What Subjects Can I Teach Online?

The question of what you can teach online comes up all the time. This brief article will explain to you exactly what you can teach online. Over 20 years in IT and education I have seen most methods of teaching online.

Every subject can have an online component even for very hands on subjects like building, electrical and carpentry. The theory portion for all subjects is definitely teachable online. The rest of a subject can also be taught online if you think creatively.

The biggest problem people have when looking at how they can teach literally anything online is they can not see how they could do that with physical skills.

So lets look at real examples of how you can teach online for most subjects:

  • Online Theory
  • Demonstration Videos
  • Recording Student Skills
  • Timeline Photos
  • Connecting Hardware Remotely
  • Third Party Sign Off
  • Uploading Completed Work
  • Posting Completed Work
  • Testing Videos
  • Before and After Videos
  • Audio Recording
  • Time Lapse Photography
  • Third Party Testing Centers

Keep in mind there are still a few subject due to health and safety where a fully online course may not be enough and they may need an on site trainer.

Online Theory

This is quite a simple example and something most people are doing to teach their subjects online today for all subjects. No matter what the subject there is always a theoretical component before the hands on training commences. This can easily be built into eLearning for future students.

Demonstration Videos

The teachers for any task can provide demonstration videos on how a task is to be completed as a screen cast or being filmed with a hands on task. Online Cooking Tutorial videos are a perfect example of this. And if you have ever tried to do a hand man task around the house and looked it up on the internet first you will have seen one of these types of videos.

Recording Student Skills

With mobiles and go-pros everywhere these days it has become increasingly easy for students to record themselves completing a task. There are heaps of mobile phone stands for sitting your mobile into to use like a video camera. They can upload this video of them completing the task to the Learning Management System(LMS) for review.

Timeline Photos

This is a quite interesting one for tasks that are completed over time where the student can take individual photos of their work as evidence of completion at each stage. While it does not stop other people from helping them complete the work the same student rules you have in place for submitting only their own work apply. If someone is writing an assignment in word and has someone else do the assignment is the same as if they are building a drone as their subject project.

Connecting Hardware Remotely

You can easily have any hardware that is IP addressable connected by the student for teachers to review their work. This would be any Internet of Things IOT device as well as many other things that could be connected via a 3g phone wifi. Lift control, Air conditioners, Fridges, PLCs, SCADA Systems, Cars and much more. If it has an IP address you can review it and program it remotely. Teachers can also make expensive equipment accessible remotely to students in the same way.

If a device is not available remotely because it is not IP addressable some simple Process Control Hardware can be added at the teacher side to then make it available. Water tanks, pumps, valves and motors are examples.

Third Party Sign Off

You have delivered all of you theory online to a student and all they need to show is the practical component but the result can not be recorded on a video. An example of this could be backing a cake. The smell and taste are important in cooking and not something we can record yet without expensive equipment. So why not get a Third Party to sign off completion like an already qualified Chef. This is how most apprenticeships are done these days already and this type of system works well.

Uploading Completed Work

With pretty much everything these days having a software package that allows back ups the ability to back up a project and upload your work is a reality of online training already.

Posting Completed Work

Why not allows students to post in completed work as long as the size and cost of shipping is not prohibitive. This is a great way for teachers to review their completed real world tasks and for them to keep as evidence or to send back to the student.

Testing Videos

Once the student builds something how about you get them to record a video of them testing it. To show it works as expected. This works for hanging a door or turning on a tap to show the pipes are plumbed properly.

Before and After Videos

Some skills you can record a before and after video when the task itself takes a long time to complete. So you can see how a car is running before had and after it has been tuned to show the results of the work.

Audio Recording

The best way for a musician to show their skills is an audio recording or for someone to show their ability speaking a new language. This can also be used to get the student to explain a process they have learned about in there own words. This can also be used to show any other verbal skills. Since everyone’s voice is unique this makes for a great form off evidence.

Time Lapse Photography

Say the goal of the online training is to grow a crop of weat or something that will take weeks to complete. This could be a done similar to the time line photos above. But where the time line photos could be taken anywhere of anything. Time Lapse photography using a mobile placed in the same position and taking a single photo per day is a great source of evidence of completion of the practical task associated with the online theory.

Third Party Testing Centers

Just like there are third party testing centers for computer skills like Prometric there are licensing bodies in most areas that could sign off on student skills as well. Like for learning to drive or pilot a boat. Why not create a training partnership with them and not only do they get trained but certified or licensed at the same time.


Once you start digging into all the options you can see that most subject can actually be taught online and by getting a little creative you can teach more people online and remotely than you through would normally be possible. I hope this opens your eyes to what is possible and you incorporate some of this into your online learning programs.

What Next?

If you can now see a path to teaching online with your subject how about you look at some of the methods of teaching online in this article.

Article : How can I teach online?

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.

Recent Posts