Creating an online course might look intimidating at first glance, but it's easier than you think! We broke down the process of creating your first course in two pieces: Planning Phase and Execution Phase. In this article we are going through the planning phase, where we listed 5 simple steps for you start your audio course.
1. Brainstorm and list resources and guests
Research and planning the course is the most crucial stage of your course creation. You can’t have an excellent course if you don’t have a plan. Besides, you don’t want to be giving out unorganized information that people could get anywhere else for free.
Let your creativity roam free. Brainstorm all the subtopics you would like to include in the course. Write everything down on a piece of paper.
After that, go for an online search and study your topic as much as possible. You may already be an expert. But there is always something new out there. Looking into what people are talking about online, asking, and teaching (potential competitors) on your subject is essential. Learn your area like no-one else.
Doing that will help you update your brainstorming ideas and include new subtopics, find new literature and external links to add to your course.
Don't forget to list all your external resources to provide as an extra material in your course and list any possible guest you could be starring in your lessons.
2. Write the Course Outline
After your search, you probably have many ideas about what subtopics you can include in your first online course. Break down those ideas even more. Then, divide them thematically. Put all those topics in a logical order and make a list. You can follow, for example, this course template:
Topical Course Outline Template
Course subject: Improving writing skills at home
3. Learning goals and Objectives
Learning goals are the heart of a course and need to be made clear at the planning stage. They are broad, general statements of what we want our students to learn and provide direction, focus, and cohesion for our work with learners. Learning goals are long-term, broad, and achievable, but not necessarily measurable. On the other hand, learning objectives are also referred to as learning outcomes because they are immediately linked to the expected results – what we can expect learners to be able to do by the end of the course. Learning Goals are great pitches for your course sales page, and you should use them to increase sales.
Example of Learning goal: Learners will learn how to cook
Objectives tell the learner or us how they will be able to know whether or not they have learned and understood the lesson. This way, the instructor can see in which ways they can shape each lesson around their main priorities for learning. Objectives should be specific, concise, observable, and measurable. Each learning objective should target one particular aspect of student performance and be expressed with a single action verb.
Example of Learning objective: Learners will be able to manipulate a chef's knife
Why is this step we are explaining so important? It is as simple as that: With goals and objectives:
Bloom describes levels of student learning, that could help a designer set the right objectives for each level of learning:
4. Choose a format
The format you choose is really personal, and depends on who’s involved! If it’s just you, you’re not doing a co-hosted course any time soon, for example.
The thing is, it’s similar here to your lesson length: while it’s good to have an ‘average’ format, so your listeners know what to expect, you don’t have to stick to it every time.
You might be comfortable with a certain format and settle into a groove, or you might prefer a ‘mixed bag’ approach. It’s totally up to you. So what are the common types of lesson formats?
The Solo format
Also known as the monologue.
Benefits: You don’t need to rely on anyone else to record your lessons, and you’re building a reputation as the authority on your subject.
Challenges: Perhaps the most intimidating style of show for the beginner teacher. One of the biggest challenges of the solo show is getting over the feeling that you’re ‘talking to yourself’ and realizing that you’re actually talking to the listener.
The Co-Host format
Presenting alongside a friend or colleague.
Pros: A great way around the ‘mic fright’ or recording alone is to chat on the show with someone else. If you find the right co-host you have someone to bounce off, debate, or even mock (don’t be too mean!). Some co-hosted classes have great chemistry between the presenters. This can create a great listening experience.
Cons: Not only do you need to set aside time to record, but that time must also be suitable for your co-host.
The Interview format
‘Borrowing’ the expertise or entertainment value of others.
Pros: Talking to your heroes. Doing an interview show gives you the opportunity to have a chat with someone you’ve always looked up to. On top of this, your guests will have their own audiences who may listen to the interview and end up signing up to your course. If done right, you can really grow an audience this way.
Cons: Interviewing is a skill that you’ll need to hone through practice, so don’t approach the A-listers in your field straight away. You’ll need to constantly find and approach potential guests, schedule interviews, and rely on others to show up (in person or digitally). You also need to rely on technology (like Skype) to work properly throughout each call.
5. Map your production schedule
Creating a plan ahead of time will help you go through the entire process smoothly. Put in your calendar the dates and hours you are going to spend creating your course. You can split the creating schedule in four phases: