Developing your course content and narrowing down specifics or goals may seem daunting. With a little help you will be able to create content that flows organically and makes a logical path for students. Follow these four steps to plan the perfect course:
1. Consider your goals in teaching this course.
Decide what you would like your students to accomplish from taking this course. Depending on whether you are training, educating, or trying to create dialogue will determine what type of course you should offer. For example, a coaching course allows students to accomplish goals with your professional counsel; a corporate training course educates employees about specific topics or procedures. Developing a course description will help you define these objectives and lets prospective learners decide if it is the right course for their needs. Make sure you let your audience know what they will take away from your course and how they will be able to use what they learn.
2. Develop topics and subtopics, then narrow down further.
Start a list of every topic you would like to cover and create subtopics that follow each. Check similar course books, syllabi, or online classes to see how other instructors have defined goals and laid out their courses. Consider the amount of time you would like the entire course to take, then narrow down each topic and subtopic so that you can realistically get through the material in the allotted time. Remember, you can always develop additional courses to expand upon other subjects — don’t feel the need to cram everything into one. Too much content will deter learners and make it harder to retain what is taught. Bite-size lessons are best.
3. Structure the course with what you have finalized.
Arrange your refined topics in an order that makes sense; this could mean chronologically, by topic, or process. Include the areas where quizzes, exams, assignments, or surveys will take place. Usually, these occur after a certain section is covered so you can assess what students memorized and how well they understood it.
4. Plan your content types.
Once you have your layout finalized, decided how each portion will be taught. You can teach sections using audio, video, text, animations, and more. Because every student has a different learning style, a combination of these is best. For instance, providing animations along with written text will help visual learners retain what they are reading. For videos, a transcript, recording, or audio file will help those who may have trouble focusing the first time they are trying to take it all in. Providing multiple delivery options lets all types of learners succeed with your course.
Once you have your outline completed, you are ready to get started in actually creating the content, and don’t be afraid to repurpose old content you have already. If it works for your objectives with a particular course, there is no point in reinventing the wheel. The e-learning community has never been so prominent. Share your knowledge and join the many online course instructors that are taking advantage of this opportunity.