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How To Create An Online Course

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  1. Welcome To How To Create An Online Course
    1 Topic
  2. Start Here: Building An Effective Course
    6 Topics
  3. Fundamentals Of Creating An Online Course
    8 Topics
  4. What Do You Need To Create An Online Course?
    6 Topics
  5. Setting The Stage For Your Online Course
    7 Topics
  6. How To Create An Online Course
    8 Topics
  7. What To Do After Your Course Goes Live
    4 Topics
  8. A Summary Of Creating An Online Course
    1 Topic
Lesson Progress
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Now that you have clearly identified your course destination, it makes sense that you map out
how your students will actually get there.

You want to lead your students on a journey. You’ll take them down a path to a destination, that joins to another path, and another…and so on …all the way to their final destination.

If the journey is long, then you might group paths logically so that they can focus on completing
only part of the journey at a time.

In your course, each “module” will take your students down one path and you can group these modules logically together into “sections”. This will form a map of their journey called a “course outline”.

I find the best way to create a course outline is to start big and then go small. So let’s start with the logical “sections”.

Now my course learning objective and destination was to “create stunning portrait paintings on your iPad”. So I need to think about what makes sense as section objectives to get there.

  • First I’d want to teach my students to be able to “use an iPad to paint”.
  • And then be able to “Paint the head”
  • And finally I want the portraits to be stunning so I want them to be able to “Take their portraits to the next level”

As you can see, each section builds on each other and they are logically separate.

Once the sections are in place you can work out the modules with them needed to meet the section objective.

I think in most cases a good module only has one concept. That way you can create a “very” clear learning objective for each module. This will also make it easier for your students to consume, and refer to later if they need to.

Let’s look at the section where I want me student to be able to “Paint the head” and work out the
modules. I am thinking to paint a head it would be good to understand the structure of the head and then the parts.

So the modules might be:

  • “Understanding the proportions of the head”
  • Then “Painting eyes”
  • Then “Painting ears”, “Painting skin”, and “Painting hair”
  • And a final module in the section called “Painting your first portrait” where they get to pull it all

Play around and think through the order of the modules so that the journey makes sense. You don’t always need to build up in complexity.

For example I may want my students to paint their first portrait in the first module to help them identify issues, then loop back around to painting another portrait at the end of the section so that they can see improvements.

Also another advantage of breaking down your sections into modules with one concept is that it makes it easier to edit, such as reorder and add to.

So if I need to add a “Painting lips” module later then I could more easily slot that in.

Once you have all the modules down and grouped into sections it’s good to wrap it all up in an intro and outro section to tie it all together.

The introduction section is where you can have a module to introduce yourself, thank your students for starting the course and outline at a high level what is coming up. You may even want to add another module if further context setting is required.

The outro section you’ll want a summary to wrap up the course, talk about next steps and thank your students for participating.

You may also like to apply this intro / outro shell to your sections so you can outline what is coming up at the beginning and to tie everything together at the end of each section.

Creating a course outline is kind of like doing a jigsaw puzzle.

You might find that as you put the pieces down you have put one in the wrong spot and you have to move it. Or, you have some gaps and you need to work out what pieces are needed to fill it.

It’s also a good idea step back and make sure all the pieces work together to create the complete picture. You only want the pieces you need – no more no less.

If you find that your course is too big then reconsider your course learning objective.

You may not have been specific enough or maybe to serve your audience better you need to split your
course into smaller more achievable courses such as a beginner and then an intermediate

And just like naming your course, you may want to add some feeling or sense of story when you name your sections and modules.

Your audience will be able to see your course outline before they sign up and they will want to
“feel” like you are taking them on the right journey.

Once you have created your course outline it is time to “stop”, so you can validate and refine it with some of your audience.

You can even pre-sell your course at this stage by only sharing the course outline. That way you don’t do the hard work of building your course unless you get enough interest.

You may even initially, only want to work on a section of the course that can standalone.

You can give this away as a taster course in exchange for a highly targeted audience email list, which you can then use to sell the full course to.


Having solid course outline will ensure that you can take your students on journey down the best paths to meet their learning needs.

Action For You

Map your students journey by creating a course outline and ensure each module has a clear learning objective.

Let Us Know In The Comments

Will you be validating your course outline and pre-selling your course?




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