4 Steps for Creating a Killer Course Outline

In business, there are so many things we can jump into head first all in the name of “messy action”. But in the realm of online courses, skipping the process that’ll help ensure you’ve built the best product for your audience is just silly. In the form of a digital product suite, your potential is limitless, but only if you’re creating something worth purchasing. Before you record your videos, decide on the platform for course delivery, or even name your offer in some cases, you’ll want to outline the structure of your online course. Here are 4 steps to creating an effective course outline:

  1. Define the delivered result.

    The most profitable courses are those designed around the people they’re made to serve. The people who are going to buy your courses are looking for some kind of transformation. If you’ve done the legwork to really understand your audience– their life, their business, and their central pain points – then defining the end result becomes easier.   To help frame your thinking around the delivered result, think of courses you’ve previously purchased – they often come with a statement or promise that clearly articulates the “from” and “to” for someone taking your course.  Some examples could be:“Move from crickets to content expert” “Move from beginner to booked out photographer” Clearly articulating the user journey for your audience will help frame their desired results from purchasing your course. 

  2. Brain dump your teachable topics. 

    Once you’ve defined the delivered result, you’ll want to start brain dumping all of the teachable topics you need to hit in order to move your client from point A to point B – aka. the “from>to” journey. This doesn’t need to be fancy, doesn’t need to be in correct order, and content doesn’t need to be polished yet. Use a Google doc, email, or even paper – whatever feels best to you –  but the aim of the game here is to get everything from inside your head out into a rough document so you can start to play around with  cohesive content themes.  

  3. Organize and group your content. 

    By step three, you should be staring at a document filled with bullet points that will teach and transform your audience to achieve the things they desire. Now it’s time to build a course that’s simple, digestible, and makes sense from your audience’s POV. Think of the user journey – where they’re at now, and where they want to go – as a means of helping you organize content into course modules. Don’t worry how many items, bullets or modules your list includes at this stage, you can sort that out in the next step :) 

  4. Cut, streamline your simplify. 

    Looking at all you have in front of you now, it’s time to think critically about your course content. In this step, you’ll want to review, cut, and even add if necessary, elements that create a streamlined flow to your course content. To help with this task, ask yourself qualifying questions like:
  • Do my modules makes sense for the audience journey?
  • Are they digestible and achievable?
  • Is there anything critical missing between modules that would hinder course success for my audience?
  • Do my course modules feel too few or too many in length?
  • Are there any major detractors that will impact course completion rates?

Play with your modules, review them from the lens of your purchasing audience, and tweak until you’re comfortable. Find the sweet spot between ‘bored’ and ‘can’t keep up’, and create within that space. You want people to feel motivated, capable, and empowered as they work through your material. When you’ve completed all of the above 4 steps, you’ll have yourself a fairly thorough and thought-out outline that will then help inform writing and recording of your course – two major elements. Go girl, go – you’re on your way to course success.After more info on the journey from course creation to launch? Follow me for all the tips, tricks, and proven tools of the trade that’ll take you from online entrepreneur to passive income earning pro!