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11 Amazing Online Course Examples to Inspire Your Own Course

  • Matthew TurnerMatthew Turner

Updated by Tara Malone

You want to create an amazing online course, but aren’t sure how you could possibly compete with all those other online courses out there.

After all, you don’t want to waste your time creating a course that won’t sell.

But consider this. Many of the online courses out there are mediocre at best, and some of them are downright subpar.

You, on the other hand, are already experienced in what you do and desire to create a course that truly impacts your audience.

This gives you a huge advantage over the majority of people creating online courses.

So if you’re truly committed to creating an online course that has an impact, you’re in the right place.

This article will introduce you to 11 exceptional online course examples to inspire your own course-building efforts. Each one focuses on a different niche, and every one demonstrates a unique element that sets it apart from those with no reach, no engagement, and no impact.

Now let’s go check out these amazing online course examples!

11 Amazing Online Course Examples

1. Nerd Fitness Academy by Steve Kamb

Steve Kamb helps you get healthy and lose weight. But instead of trying to appeal to the masses, he specifically works with those who embrace “nerd” culture. The Nerd Fitness Academy is one of the most successful on this list.

Established over 8 years ago, 35,000 students have gone through the course.

So, why does this online course work? There’s a lot to admire about it, but the stand out feature is how Steve uses gamification to create immense engagement from his students. These are self-confessed nerds, after all, so the idea of turning their weight-loss into a game appeals to them.

You don’t complete tasks, you take part in quests. You build your own character and join a community of like-minded gamers, comic book fans, and movie nerds who want to get healthy and lose weight. 

Steve Kamb has built a service for a specific group of people. More so, he understands what they like and what motivates them.

What You Can Learn From This Online Training Example:

Make your course fun. If you want your students to actually consume your content and take action on it, you need to make it fun. Like Steve, consider how you can incorporate badges, rewards, and gifts into your course. Give them something to aim for, and give them a reason to show up day after day.

2. Writing For High Profile Publications by Dorie Clark

Author and speaker Dorie Clark has built a huge reputation over the last decade. She’s written for some of the best publications on the planet, including the Harvard Business Review, Forbes, and Inc. She knows what it takes to write for high-profile publications. She knows how to help others do the same.

However, having an established name like Dorie isn’t enough. Many people think it is, and that this is why an influencer like Dorie succeeds.

The reality is, a high-quality online course is what helps you establish authority in the first place.

Despite her experience, Dorie still needed to prove that her course was better than the others available. One of the ways she achieved this is by showing her audience what they would get.

Not the standard copywriting practices of showing the benefits, but literally highlighting the step-by-step journey you will take when you join her online training. You get to see what you get in Chapter 1, what each video focuses on, and the other resources that accompany them. This establishes instant trust.

What You Can Learn From This Online Training Example:

Show your audience what they will get. Break down step-by-step what’s inside, and show them the overall journey they will take. Don’t worry about hiding this or sharing too much. Open the door for your audience and let them see what’s on the other side.

3. The Handtool School by Shannon Rogers

Shannon Rogers achieves what both Dorie Clark and Steve Kamb did above: appeal to a specific niche and establish immediate trust by showing what’s inside the course.

Woodwork training won’t appeal to the masses, but those who want to learn how to do it need tangible advice. They need to be shown what to do and when, so it’s an ideal candidate for an online training course. Like Dorie, Shannon Rogers shows his students what they will get once they enroll.

Yet he goes one better than Dorie by producing a short “highlights reel” of each lesson. It breaks down exactly what you get inside the lesson, as well as showing how the whole course is laid out.

Yet the standout feature of The Handtool School is the use of Semesters.

There’s a specific journey that takes you from beginner to expert. This provides a relevant course for everyone, no matter how experienced they are. It gives the student a roadmap, literally showing them how they can evolve from where they are to where they want to be.

What You Can Learn From This Online Training Example:

No matter who your student is, they have a desire to grow. By giving them access to different levels, you create an attainable journey for them that sets your course apart from the rest. Wherever possible, think about how you break up your course so it isn’t overwhelming.

More so, ensure you give them what they need when they need it.

4. How To Write a Novel by Joanna Penn

A true success story of the self-publishing era, Joanna Penn not only knows how to write a good book, but how to publish and market it. She offers several eLearning course examples for both fiction and non-fiction authors, and each course offers the same high quality.

Like Dorie Clark, Joanna shows her potential students what they get. Yet what stands out in her online courses is the use of expert interviews, case studies and masterclasses.

