When you decide to create an online training course, the enthusiasm and excitement that comes from starting a project often makes those early stages fly by. But completing a full online training course can be a rather daunting task. A number of people don’t even finish the first draft, and the course sits in a lost file somewhere, useless.
One of the best ways to ensure that you are able to create online training courses and finish them with the same quality as you started is to develop an effective outline. Outlines ensure that you stay on track while also making sure that you develop the points you want to make. Outlines also provide a bird’s eye view of the entire course, allowing you to note any large scale problems and potential issues you will need to address.
Prepare a Thesis Statement for the Entire Course
While it might seem old-fashioned to develop a thesis statement for your course, it can save you tremendous headaches later on. Thesis statements serve an essential function as roadmaps, outlining the entire course in a few sentences. In this regard, you can dispense with the traditional high school English notion that a thesis statement is only one or two sentences. When you’re preparing a thesis statement for an entire online course, you may need three to four sentences. In some cases, you may need even more. Just make sure that this thesis statement itself outlines in a brief fashion everything that the course covers.
To help keep you on track, it can help to create a single one sentence summary that hits the main high point of this online training course. Remember that you don’t have to write down everything. The purpose of the single sentence and the multiple sentence thesis statements is to help you know what you want to accomplish, and to provide you with an overview for the entire course.
Write Down All the Goals of the Course
Understanding the goals of the course is separate from the thesis statement. While the two may intersect in some respects, the goals section focuses more on what the students should be achieving at each of the stages. At first, you may find it helpful to just list all of the things that you want to accomplish in this course for your students and what you want them to take away. Later on you can organize these points.
Set a copy of the course goals aside so that you can use this information for your marketing plan. Often times, the goals turn into excellent catchphrases and benefit points for squeeze pages and promotional videos. Don’t worry about the phrasing at this point, but do remember when you’re converting these goals into benefit points for squeeze pages and the like that active voice works better than passive voice. Make every word count in those advertising materials.
Create a Flow Chart of the Topics Discussed
While some online courses have tried to deal with organization problems by letting students take the chapters in any order to choose, it’s often best if you have recommended progression. Different people process information in various ways, butmost people seem to make more progress when they follow things in the listed order. To make sure that you put the topics and goals in the proper order, and then create a flow chart of everything that you discuss in the course. Include the target goals as well.
When you create online training courses, you want to make sure that it’s clear how the students can obtain the course objectives. Through the flow chart, you should see a visual representation of your student’s journey from the start of the course to the end. Put the topics in building order if you intend to build subsequent information off previous information. If each chapter will stand on its own, then organize it based on priority. Remember that the farther you get through the course, the less likely your students will finish. Including the most important of valuable information at the beginning sometimes works to keep students in the course. In situations where you have to start with the basics to build more complicated matters, you may have no choice but to risk losing the students.
List Out the Takeaway from Each Chapter
Ideally, each chapter or section should have a single takeaway point. By focusing on a takeaway point, you make it more likely that the student will retain the information and not become overwhelmed.
A simple way to develop this is to go back over the goals that you have. Look at them and determine whether accomplishing each goal will require one or more takeaway point. If it will acquire an additional takeaway point, then break that goal apart into separate chapters. At this point, you may want to transition from the flow chart form to the written outline form.
Evaluate and Look for Gaps in the Subject Matter
After you finish listing out the takeaway from each chapter, go back and look at the big picture. Ask yourself whether you are missing any gaps in the subject matter. If the information is intended to build off previous chapters, look to see that everything is in the logical order. If the chapters are independent, then look to see whether they are based by priority.
If you discover gaps in the subject matter, go back and fill these in with both goals and the takeaway points. Then organize them in the overall course based on the structure that you have decided upon. Remember it’s always easier to go back at this point and add additional subject matter or topics than it is to go back after you’ve finished creating your online training courses and realized you’ve missed whole sections.
List Anticipated Examples and Exercises
If you have not transitioned from the flow chart form to the written outline form, then do so now. At this point, you need to start listing the anticipated examples and exercises that you intend to include in each chapter for creating your online training courses. If you are already aware of the research or resources that you want to include, then add these here as well. The more information that you can put into the appropriate chapters, the better it will be.
Depending on your personality and your organization level, you may find it most helpful to initially just list the different elements you intend to include in each chapter, regardless of their order. Some developers get overwhelmed when they try to create online training courses in chronological order. At first, just focus on getting everything down on paper. Once that’s done, go back through each chapter or section to read and organize the desired examples, exercises, resources, and research.
Keep Track of Marketing Ideas
It’s the right time to build your own affiliate program. Learn how to create an affiliate program and create online training courses by following our online training guide. You should know that creating content for online training courses is only part of an online training course development. Marketing that course is just as important. As you develop your outline and the course itself, avoid the temptation to write down your marketing ideas in the same flow chart or outline as the course itself. Instead, as you develop marketing ideas and come up with different elements you want to include, put them in a separate document. Otherwise, your marketing information may get lost or wrapped up in another part of your course. Keeping the information organized and separate is the best way to ensure that you can finish the project more efficiently.