Picture this scene: You have decided to try your hand in e-learning and are in the process of creating your course outline. The problem is that you have been staring at a blank screen for hours because you absolutely have no idea how to go about this.
Laying out the framework for your online course is an important phase of your entry into the world of e-learning since it would tell you where your course would take you and your students to and what they would achieve by the end of it.
Fortunately, you don’t need some experience in college-grade curriculum planning to even make up a decent course outline. All you need to do is to remember 5 key tips.
Find the Problem
Let’s start at the very base of why you are creating the course in the first place. To whom is this online course for? What kind of problems is it offering a solution for? You have to remember that your course basically answers a problem that a person might have regarding a certain aspect in their life. That problem should be the goal that guides your course in its creation. Without it, well, you’re course is as aimless as it is pointless.
If you are having problems finding a root problem to solve, then you can follow a simple solution. First, find at least 5 people you know and prepare a set of questions they need to answer. These questions should help you in drawing out the types of problems these people tend to prioritize. Once you have your answers, you then need to find the most common problems and list them down according to how common they were to each of the 5 people. Of course, the most common problem these people have will give you an idea as to how your course should be framed.
Next, you will have to lay out the steps to solving that problem. Think of it this way: If Persons A and B wants to go to Location C, how do they do it? Which routes should they take? What vehicles should they use? What paths should they avoid? What are they going to do once they get there?
You have to remember that your potential students will be enrolling at your course with the intention of fast-tracking the best results. How would you know which steps are essential and which to be avoided? Simple: write out all the steps.
Write the Map
Now, you have a clear idea as to what problems your course answers and the steps to solving these. This basically means that you have a rough draft of a course outline with well laid-out (if not decently filled) modules. Essentially, you have now a map that can tell your students what they should do to get where they want to be.
Now comes the hard part: filling in and/or refining the details. Each module should have a detailed, self-contained, narrative which tells students what they should do to finish this part of the solution roadmap.
There is actually no limit as to what details you can put in each module but remember this: keep it bite-sized. In as much as you want your students to learn, you don’t want them to suffer from an information overload. Always remember that more is not always better. It just makes the entire process frustrating and confusing.
Make Every Step a Victory
When creating your course outline, always use the videogame or road trip mentality. What this means is that you should design each module in a way that completing them will give your students a sense of satisfaction or victory. There are many ways to do this. You can either introduce new important knowledges or a crucial skill in each step of the program.
Or, better yet, you can end each module with an interactive quiz or practicum of sorts. Anything that can allow students to directly apply their learnings are preferred because this can give them an impression that they actually learned something at every step of the way.
KISS: Keep it Simple, Stupid!
Now that you have introduced a problem and then a detailed solution in response, you’ll have to think about how you should deliver your lessons in each step of the course. Whatever you are planning, always keep this in mind.
If it can be said in no more than1 paragraph, uses simple media, and can be introduced in a simple yet catchy title, go for it. Sounding too “academic” can scare off a lot of students out there, especially those that are looking for the easiest and fastest route to solving problems. Engage with your students at their level of understanding and you will find that you will have no problems reaching out to them.
With a course outline that is simple yet well laid-out, it is time for you to create it at any of the top course creation platforms out there right now.