Online courses are more popular than ever. They are an excellent way for people to gain valuable skills, and individuals use them to learn new information and enhance their professional development no matter where they live.
Businesses and online colleges use them for marketing purposes, to boost sales, and to create a recurring revenue stream. Getting a training course accredited is one of the best ways to make your course stand out. Your course will be seen as more credible and valuable if it is accredited by a higher organization or educational institute. This will make it more likely that people will choose to enroll in your course.
This post will provide you with the steps you need to know to gain accreditation for your online course, as well as how you can create an accredited online course using Sensei LMS.
What Is Accreditation and Why Does It Matter?
Accreditation is the formal recognition of an institution or individual’s quality of education, and it’s usually awarded by a prestigious external institution.
This is important because it helps people know which courses they should take. There is a lot of oversaturation when it comes to online learning, and it’s hard to know which courses contain high-quality information from an expert source.
An accredited course will stand out from those that are not. In fact, many online learners will narrow their search and only look for accredited courses, especially in specialized fields like accountancy, healthcare, computer science, and information technology.
Students across the world want quality courses, and accredited courses will attract them. When experts review your course, and it meets their high standards, it is an easier sell.
Many types of courses can get accredited, from certificate programs to further education programs, degree programs, webinars, and more. Whether you are offering a bachelor’s degree or simply an online training course, accreditation can make a big difference to the success of your course.
Since accreditation will give you an edge over the competition, you will have more leeway to charge more for your courses and increase your revenue.
Your accreditation status can also help increase student satisfaction and retention. They know they are spending time and money on a course that is worth their while, which means they are more likely to put effort into completing it and return for more.
How to Get a Course Accredited (6-Step Guide)
There are six main steps you should follow to get your course accredited. By following these steps, you’ll be on track to getting your course recognized.
Step 1: Identify the Most Suitable Institutions
Not all accreditations are equal. It’s much more effective to get recognition from well-known accrediting agencies. There are different ways to approach this, and you could look at a range of regional institutions, national institutions, and international accrediting bodies. You can also look at institutions that focus on your specific field of study.
Here are some places to begin:
- American National Standards Institute – Founded in 1918, this non-profit organization oversees standards in the United States.
- Institution for Credentialing Excellence – A professional membership association that provides resources for individuals and organizations in the credentialing industry.
- British Accreditation Council – The BAC has been setting standards in higher education for over 30 years, providing accreditation to training providers and colleges in the UK and overseas.
- Continuing Professional Development Certification Service – Established in 1996, the CPD Certification Service provides accreditation across various industries around the world.
- European Agency for Higher Education and Accreditation – Provides international accreditation for online and traditional courses to demonstrate that the course is up to global standards.
- European Center of Independent Certification in E-Learning – ECICEL is an international association established in 2010 that provides accreditation for online and e-learning providers when education providers show they meet its standards.
If none of the above meet your needs, you can also search for accredited organizations at the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).
Step 2: Understand the Requirements and Prepare Accordingly
Whichever institution you approach for accreditation, it’s important to remember that they will all have their own accreditation standards and procedures to follow when you apply to get your course accredited.
You may have to send in certain documents, and you might have to incorporate specific processes into your course and meet certain quality standards in terms of the content.
They all have different accreditation processes, so spend some time researching the specific requirements of the accreditation center you are considering. Contact them and ask if you are unsure, as you could waste time trying to get accreditation when you don’t meet the requirements.
Even though every institution is slightly different, you can expect to find some steps in common:
- Preparing documents that show your financial stability.
- Ensuring you can provide references and recommendations that demonstrate your qualifications or expertise.
- Demonstrating that your business, academy, or non-profit has been functioning for a minimum period.
- Ensuring the instructors of the course meet the qualification requirements.
- Showing that your organization has a clearly defined management structure.
- Demonstrating that the content of the course is up to date and that the quality is of a high standard so that students can learn important concepts and applicable skills.
The tools you use to build your online course make a big difference, as you need to be able to build your course to the highest quality possible. It should also be easy to scale your course as needed, such as by supporting more registrations, embedding lots of media to your lessons, or increasing the amount of material in your course.
The two tools we recommend above all others for online course building are WordPress and Sensei.
Why WordPress? Because it is the most popular CMS in the world, it gives you complete freedom to customize your website, you get full control over it, and it’s easy enough for anyone to use.