After a decade of writing and publishing both via the traditional and self-publishing route, Joanna has established a strong network of writers, publishers, editors, and agents. She gives you access to them via her courses, meaning you not only tap into her expertise but other experts’ too.

What You Can Learn From This Online Training Example:

Your students may purchase your course because of your expertise, but that isn’t to say you can’t add further value by involving others. You may have access to people your students don’t. Involve them. You can create immense authority through guest interviews, masterclasses, and live events.

5. Land a Job You Love by Charlie Hoehn

Charlie Hoehn is an author and keynote speaker who’s worked with the likes of Tim Ferris, Tucker Max, Remit Sethi, and Gary Vaynerchuk. He speaks and advises on several subjects, but one of his core strengths surrounds Career Building.

His online course Land a Job You Love is a testament to this.

There’s a lot to love about this online training example, but one of the standout features is how Charlie structures everything around his S.T.A.G.E.S Technique.

From the sales copy to the course material itself, his S.T.A.G.E.S Technique appears everywhere. It’s the basis of his online course, and it’s a genius way of structuring, selling and promoting an online course.

What You Can Learn From This Online Training Example:

As well as proving value, make your students’ lives as easy as possible. They face a lot of information each day. You need to stand out from the white noise, and get a clear message through that removes uncertainty. Having a technique, method or process helps achieve this.

It’s memorable, easy to communicate and above all… scaleable.

6. The 90 Day Year by Todd Herman

When you join Todd Herman’s flagship program, you know what journey awaits you. You will, for 90 days, work towards the goals you set. Everything involved centers around these 90 days.

You embark on a specific journey. There’s ascension as you start at the bottom of the mountain and are shown what awaits you at the top. Day-by-day, week-on-week, month-after-month… there’s a clear customer journey designed for you.

Like Charlie Hoehn, Todd Herman ensures his course sticks in your mind. You may not know all the details. You don’t need to know all the details! What you do know is that you’ll achieve rapid progress over a 90 day period.

What You Can Learn From This Online Training Example:

No matter what your course is, the journey you take your student on is key. There needs to be a clear ascension up the mountain, guiding them from where they are to where they want to be.

Make it easy for them. Remove all doubt. Ensure they knew exactly what their journey looks like.

Make it clear and attainable. Uncertainty is the barrier that stops many people from buying. Remove this by showing them how powerful the journey ahead is.

7. The Badass Brand Squad by Desislava Dobreva

This is an online course example that demonstrates how powerful a course can be when you transform it into so much more. Desislava Dobreva focuses everything around her community. She makes it about the collective, above any one individual.

A strong community is often at the heart of any successful online course. It creates accountability, shared knowledge and empathy. Above all, there’s a sense of competition and desire to keep up with everyone else in the community.

Desislava provides a huge vault of content and course material, but at no point is the focus on the content. It will have a huge impact on her students, but only if they first integrate with the wider community. 

This approach establishes trust and engagement, but also the foundation for a strong referral system. The community takes on a life of its own, selling on your behalf and showing up when you need them to. You just have to follow Desislava on Facebook to see how her students turn up for her, promote her, and endorse her far and wide.

What You Can Learn From This Online Training Example:

Whoever your audience is, they are people; human beings!

We’re a social species attracted to strong communities of like-minded individuals. We often learn, progress and grow faster when surrounded by others. It creates a sense of belonging, but also competition. Building a strong community won’t only serve them, but also lay much stronger foundations for you.

8. YouTube For Bosses by Sunny Lenarduzzi

One of the biggest differences between an online course that succeeds versus one that doesn’t is the Big Promise on offer.

If someone enrolls in your course, what will they achieve after they take it?

This not only needs to be powerful, but simple and clear. Sunny Lenarduzzi does this with her YouTube For Bosses course.

  • This course takes 4 hours.
  • If you follow it step-by-step, you’ll rank page #1 on YouTube
  • This will bring you more views, subscribers and business.

This is Sunny’s promise to you. It’s simple. It’s clear.

So… What promise do you make to your students?

What You Can Learn From This Online Training Example:

If your online course doesn’t provide a strong, clear promise… it’s likely too complicated.

Instead of trying to solve every problem under one course, split it up into semesters like Shannon Rogers does. Keep it simple. Have a clear message and a clear promise that’s both attainable and impactful.

9. Tribe Writers by Jeff Goins

It’s important to create an online course that solves a specific pain for your students. However, they will often have multiple pain points. So if you can solve a few of these with a single course, it’s worth considering.

This may seem to contradict the previous point, but it doesn’t. It’s a fine line for sure because you don’t want to overcomplicate your course.

