When you are going to make an online course, you must know how to structure your course. Making a good course outline is not enough. Structuring is something you have to take very seriously. The goal of this post is to show you how to structure an online course. We hope you will find this post helpful.
Your audience will find your course helpful only when there is enough clarity. And structuring is all about clarity. In order to structure your course, you have to keep some important things in mind.
The main point of structuring an online course is to break down the subject into manageable portions and organizing the portions intelligently. Apart from providing a great course, you have to make sure that the learners remain interested in the course. Long-term retention depends on how interested your learners are.
How to Structure an Online Course
Here are the general guidelines:
Decide What to Cover
Before you come with a structure for your course, make sure you have a clear idea about what material you are going to cover. It depends on what your subject is. For instance, if you are a product supplier to a particular group, your focus may be on finding the right way to woo the prospects.
In your course, you may focus on setting up purchase orders and delivering the products. Again, the subject you are teaching determines how you are going to teach it. A good way to choose the right material is to have a crystal clear idea of what you really need to teach.
Group the Subject into Modules
Once you have a clear idea of what you are going to cover, you have to break the subject into a reasonable outline. In order to learn how to structure an online course, this is an important thing to remember.
If the main focus of your course is on managing purchase orders, you may need to discuss communicating with salespeople, recording client information, and giving discounts. These are the course sections or modules. In the next section, you can further break down each section.
Break Down Your Modules into Sections
Taking the modules one by one, the material should be organized in a cohesive outline. For example, if the goal of your course is to teach how to record client information, you may focus on tracking purchases, recording personal information, and giving special incentives.
Once you have completely organized your subject material and put the material into slide form. To create your presentation, you can use PowerPoint. If you are not able to use PowerPoint, consider using prefabricated templates. With these templates, you can get things done without much legwork.
Use the Right Format
Several formats are available for delivering your course, and choosing the right format is of utmost importance. In your course, incorporate both classroom learning and online elements. Even though it is an online course, infusing some classroom learning elements into your course can be a great idea. Many course builders find it very helpful.
Your students will have to participate in discussions and lectures if your course is synchronous. On the other hand, a flexible or asynchronous course will allow your students to learn at their own pace. You will easily figure out how to structure an online course if you use the right format.
Put Links Between Sections
People looking for online courses want to learn on their own and they want to learn at their own pace. If different sections of your course are interlinked, self-learning will be easy for your visitors. Learners will be able to find the sections that they need. Putting links between sections requires a bit of technical knowledge. However, you can easily find a tutorial online.
Create a Roadmap
Before your course begins, make sure your students know what the course is going to teach them. If the structure is intuitive, your students will find it easy to figure out how to use the course. You can write the roadmap or use a flowchart, audio, or video clip. This is a matter of finding out what works for you.
Develop a Suitable Theme
Make sure you have a theme that reflects the structure of your course. For this, you may have to use a particular background color for each module. It can also mean recording the section or module numbers. For learners, these features can be really helpful.
If you are not sure what type of theme you should develop, you can talk to a graphic designer. In most cases, you should be able to figure out what works for you. If you can not, don’t worry. You will get tons of ideas if you do a little bit of research online.
State the Purpose of the Course
If your students do not clearly know the purpose of the course, they may eventually drop out. So, make sure they know why they are learning it. Clearly state the purpose of your course. If any student asks any question about it, answer the question patiently.
The learners will be passionate about the course only if they know that the course is relevant to their practical needs. You have to clarify the purpose of your course, even before you learn how to structure an online course.
Share Your Content
Share the best of your content to let people know what you are offering. Keep it simple if you are just sharing information. For sharing information, 3 teaching points are enough. Make sure you do not share too much of your content. If something is not necessary, you do not need to share it. When it comes to sharing information, less is more.
Get the results early
Do not drown your students in advanced concepts and theories. As an instructor, make sure your students get the results early. Plan the course in such a way that the students consistently enjoy little wins.
For example, if it is a meditation course, make your students sit for a certain time, even if they trail off very often. This way, they will have a sense of accomplishment.
If the topic of the course is vegetarian cooking, ask your students to cook something right away. Make sure the project does not take a very long time. The main goal is to make them believe that they are doing something.
For a language learning course, make your students practice the most commonly used words so that they get comfortable with the words. Overcoming the primary inhibition is of utmost importance. They will learn quickly if they feel they are making progress.
Highlight Student Progress
As your students make progress, you should highlight the progress. Remind them that they have come a long way since the beginning of the course. Set the lessons in such a way that students go from easy to relatively difficult lessons.
When they are facing a challenge, remind them that they are trying to solve an advanced problem. As time passes, a challenge will become second nature. Try to instill positive feelings into your students all the time.
Other Things to Consider
Apart from the factors mentioned above, there are some other things that you have to take seriously. The success of your online course depends on these factors. Pay close attention to the following things:
Provide information about the instructor
An instructor of an online course must have substantial experience in a particular field. The availability of information about the instructor is one of the signs of a good online course. If you are the instructor, make sure your audience knows at least a few things about you.
Distance learners always want to reach their teachers. Make yourself available to your students. Give them an effective way to get in touch with you when they do not understand something.
Make navigation intuitive and consistent
Once you have figured out how to structure an online course, you have actually figured out how to teach your students. If the features of your platform are intuitive and the navigation is easy, your students will find it easy to engage in the course. Structure your course in such a way that students with little online experience can use your course.
Your text, audio, and video files should be arranged in an intuitive way. Students these days know that there are numerous online learning platforms out there, and they make sure that they are using a user-friendly platform. Once you have made the navigation intuitive, you have already figured out how to structure an online course.
Set reasonable expectations
Never overpromise to your audience. Make it clear on day one that most of the students are not going to learn it in a very short time. In terms of making progress, make reasonable expectations.
Just make them feel that they are making progress, no matter how slow the progress is. Tell them that they are doing it right, and mastering the skill will not happen overnight.
To make your course more engaging, encourage collaborative work among students. Once your students have completed watching a lecture, engage them by posting a question on the discussion board. Students can go deep into a subject when they discuss what they have learned.
Assigning group projects is another way to encourage collaborative work. If it is a writing class, ask your students to edit one another’s papers. Make sure your course is synchronous because it will feature more collaboration.
Provide adequate technical support
If you are still wondering how to structure an online course, here is what you need to know: you have to structure a course in such a way that no student feels left behind. Students prefer online courses that provide adequate technical support for them.
To provide this support, some course builders use outside companies. Students can easily resolve issues when they get this support. Make sure your learners have access to all the support they might need. Also, consider providing personalized feedback.
The Bottom Line
Learning how to structure an online course means learning how to make it more engaging. When it comes to selling an online course, there is no shortcut to success. The way you structure your course largely depends on your particular requirements. We hope the tips provided in this course will help you structure your course in a better way.