The Best Way to Organize Online Course Content
Now that you’ve decided that you want to create an online course, you’ll need to know more about the next steps.
Before you jump into building your course you need to start with a solid foundation. That foundation starts with organizing you course content. You may be eager to get your course out to the people who need it the most but sometimes your course idea doesn’t translate well enough for others to consume. This is where a course outline becomes invaluable.
Creating a course outline will help you return to the basics so that you can structure your course using clear building blocks for success. This makes information easier for your learners to digest.
Here are three steps for organizing content with a course outline plus a few bonus tips.
Determine your course objective.
A course objective is a measurable goal that you expect your learners to achieve at close of your course.
This could be something like “build a website in a weekend” or “ complete the first five chapters of your novel”. These are clear and measurable course objectives.
Setting your course objective will provide clarity for your course by limiting the material you will cover. This focus will also help you identify and market to your ideal audience.
Make your course objective manageable by breaking it down into checkpoints
Once you’ve determined your course objective, it’s time to list out the steps needed to get there—the checkpoints.
When you review your checkpoints, they should form the major stepping stones for your course outline. The milestones are the big picture view of your course. Looking at them, you should be able to readily trace the outline of your course.
When it comes to creating your course, you will quickly be able to convert your checkpoints into section headers. This will help your learners understand where the course is headed, and how much content they will have to master to achieve their goal.
List the actionable steps for achieving each checkpoint
With your checkpoints in place, your next step is to connect the dots. Start by identifying the actionable steps that are necessary to reach the course objective. Without good checkpoints, you’ll find yourself jumping down unnecessary rabbit holes that may not directly lead to the overall course objective.
When it comes to creating your course, these action steps will form the individual lessons of your program. If you need to become more detailed, think about the topics and quizzes you would add to each lesson, and flesh out your course as necessary. You can save excess information for blog posts, supplementary courses, and support material.
Course Outline Tips
- Avoid overwhelming your learners with too much information all at once. Learners, especially newbies, are easily confused and can experience course overload more quickly.
- Contemplate the difference between essential course information and what is bonus content. Essential information will stay inline with the course objective while bonus content will expand their knowledge beyond the objective.
- Explore asynchronous learning options within your course outline. This can include webinars or video lessons to keep learners engaged.
- Offer support with live learning sessions, office hours, or groups to keep learners on track.
Having a course outline is the foundation for creating any course. It provides organizational benefits that make your course easier to complete. Additionally, your learners appreciate a well-structured course that provides the information that they need.