5 Tips on How to Structure an Online Course Effectively4 minute read
How do I structure my online course? What kind of lessons should I upload? How long should my program be?
If you are like many online course creators out there, you probably asked yourself these questions at some point.
The structure you choose for an online course can significantly impact your clients' engagement as well as the retention and absorption of your course content.
In this article, we will let you in our top 5 suggestions for structuring an online course that sells.
#1: Size Doesn't Matter
Length does not equal better value when it comes to online courses.
Many online course creators make the mistake of believing that adding more and more content and increasing lessons' length will make their online courses better.
Remember that your selling point is not length: it is the result that your clients will receive upon completing your online course.
Your students are not buying your program because it is long and complex. They are buying it because they want to achieve a particular goal that you are promoting.
While more detailed, long content may work better in a traditional education environment, when it comes to online courses, try to keep it simple and to the point.
The faster you can guide your learners into reaching their goals, the more satisfied they will be with your online course.
#2: Map it Out First
Before diving into producing content, create an outline of your online course by dividing it into modules and lessons.
When structuring your online course, you may have many ideas of topics you want to cover in your lessons. Whether all of that content is ready or not, it is often easier to quickly layout an outline before committing to an exact program structure.
Using a tool that allows you to structure your content and map out the different ideas you have can help you see the bigger picture and make creation easier.
Heights Platform's Climb Outline feature helps creators like you visualize their online courses and structure their ideas efficiently. You can divide your content into lessons and modules and organize it by dragging and dropping.
Gagan Sarkaria is a creator who uses Heights Platform to sell her online courses. She shared with us how the Climb Outline feature helped her create a successful online course.
Read More Tips from Other Online Course Creators
"Mapping out the course content and outcomes I wanted to achieve helped me put all the pieces together faster. Heights Platform’s course creation Climb Outline mode allows me to quickly create course structure and strategize to see the big picture to systematically add the content and resources for student learning and success."
#3: Stay Consistent
Consistency is key to keep your learners engaged and help them achieve their goals faster.
This means that the structure and style you use in your online course should stay the same from beginning to end.
If you want to create an inviting online environment that is easy to navigate, your online course needs to have a clear and consistent structure. Each module should be organized in the same fashion. The location of downloadable files, assignments, projects, tasks, etc., should always be in the same spot and keep a similar format.
Looks are important too. Stick to the same style in each module of your online course. Abruptly changing your design can confuse your learners and impact their engagement.
While your content changes lesson to lesson, your style, format and structure should stay consistent.
A great example of an online course that respects its consistent structure is Rustico Cooking, built by Heights Platform creators Dino and Micole.
Rustico Cooking is an online membership course that teaches authentic Italian cooking to aspiring cooks around the world.
One of their "recipes" to success is their consistency.
All of their lessons are structured in the same way: they include a video recipe at the top, the text description and a downloadable PDF containing the recipe accompanied by detailed picture steps.
Read The Full Story of Rustico Cooking
“Our program is completely non-linear - members can start in any section, or skip any lesson they wish. Right now we have over 100 Lessons and we are adding 4 to 6 new lessons every month. With such a large number of lessons, organization is key so that our students can find what they need easily.”
#4: Keep it Entertaining
The format of an online course can also make a difference in the level of students' engagement.
Videos, images and graphs are more entertaining than plain text as the majority of people are visual learners.
In online education is harder to keep students engaged and make them actively participate in your program. Adjusting your lesson structure and format can help.
Researches show that people are 75% more likely to watch a video rather than read a block of text. For this reason, videos are considered a better alternative to communicate ideas and increase the engagement level in your online course.
If you are looking to increase engagement and improve the completion rate in your online course, check out this article from our blog: 9 Proven Ways to Increase Student Engagement and Completion Rate in your Online Course.
So don't make it hard on your learners to complete your online course. Complement each lesson by adding videos, images, audio files, assignments and more.
Additionally, the size of each lesson plays a role in your students' performance. Keep each lesson short and to the point so that learners can feel a sense of achievement after completing each small step in your online course.
"Break down the course into bite-sized portions. Makes it more enjoyable for the students!"Dr. Randy Moore - Heights Platform creator
Gamification is also an important part of online learning.
You could apply gamification methods to your online course by giving out rewards and badges each time a learner reaches a particular milestone in your program. When choosing the perfect platform to host your online course, look for one that employs a gamification system.
#5: Include Regular Projects and Assignments
Creating assignments, projects and quizzes for your members is a great way to keep them engaged with your online course.
Assignments allow students to put their newly acquired knowledge into practice and really understand the tangible value of your online course.
Even better, assigning projects on a regular basis (i.e., at the end of every module) will keep your course consistent and structured.
Depending on your online course topic, try to create assignments for your learners asking them to implement your teachings in their daily lives. This will bring them closer to achieving their goals and will show them the value of your online course.
The way you structure and design your online course ultimately depends on your personal teaching style and topic.
However, the five tips described in this article can help you structure your online course in a way that is beneficial to you and your clients.
Ultimately, your goal should be to guide learners from point A to B and help them reach a specific goal.
Heights Platform has all the tools you need to create engaging online courses. You can easily structure your program using the Climb Outline, add gamification elements, create assignments or projects for active learning and more.Create Your Online Course Today