Why Sensei? Because it is from Automattic, the same team behind WordPress.com. It’s a simple plugin to install and use, but it’s incredibly powerful. Sensei makes it easy to build professional training courses, and it comes complete with an extensive suite of features so you can create quality courses that sell.
The plugin is designed to work natively with WordPress, meaning the workflow you use to create a course is exactly the same as you get in standard WordPress. This of course makes it much easier for you to set up your course, and it saves you time as you don’t need to learn how to use a new interface from scratch.
Some of Sensei’s most-loved features include:
- A theme that’s optimized for learning, which makes it easy and enjoyable for students to find the information they need.
- Creating a course is made simple with Sensei. You can quickly create a professional course complete with image galleries, videos, slideshows, and other types of content so students can learn more effectively.
- You can use content drip features to schedule when particular lessons become available to students, like on a particular date or after a set period.
- Powerful quizzes you can create and associate with an individual lesson, making it easy to test students.
- Advanced grading system where instructors can quickly filter quizzes and manually grade a lesson so students can show their competency level.
- Many additional features that will make your online courses more enjoyable and effective, like providing certifications, using additional material like videos and PDFs, and converting blog posts into courses.
Sensei has got it all covered when it comes to creating online courses. So if you want to know how to get your training program accredited, it is a great option.
Step 3: Use Engaging Content
Once you have decided on a tool to create your course and have a good idea about what the accrediting institution is looking for, it’s time to put it together. This is where the content really counts.
The content in your course should be:
- Genuinely helpful to students
It should also be engaging. A dull course won’t help students learn. One way to make the course more interesting is to use different types of content.
With Sensei, you can use multiple media forms when creating your course materials, which are very easy to set up, such as videos, slideshows, PDFs, and more.
Using interactive Sensei Blocks, you can easily set up an engaging course for students.
Blocks are interactive features that can be added to any WordPress page, post, or lesson. They include the Interactive Videos Block, which you can use to add videos easily to your lessons; the Question Block, where you can add a question and provide feedback instantly; the Flashcard Block, which you can use to break up the content and require an interaction; the Image Hotspot Block, where you can add additional information to an image including text, audio, videos and more; and the Tasklist Block, where users can check off items in a list.
Step 4: Track Student Progress and Assessments
Another useful feature of Sensei is the ability to track student progress. This will be important when it comes to getting accreditation for the course, and you need to be able to show that students are being assessed accurately.
With Sensei, you can set up advanced quizzes for modules and then use grading so the instructor can quickly and accurately assess student progress.
Student management is also easy thanks to the ability to create student cohorts and groups in your course.
Step 5: Offer Easy Payments and Certifications
You should make everything easy for your students, including paying for the course. With Sensei, you can easily set up secure payments so students from anywhere in the world can pay to access your course material. Because the plugin integrates with WooCommerce and its many extensions, it’s easy for you to choose between different pricing models, or offer multiple ways for students to access your course.
For example, by integrating Sensei with WooCommerce Payments, you could charge a one-time fee to access your course for unlimited access.
Another option could be to offer a subscription-based model by integrating Sensei with WooCommerce Subscriptions. This may be suitable for long-term courses, like language courses and other skill-based courses.
Sensei allows you to test different pricing models to find an option that works best for your business.
Step 6: Apply to the Institutions
These steps provide a rundown of prerequisites for creating a course that can get accredited, and illustrate how you can use Sensei to help you achieve accreditation.
Once you have completed the course and it meets the quality assurance requirements, and you have the required documents, it’s time to start applying to the institutions.
Most institutions will have clear steps in place for how to go about this. It may begin by submitting an inquiry or application form along with your contact information, or you may be able to submit documents directly.
Your course will then normally be inspected and vetted. You may be asked to provide additional information, and hopefully, it will be accredited.
Create Your Accredited Course with Sensei LMS
Anyone can create a course these days, and with so many courses to choose from, people will naturally turn to accredited providers of online courses. If you want your course to stand out, attract more and better students, and increase your sales, you should consider trying to get your course accredited.
Sensei LMS makes creating a course straightforward, so you can meet the best practices required for accreditation. With the ability to add interactive features, track student progress, and award certifications, your courses will be engaging and high-quality, which will improve your chances of getting your course accredited by a respected institution.
Get started with Sensei today and create courses that stand out.