Yet if you get this right, the results can be powerful. Jeff Goins is a great example of this, as he hit a true home run with his Tribe Writers program.

This 12 step process is a fantastic example of mapping out your student’s journey. Yet Jeff doesn’t focus on one pain, but rather two.

  1. Writing and finding your voice
  2. Publishing your writing and building an audience

No matter what a writer writes, these two pain points follow them everywhere. It isn’t enough to be a good writer. You must also build a tribe and get your writing seen. The opposite is also true, as good marketing won’t fix poor writing.

Jeff Goins helps his students overcome both of these problems, ensuring they develop a platform that aids their writing for years to come. He promises to solve two painful problems while keeping his entire message and journey clear and simple.

What You Can Learn From This Online Training Example:

You need to know your audience on a deep level. The better you know them the more you’ll understand and appreciate what keeps them up at night. Often their biggest pain will come accompanied with 1-2 other pain-points. Think about how you can solve them all — so long as you don’t overwhelm!

10. Kill The Chaos by Charles Byrd

This online course example focuses less on the course itself and more on how Charles Byrd promotes it. The Kill the Chaos online course ticks off many of the boxes we’ve already focused on in this article. Yet it’s how Charles built his audience that truly stands out.

Through Joint Ventures and Webinars, he’s created a vast network of partnerships. 

It’s important to remember that your online course is only the first step. It’s often the easiest step too, because what comes next is ensuring the right people hear about it.

Unless you already have a  massive audience, you’ll need to grow it. A great way to achieve this is by tapping into other people’s audiences. Through association, you build immediate trust.

Webinars and JV’s don’t seem to have the same appeal or impact as they did a few years ago, but they’re still one of the best ways to build your audience and get your online course in front of the right people.

What You Can Learn From This Online Training Example:

Think about who your audience already follows. Sometimes this will be a competitor of yours, yet often it will be someone who provides a service that compliments your own. For example, if you’re a copywriter, you could form partnerships with people who focus on online advertising, funnel creation, or social media marketing.

Don’t get fixated on the size of their audience, either. It’s much better to form a partnership with someone who has a small but engaged audience than a large yet generic one.

11. B School by Marie Forleo

Finally, this has to be one of the finest online course examples available. Over the last decade, Marie Forleo hasn’t just built an audience, but rather a cult following. Fans of Marie follow her without question. 

In short, she’s developed a movement!

This is, of course, easier to say than do. Few people achieve cult status as Marie has, but it is possible to do if you create a conscious journey for your audience. When her B School program opens each year, you cannot escape the dozens of influencers who take part in her joint venture strategy.

It doesn’t stop with influencers, though. It’s her existing students that lead the charge.

Whatever course you build, approach it with the intent of building a movement that grows way beyond you.

Marie Forleo provides a powerful example of how this is done. Today, she reaps the rewards as hundreds of people sell her course for her.

Yet it began with her developing immense trust with her audience. She got to know them. She created content for them. She solved their problems.

Not everyone will build a movement as large as hers, but the opportunity to create something bigger than just a course is available to you! What Marie has achieved with her course, and what everyone else on this list has is something you can draw great inspiration from.

So… here’s what you can do right now to set your own course up for great success.

Use These Online Course Examples to Inspire You to Take Action

Creating a successful online course requires much more than a good idea, or an established brand or name. These 11 online course examples show you how to go above and beyond to create a course that really impacts your audience.

So if you’re serious about creating a great course, I challenge you to revisit each one of those examples and take the following actions:

  1. Spend at least 5-10 minutes on each page, studying their sales copy and course structure.
  2. Highlight section that stands out to you, and consider what will work for your course.
  3. Where possible, buy or try out 2-3 of the courses on this list to literally see how they do it.

Take these steps today, and you too will be on your way to creating amazing online course before you know it!

If you would like more help with designing your online course, you may be interested in the Hybrid Courses Bootcamp, which teaches you exactly how to create, market, and profit from your own online course.

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2 thoughts on 11 Amazing Online Course Examples to Inspire Your Own Course

Amar Kumar

Hello Matthew,

In world of E-learning field – Interaction is crucial when it comes to connection with active learning concept.

Online training experiences are only effective if they are worth remembering.

One of the most effective ways to increase engagement is to make the online training experience personal and practical.

Thanks for putting these worthy tips for us.

With best wishes,

Amar Kumar

Tara Malone

Thanks for writing in, Amar. That’s very true, an online course that’s personalized and also practical is so much more engaging for students!

Comments are closed.