Why eCourses are in demand [Updated: January 2023]

Books on a desk with an apple

If you’re looking for a way to share your skillset with an eager audience, you’re probably aware that there are eCourses on everything from arts and crafts to coding a website. But what exactly is an eCourse and how does it compare to teaching in a classroom? Read on to find out.

What is an eCourse?

An eCourse - short for electronic course, also called an online course or online training - is a way for someone to share their expertise with others through online learning tools using mediums like video, audio and e-books.

How can eCourses be used?

Online training can be applied to virtually any topic, whether it’s making music, cake-decorating, film-editing, entrepreneurship or business. If people want to learn about it, it can more than likely be the topic of an eCourse.

eCourses vs. the classroom

Online training courses offer a couple of advantages over traditional classroom courses. While courses taught in-person in a classroom require the instructor and the students to be physically present in the same place at the same time, eCourses allow people from all around the world to learn from the comfort of their home, office, or anywhere else they can access the internet.

With online training, there’s no commute, and in some cases, eCourses are available on-demand so students have the flexibility to learn on their schedule and instructors don’t have to plan their days around specific class times.

Plus, because eCourses are location-independent, they can attract a broader segment of students than a course taught locally. Students also get the chance to learn from instructors anywhere in the world, and teachers are able to share their knowledge globally.

Why eCourses are so in demand

Even before the pandemic, online education has been becoming mainstream. With the advent of Zoom and similar, the technology behind online communication and learning has been significantly improving and online courses have become more popular.

Now the global lockdown has lifted, learning a new skill -- whether for personal or professional reasons -- in the comfort of your own home has become increasingly appealing for those who want to become experts in their field and the flexibility of eCourses makes this possible.

Common types of eCourses

There are two basic types of eCourses, categorized by the timing of the content that is offered to students/members. On-demand eCourses allow more flexibilty to suit the schedule of the student, while live eCourses allow for a more personal, hands-on approach to teaching:

On-demand eCourses

These are training programs that are available on-demand and do not require the student or the instructor to participate on a specific day or at a specific time. The instructor creates course content and makes it available to suit the student’s timeline.

These could include instructional videos, audio recordings, worksheets, e-books, written tutorials, or a combination of formats. Depending on the eCourse, the instructor might be available to answer questions or provide feedback. In some cases, the learning could be entirely self-guided without any interaction with the instructor.


Live eCourses

Some eCourses are offered virtually and also have a real-time component made possible through Zoom video-conferencing, a live chat, Facebook group, or a Microsoft Teams meeting.

This is a more personal way to learn and interact with the instructor or other students. One thing to keep in mind when looking into live courses is that they can be hard to coordinate due to students’ schedules or different timezones. Still, direct engagement with your audience can be worth the extra effort as it can help reduce churn (i.e. customers cancelling the membership_.

Creators with successful eCourses

At Memberful, we’ve seen the success of eCourses first hand. Here are some examples of educators who have successful membership based eCourses:

  • Floral designer Kelly Perry launched Team Flower in 2014. Team Flower is an educational platform where professional florists can learn to grow and scale their businesses.
  • Fine-art portrait photographer Sue Bryce created Sue Bryce Education, a community of thousands of photographers around the world learning to create and grow a profitable portrait photography business.

Reasons to create an eCourse to market your business

  • Boost customer loyalty: Members who’ve interacted with you via an eCourse may be more inclined to stick with your membership program once they’ve engaged with you and experienced the value of what you offer firsthand. This is where virtual live events can really help to boost engagement.
  • Position yourself as an industry expert: Teaching an educational course shows a level of competency in your field. This can help pave the way to other opportunities such as media interviews, speaking engagements, or partnerships with other industry leaders. Even after taking your eCourse, some members may still hire you to do the thing you’ve taught them to do because they perceive you as a leader in that space.
  • Create upselling opportunities: Members who complete your educational course successfully may be interested in purchasing other, higher-priced products from you such as mastermind groups, in-person retreats, or additional eCourses.

How to generate passive income with eCourses

Online training courses that are available on-demand can provide content creators with a passive revenue stream. Once the course content is created, the instructor might spend some time answering questions related to the content, but self-guided eCourses can generate sales again and again. This approach is much more scalable than teaching an in-person course or providing one-on-one coaching.

Ready to get started? Here’s a how to guide for adding eCourses to your membership site.

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