9 Steps to Perfect Course Content

Creating a course sounds easy at first, until you sit down to create it. It doesn’t take long to realize that a course takes a lot of persistence, patience, and time.

If creating a course were easy then everyone would do it. The ones that see their course through to the end have something that the others don’t have. It’s not a specific skill or even expensive resource.

They have a plan.

More accurately, they have a framework.

By using a framework you can better organize your thoughts and the course creation process comes a lot easier. I have always been a fan of the ADDIE model, but from experience I feel like it is lacking a bit. Which is why I advocate using ADDIE coupled with the following nine steps.

Gagne’s 9-Steps of Instruction

1. Gaining the learner’s attention
2. Informing the learner of the objectives
3. Stimulating recall of prior learning
4. Presenting the learning stimulus
5. Providing learning guidance
6. Eliciting appropriate performance
7. Providing feedback
8. Assessing learner performance
9. Enhancing retention and transfer

These steps used in conjunction with ADDIE form the framework for creating your course. As you build out your content make sure to check-off each step as you complete it. You should also make a note of where and how you satisfy that step.

For more information on each step see this excellent blog post by G-Cube.

You will find that as you leverage proven models like ADDIE and Gagne’s steps that the content starts to “fall into place”. You gain a clear mental map of the learner’s journey rather than creating a piecemeal experience.

One final note: you don’t have to use the instructional design models mentioned here. There are many to choose from that will prove helpful as you build out your content.


Justin Ferriman is the co-founder and CEO of LearnDash, the WordPress LMS trusted by Fortune 500 companies, major universities, training organizations, and entrepreneurs worldwide for creating (and selling) their online courses. Twitter | LinkedIn

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