February 20th, 2017 Instructional Design

One common stumbling block for people creating courses is how to actually start the course.

They have a good idea for the lesson sequence, the quizzes, assignments, and interaction points, but figuring out how to first present a learner to the content can be a daunting task. You don’t want to just throw them into the content without some form of introduction.

As a general rule your introduction should cover a few key points but not get into specifics (that is what the content is for). Focus on the objectives of the course but frame them around the benefits (end result) that the learner will realize when the course is over.

To make it more personal, do this in a short video. Even if your course content is primarily text an introduction video is a great way to welcome users and to set the stage for what is to come. It also adds a “human” element to the content – something often missing from online courses.

Don’t overthink the introductory video. It should be less than five minutes (preferably two to three minutes) and restate the purpose and benefits of the course.

To do this, try the “benefits sandwich”.

It’s a straightforward, no non-sense way of kicking off your course.

First, start with a friendly hello.

Then, move onto describing the end goal. This gets people excited about the content. After describing the benefits of the course move onto the ways you will accomplish these benefits (i.e. your course objectives).

Don’t just state the objectives. Frame the objectives around common issues as they relate to the learner. Afterwards, describe the course objectives. Each objective should address one or more of the problems you just outlined. Finally, finish up by reiterating the course benefits and why they matter.

This is an easy way to get people interested in the content and excited to begin the first lesson.

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About Justin Ferriman

Justin Ferriman started LearnDash, the WordPress LMS trusted by Fortune 500 companies, major universities, training organizations, and entrepreneurs worldwide for creating (and selling) their online courses. Justin's Homepage | Twitter

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Very simple and very effective.

Avatar Steve

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