  The ability to take complex topics and make them easy to understand to your students and verify understanding are pretty much the job.  If you are teaching formally for schools, Vocation Education and Training (VET) or for Universities you will have to have these skills formalised through training.

If you are teaching a course on Youtube, Udemy or Skillshare then you won’t have to have formalised skills but as long as your students are learning what you are teaching it is fine.  You will find that it is a point of difference between training courses on these platforms and the better your communication skills the more likely you will get the views and therefore make money.  

COURSES: Communication Skills Courses

Presentation Skills

As well as being an effective communicator you also need to think about your presentation skills.  In a physical classroom this means how you dress, how you act, the classroom setup itself and the equipment you use.

When you are teaching online it is not just how you look but also the background of your videos and background sounds.  I am trying to avoid the technical aspects like how you edit your content and stick to how you present yourself and the care you take in making sure everything is ready for students and easy to use.  We will talk about the presentation and professionalism on the technical side later.

COURSES: Presentation Skills Courses

Classroom Management

This one whether you are teaching in a classroom or online is much the same.  The students take their cue from you and how you act.  How do you encourage student engagement and how do you get the students to feel part of the class.  How do you set boundaries for students with acceptable behavior? 

Here is a course that may be of interest to you:

COURSE: Teaching Character and Creating Positive Classrooms

Here are some tips for running your first online class:

LINK: 15 Practical Tips for Teaching your First Online Class

Dispute Resolution

When you are running your online class what do you do when you have conflicts?  How do you handle these disputes and how do you do it without embarrassing your students?  This is exactly what you need to think about.  In 15 years I have never had to ask someone to leave a class whether teaching online or in the classroom.  I have had the advantage of teaching adults but the principles are the same in any age classroom.

COURSES: Conflict Resolution

Technical Skills

These skills are the ones you will need to operate the technologies to run your online classrooms including creating your training content and the administration you will need to do.

The most important technical competencies are:

  • Instructional Design
  • Web Development
  • Content Development
  • Assessment Tools
  • 1 on 1 Online Tutoring
  • Group Online Conferencing

Let’s find out what is the real importance of these skills and why you should invest effort in developing them. 

Instructional Design

This is the process of designing your material with a certain pedagogy and structure that will suit your learners whether they be K-12 or Adults.  We have all seen poorly designed training that is not logical in order or presents topics in a way that builds on previous learning.  If you have never done a course on Instructional Design there are some below you can do for free with Coursera.

COURSES: Instructional Design Courses 

Basic Web Development

Ok don’t get scared with this topic as you are not being asked to become a web developer.  This is more about understanding some of the basics of HTML and CSS so you can tweak how your training is presented on your training website.  Whether you are using a custom website or a Content Management System (CMS) or a Learning Management System (LMS) these are handy skills to have.

Two examples may be that your eLearning bundling software does something silly with your HTML start page for your course and you just need to fix how it looks with a little HTML or CSS.  You may have put a new block in using your LMS and need to change something to a custom CSS format.

If you just want to learn some of the basics of HTML and CSS I would recommend the following tutorials on W3Schools website.

TUTORIALS: Simple Tutorials on HTML and CSS

If you want some University level subjects then check out the ones below on Coursera.

UNIVERSITY COURSES: Basic Web Development Courses

And finally if you want a real community and be a full stack web developer you can look at the Free Code Camp website below.  They have facebook groups set up for most towns in the world and a live chat you can learn from peers as you go.

FULL STACK WEB DEVELOPER: Free Code Camp

Content Development

Whether you are teaching live online or through eLearning you will need to understand the content types you can use to support your live online training or to create your eLearning.  These generally revolve around using an LMS or eLearning packaging software package.  

However if you really wanted to you could develop them from scratch with web development skills while I would not recommend it.  Generally due to the higher technical skills required and the time it will take you.

I won’t link to any courses here as we will be talking about them in the Software Product Training section below.

Here is an article on all the types of eLearning Content you can create online.

ARTICLE: The Ultimate Guide to eLearning Content Types

Assessment Tools

Just like a normal classroom you can assess your students in all the normal ways with formative and summative assessments.  There are heaps of other more creative ways you can assess students online as well.

Here are a couple of articles that will show you some of these more creative ways to assess online students.

ARTICLE: 13 Ways To Assess Online Students

ARTICLE: 27 Interactive Assignment Ideas For Online Students

1 on 1 Online Tutoring

When you are delivering 1 on 1 tutoring online there are many ways you can do this depending on the subjects you are teaching.  You can start with a basic Video Chat with Whatsapp, Messenger or WeChat for instance.  Then move to remote desktop tools if you are wanting to provide direct tutoring with software on their actual computer.

The most popular online remote desktop software at the moment is Teamviewer and it has audio and live chat features.

Group Online Conferencing

This is generally where you are using Web Conferencing to deliver a lecture style training session to a group of students.  Becoming comfortable with how to use tools like Zoom or Webex will be valuable to you if you are teaching online.

If you don’t understand how to teach online then it would be wise to check out this article.

ARTICLE:  How Can I Teach Online?

Software Product Training

If you are planning on working with certain software tools then you should invest a fair amount of effort into learning how to properly use it. Below you will find some examples of applications that are worth learning. 

Articulate Storyline

Articulate Storyline (3 and 360) is an authoring tool that enables teachers to create and package eLearning training content. It features useful functions that make the whole creation process easier. If you want to improve your knowledge about this tool I strongly suggest taking a look at the Training section on the official website.  You will also find some cheap courses on Udemy as well.

Madcap Flare

MadCap Flare is a tool designed for advanced topic-based authoring, single-source publishing, and content management. It allows educators to create, edit, and manage training content for text based training materials like training manuals and online help style content. 

To learn more about how to use this application I recommend taking a look at the Training section on the MadCap website.

LMS (Moodle)

If you are planning on using a learning management system to manage your courses.   Then you should definitely spend a fair amount of time improving your knowledge on how to use all the available functions. 

You can learn more about how to use Moodle LMS by accessing the appropriate Learn section on the official website.

Windows

This is the most basic software you need to be capable of using. There are heaps of courses and materials you can take advantage of if you are planning on developing your Windows skills. For example, the Learning section of the Microsoft website contains plenty of helpful resources.  If you are not comfortable with your current skills take a brush up course.

Keeping Current

It can be quite a job keeping current when you are teaching online as well as being the expert in a field or at least knowing more than your students.  Throughout this article I have provided you with many ways to do just that.  Whether it is through social media, vendor web conferences or free online courses there are heaps of options available.

So what do I do?  In 30 mins of my dead time somewhere in the week I drill into the information on the web around a new concept or topic I don’t know a lot about.  The other thing I do is reserve 1 night a week at home to do something to better myself.  We all have constraints on our time but if your major source of income is not worth a few hours 1 night a week then you will never progress in life or may even lose your job for not staying current.

But now you should have heaps of things about you can do these two simple things to keep current with.

Glen Brown

I am a Technical Trainer and Manager with over 20 years experience in IT, Education and Business. I have multiple qualifications on each topic including post graduate qualifications. I have a passion for sharing knowledge and using technology to do this. If you would like to know more about me please see the about page of the website.

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