How to Create an Online Course Outline: Three Easy Steps to Create Your Course Outline Template

how to create an online course outline sample
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Do It The Right Way From The Start

 

Your online course outline is one of the most important parts to pay attention to in the early stages of your online course development. Do it right and save yourself endless hours of headache and assure your students' speedy success.

Once you have validated your online course idea, you will start thinking about how to create an online course outline. A really great way to nail this process is to compare it with climbing a mountain. You have one big goal (the transformation), which in this case is the top of the mountain (your point B). 

There are three major steps you will need to consider when crafting your online course outline

 

  1. Start with your transformation in mind (the goal, point B).  
  2. Work backwards, break down the bigger goal into smaller milestones and see which steps they need to take in order to complete each bigger milestone (module). 
  3. Break down the major modules into smaller baby steps (lessons) to make the journey even easier. 

I have created an entire mini-course on how to build a strong foundation for your online course. If you would like my help nailing down the one-course idea which sells, you can sign up here for my mini-course “Get your course idea kick-started”. 

This course consists of five learning modules (MP3 and MP4 format), five interactive workbooks which will help to guide you through step by step to build a strong online course foundation. There are also some surprise pieces of content along the way. 😉

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Want access to a full-stack content library and watch all the training you need to create a profitable online course? Check it out here

1) Start with your transformation in mind (the goal, the A-B journey) 

Your students are starting their online course journey, or the hiking trip at the very bottom of “the mountain”, which in this case is the point A of our “A-B Journey”, or “Australia to Bali Journey”.

 

For example, you are booking a plane ticket from Australia to Bali. The main reason why you buy this ticket is because you want to be dropped off in Bali. Not anywhere else in Indonesia or in the world. So the transformation is the trip to Bali. It’s not the fancy business class chairs, it’s not the champagne they serve on board, it’s not about the food or the duty-free shop you get access to in the plane. It’s the trip to Bali. And that’s it. 

 

So, you as the course creator need to focus on the transformation and make sure your students arrive exactly there. Point A is the starting point of your online course outline and point B is the “finish line”, the achieved transformation.

 

How to create an online course PDF_124
Download Your Free Course Outline Template NOW!

Do It The Right Way From The Start

 

Your online course outline is one of the most important parts to pay attention to in the early stages of your online course development. Do it right and save yourself endless hours of headache and assure your students' speedy success.

2) Work backwards, break down the bigger goal into smaller milestones and see which steps they need to take in order to complete each bigger step (module)

So, point A is where your students are stuck. It’s the starting point of the transformation and they want to get to point B, the top of the mountain. 

 

When they’ll hike their way up the mountain, they’ll pass by and camp in different basecamps, which you can view as your modules, or major milestones. 

 

How many basecamps do they need to camp at before they can reach the top? When you climb Kilimanjaro in Africa for example, the total journey takes 7 days and you stop in 6 different basecamps. 

 

This could be a 7 weeks programme, with 6 or 7 different modules. 

 

Hot tip: Make it as short and sweet as possible. A very common misconception here is that “the longer the videos” and “the more material and cheat sheets are there” – the more valuable the course is. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The faster you can get your students to the finish line, the better. 

Your online course outline.png
How to create an online course PDF_124
Download Your Free Course Outline Template NOW!

Do It The Right Way From The Start

 

Your online course outline is one of the most important parts to pay attention to in the early stages of your online course development. Do it right and save yourself endless hours of headache and assure your students' speedy success.

3) Break down the major modules into smaller baby steps (your lesson) to make the journey even easier

Finally, you will plan your lessons. You can see this as the “baby steps” your students need to go through in order to complete each module. For example, going back to our mountain hike, think of what they need to do between each and every basecamp. To get from basecamp #1 to base camp #2, what happens in between those two checkpoints? Do they need to swim through a river? Do they need to slay a lion on the way? Do they need to collect firewood? Do they need to put up their tents, lay out their sleeping bags, etc.? 

 

Put it all logically in order so it makes sense and remove any unnecessary steps. 

 

And there you have it. These are the three major parts you need to consider when figuring out how to create an online course outline. 

 

 

So, to conclude, a perfect course outline sample could look like this:

 

Transformation: Have an unforgettable holiday in Bali 

 

Module 1: Prepare documents

Lesson 1: Go online, compare ticket prices & book a flight

Lesson 2: Have at least 6 months left on your passport

Lesson 3: Get the right vaccines

Lesson 4: Get the right visa

 

Module 2: Pack your bags

Lesson 1: Pack for a hiking trip

Lesson 2: Pack for a snorkelling trip

Lesson 3: Pack clothes for a fancy dinner

Lesson 4: Pack costumes for the beach club parties

 

Module 3: Catch the right flight on time

Lesson 1: Drive to the right airport

Lesson 2: Arrive 2 hours before the time

Lesson 3: Check-in your bags

Lesson 4: Go through customs & security checks

 

Module 4: Have the best time ever in Bali

Lesson 1: Visit 5 waterfalls

Lesson 2: Go snorkelling in Lombok

Lesson 3: Take part in a cacao ceremony

Lesson 4: Visit the Hindu temples

Lesson 5: Take meditation classes

 

 

Module 5: Return home & stay happy

Lesson 1: Unpack your bags and wash everything

Lesson 2: Print out pictures, frame them & hang them up

Lesson 3: Create a video of your trip

Lesson 4: Integrate learned meditation into daily routine

 

This is just an online course outline sample to demonstrate the structure. 

How to create an online course outline

Pro tip: Think about a support system which will help your students, to get to the transformation (top of the mountain) faster. For example, you could hire porters who will help you to carry your backpack, tent and food.

 

This would increase your walking speed and save you energy. Could you provide something that will help them to save time and energy? E.g. workbooks, checklists or email templates. 

 

After you have finalised everything, you can go ahead and map out your modules and lessons in a Trello board and make it available for your students to edit as they go along.

 

I always encourage the students of my “From Idea to Course” programme to insert deadlines to each task of the Trello board so they stay on top of their game as the Trello sends them reminders automatically. 

Related: Exploring An Online Course Builder for WordPress: How to Sell Online Courses From Your Own Website

How to create an online course PDF_124
Download Your Free Course Outline Template NOW!

Do It The Right Way From The Start

 

Your online course outline is one of the most important parts to pay attention to in the early stages of your online course development. Do it right and save yourself endless hours of headache and assure your students' speedy success.

So, to recap which steps you need to take when thinking about how to create an online course outline are: 

 

1. Start with the transformation in mind (work backwards) 

2. Crucial steps to take to complete each milestone (choose the least number of steps possible)

3. Divide everything into chapters and lessons (milestones, baby steps, basecamps)

4. Organise everything logically (should be an easy journey)

5. Think about a support system (Trello board, workbooks etc.)

6. Validate and refine your course outline template if necessary 

Download my free “Online Course Outline Template” here and start working on your own course right now.

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How to create an online course PDF_124
Download Your Free Course Outline Template NOW!

Do It The Right Way From The Start

 

Your online course outline is one of the most important parts to pay attention to in the early stages of your online course development. Do it right and save yourself endless hours of headache and assure your students' speedy success.

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