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Tips to Structure and Design an Online Course

Apr 02, 2021

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If you create an online course, it can be a great way to build your business and add an additional income stream. You’ll find that a lot of thought leaders and entrepreneurs have started creating courses for just those reasons.

Once you create the course, beyond marketing it, it’s passive income that you can continue to generate.

With that in mind, structuring and designing an online course that will be user-friendly and compelling can be tricky, so the following are tips to help get you started.

The Basics
When you’re creating a course, you want your content to be well-organized. That means it needs to have a few features.

It needs to be presented logically and progressively. It also needs to be engaging but efficient.

You want to put everything together in a way that’s going to be easy to understand for your learner and is going to have a nice flow.

If you’ve never done it before, you should take a few online courses yourself to see how those flow and how they’re logically structured. You’ll see how the instructor carries you through the storyline of the course.

Put Yourself in the Shoes of the Learner
Another benefit of taking a course or maybe several before creating your own is that it helps you understand the perspective of the learner more.

People are going to buy a course because they want to learn from someone with experience, and they want to get a clear outcome or benefit from that course.

Think about how you can deliver the most value to your learner while taking up as little of their time as possible.

Get specific when you’re thinking about your targeted audience. This will help you structure your course because as you create it, you’ll have an audience you’re “speaking” to.

The Organization Process
Before you do anything to actually create a course, give yourself time to brainstorm. Write everything down that comes into your mind during this time.

A good rule of thumb is to put your ideas on sticky notes, and then you can start to sift through them when you’re ready to organize. You can put each of your ideas into related groups with one another.

Once you have these groups, these can be your primary course modules.

From there, you can create a more formalized outline of the structure of your course.

Give yourself time to create an outline and then revisit it as you give it more thought.

Go through the course in your mind and consider whether or not everything would make sense to another person and whether everything is there. You may discover that you’ve actually included too much and you could pare down the outline a bit.

After your brain dump and while you’re outlining your course, you have two big options. You can do a progressive flow, which is order dependent, or you can do a collection of content that’s not order dependent, with each tip representing its own module. In that case, each module can exist on its own as well as being part of the larger course.

Create a Template
Once you have an outline, you can get more specific with your course template.

When you’re creating the template, you want to make sure your course is going to optimize the learning experience, meet all objectives and outcomes, and is also going to guide you if you’re creating video-based content.

Within your template, you can also start to create scripts for yourself for your video or recorded content.

Involve the Learner When Possible
As you start to move out of the outline phase and into the actual writing of your course, look for places where you can involve the learner. That helps your audience build connections between your content and their real lives, which will help them feel like they’ve derived value from your course.

Maybe you have them answer questions in writing throughout the course or delve in and do their own research on a particular topic.

You can also create interactive game-style content at various points in your course.

Quizzes and problems sets involve the learner too

With the learner in mind, try to make a course that gives them control over their learning experience. We all learn differently, so make navigation user-friendly and include different types of content. You can combine videos and recorded content with written content, for example, and your audience will have options to find what best works for their learning style.

Finally, once you’ve got a draft of your course completed, ask for feedback from as many people willing to provide it as you can. You may think, for example, that you’ve created a course with a logical structure, but after getting feedback you may realize there are changes you need to make.

Finally, once you’ve got a draft of your course completed, ask for feedback from as many people willing to provide it as you can. You may think, for example, that you’ve created a course with a logical structure, but after getting feedback you may realize there are changes you need to make.

 

Meet The Author:


Susan Melony

Susan Melony

Susan is an avid writer, traveler, and overall enthusiast.
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Courtesy of NASE.org
https://www.nase.org/about-us/self-made-nase's-blog/self-made/2021/04/02/tips-to-structure-and-design-an-online-course