How to create your online course curriculum

Course creators often struggle with online course curriculum which is the core of everything in your course creation journey. Most often, they...

Written by Sinwan Zahid · 4 min read >
girl enjoying how to make online course curriculum

Course creators often struggle with online course curriculum which is the core of everything in your course creation journey.

Most often, they don’t come from a teaching and education background, so it’s a relatively new experience. And due to this, they tend to overcomplicate it.

Luckily, the process is pretty easy once you work on your first online course curriculum. I’ve put together some fairly simple steps with which you can approach this task without completely abandoning the idea of creating a successful course.

Here’s how to create a meaningful online course curriculum for your students 👇

1. Identify a learner persona 🔍

If your goal is to create a life-transforming course people swear by, you’ve first got to know your learners. If you release a course that doesn’t cater to a targeted audience, and instead targets the general population, chances are your course may not resonate strongly with anyone. And in that case, it won’t sell.

Another important point to note here is also to not generalize among groups of people by saying that, for example, as a motivational coach your learner persona is management professionals. Management professionals have all kinds of challenges – and your job is to identify and specify which 10 of those 1000 problems you can help with.

  • Ask yourself who these learners are, where they can be found, are you aware of their struggles, and how you can help them with your expertise.
Source: Freepik

📝 Read: 10 easy ways to increase your course sales

2. Get to know them 🙋‍♀️

In case you already have your learner audience, that still doesn’t mean you should stop there. Even though you might know their struggles on the surface, asking them about their struggles in a personalized manner might help you dig under that surface and identify legitimate pain points.

Circulate a survey that checks in with your audience and asks them (a) basic demographic questions (age, gender, location, education) and, (b) ask what they are struggling with.

💡 You can carry out surveys, polls, send out emails, write a thoughtful blog/social media or community group post addressing your audience and ask them to be direct about where they face problems and how you can help.

A motivational coach would ideally ask management professionals:

  1. How many employees they’re managing,
  2. In what ways is managing employees becoming a challenge, and
  3. What would they like to change about their current situation.

Count these questions into your survey and you will gain much more insight about your existing audience or even a new audience!

3. Scan for shared pain points 👀

Once you have surveyed your audience, you should start looking for commonalities or a theme in the answers pertaining to their struggles in the niche.

For example, if you asked them what they struggle with and a large portion of the answers say “managing a team and senior management together is quite stressful”, then you’ve identified a pain point and can further pursue it. Dedicate time to going through the forms and it’s advisable you have a notepad to take down all consistent points as a list.

4. Establish an outcome ✅

When you have a list of common pain points, get straight to business. At this moment, review them and see which ones are:
(a) the most important to you,
(b) what you teach best, and
(c) most prevalent among your learner answers.

This will allow you to create an online course curriculum that you believe in and that is also fit for your students.

A good rule of thumb is to narrow these pain points to 4 or 5 and start working on their outcomes. Continuing our motivation coach example. Let’s assume these management professionals have been trying months for a promotion but don’t seem to get it somehow.

The aforementioned information can easily help you establish an outcome and transformation for your course, which can be the following: Teach learners negotiation and success strategies to bump their promotions chances by 70%.

See how this includes the result your learners want to see, but it is something that you’re great at delivering. Similarly, take all other points you’ve listed down and craft outcomes for them. If incase you are unable to assign outcomes to a point, it might be a weak point to begin with – so drop it.

See more: How to Determine Course Market Fit for Your Digital Course

5. Outline transformational steps 🚀

Congratulations, you’ve decided on your outcomes and now you can finally start working on the curriculum. In order to match the outcomes with your online course curriculum, you should be able to outline how your learners will get from point A to B.

online course curriculum
Outlining transformational steps

Point A = no promotion in sight. Point B = 70% promotion in sight. Now start working from Point B to Point A and outline all key steps that stand out. As a motivational coach, this could be the nitty gritty you taught to previous successful management professionals, such as:

  1. Refresher management & soft skills trainings
  2. Job description audit
  3. Salary and promotions audit over the years
  4. Collecting performance reports from data of joining
  5. Formal emails requesting senior management for review

You could also outline your own transformational steps – in case you are teaching a course on how to become a motivational coach. Write down all the steps you personally took to get where you are today. It could be something like:

  1. Started writing motivational thoughts as LinkedIn updates
  2. Gained audience and started writing weekly blog posts
  3. Created my blog and redirected my LinkedIn audience there
  4. Built visitors and authority with 3 posts per week
  5. Launched YouTube channel with 2 videos per week
  6. Reached out to universities and companies for paid trainings & speeches
  7. Started making motivational coaching courses

Just get everything down a page, even if it looks ridiculous. Your journey with clients and your career is what made you and brought you to this point. Recall and make good use of it.

6. Group steps into modules and modules into lectures 🧮

You have all your transformational steps, it’s only logical to start grouping them together in terms of their similarities. Your module serves as an umbrella for your transformational steps and helps organize them. Start with the introduction and build up to difficult topic bundles, whichever way it makes more sense to you.

Similarly, you will house sub-topics under the modules and they will act as your lectures. Each of them will be related to your module, but will have a different purpose. For example, to negotiate promotions for management professional, course modules and lectures can be grouped like this:

how to create modules and lectures for your online course example
Module and lecture example

And there you go! You have a course curriculum to wow every visitor who sees it.

7. Spice it up 🔥

Be mindful, your course curriculum doesn’t need to be just lectures. You can add solo (more suitable for recorded courses) and group (more suited to live, cohort-based courses) assignments under several modules to gamify your course and cut down on the monotony.

Moreover, instead of final tests, plan a series of pop quizzes in between your modules to refresh your learners’ memories and reinforce important concepts.

💯 Discover: Live Classes vs Recorded Classes: The Better Option?

8. Take feedback and improve 📊

Once you’re done planning your course curriculum, I would advise you to run it by people around you. Don’t make the mistake of showing it to your “yes-man” friends, because they will sing your praises even your curriculum needs obvious changes.

Instead, identify someone who can be openly honest with you and critical about your online course curriculum. They will point out obvious gaps and help you improve.

Moreover, once you’ve launched your course, make sure to circulate a form and gather feedback among learners who have purchased your course. Ask for suggestions as to how you can improve the course, what additions or subtractions you can make, etc.

Lastly, keep updating your course from time to time. Listen to your learners, evolve with market trends, and you will have a rock-solid course curriculum to last you years.

That’s all folks! 🐰

These were some of the tips to help you create your online course curriculum from A-Z. I hope they helped you. If you have any questions, feel free to leave them below for me.

👀 More to read:

P.S. start teaching with Airschool today!

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Written by Sinwan Zahid
I help digital course creators achieve business success ✨ Profile

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