Heights Platform 7 Ways to Structure Your Online Course for a Great Student Learning Experience

7 Ways to Structure Your Online Course for a Great Student Learning Experience

7 minute read

The success of an online course depends on what your students achieve as they go through the program.

This means that other than delivering great content, you need to guide your students towards their goals in a clear and structured way.

So, how can you structure your online course in the best way possible?

In today's article, we will uncover the best practices for optimizing your online course structure so you can deliver an exceptional learning experience to your students.

7 Tips to Create a Great Online Course Structure

What is an online course structure?

There are many different pieces to your course structure that contribute to a great learning experience.

The most obvious one is your online course outline (or course syllabus): the list of modules and lessons included in your online course. Other than the outline, what can you do to better guide students to their learning outcomes?

Learn more about this here: 5 Tips on How to Structure an Online Course Effectively

Let's dive right into the best way to structure an online course:

#1: Create a Course Outline First

Before you even create the content of your course, it is important to map out the lesson plan.

This can be done by creating a course outline and dividing it into modules and lessons.

Skipping this step can be a huge mistake for creators, as it can complicate the course creation process. When you first have an idea for an online course topic, you probably have so many ideas of things you want to cover in your lessons.

To avoid confusion and skipping important learning points, it is better to quickly structure a course outline before you commit to an exact program plan.

If you are unsure of how to do this, try using a tool like the Climb Outline in Heights Platform that lets you structure the content and map out your course idea. This can help you see the bigger picture and make creation easier.

Heights Platform's Climb Outline feature helps creators easily visualize their online courses and structure their lesson ideas efficiently. You can divide your content into lessons and modules and organize it by dragging and dropping.

If you prefer an even faster way to collect ideas for your course, then you can try Heights Platform's AI tools.

Heights AI course creation AI tool

The course generator in Heights is an AI that helps you create an entire online course draft in minutes.

You start by giving the AI the title of your online course. From this, you will get recommendations on how to word the title in a more convincing way, a marketing description for your course and a course outline.

Using artificial intelligence to map out the content of your course can help you brainstorm new ideas and get a better overview of what students might expect from your learning program.

After you get all these different materials from the AI, it creates the course draft for you inside your Heights Platform account. So all you have to do now is populate the lessons with your unique content and experiences.

Create Your Online Course Today

#2: Customize Your Program's Space

A great way to offer an awesome learning experience that fits your course is to customize the way your program looks and functions.

This might be tricky for some of you, as it depends on which online course platform you are using.

Some course platforms allow you all the flexibility you need to present your online courses and products the way you want - while others are more strict and force creators into a one-way structure.

If you are using Heights Platform to host your online courses, then you can keep reading this paragraph. Otherwise, skip ahead (or sign up for Heights)!

In Heights Platform, creators can customize the look and feel of their entire program, as well as apply their own design to match the brand's style and colors. But that is not what we are going to talk about today.

Another important customization you can do in Heights Platform is styling and structuring the Student Dashboard.

The Student Dashboard in Heights Platform is the first page that students see when they log into your program. It is where you display your online courses, products and resources available to them.

What's great about Heights Platform is that you can customize how things appear in the dashboard, move products around, and show what is most important for students to see as they log in.

The reason why we decided to allow creators to customize their dashboards is because we understood that different creators have different needs. You might sell one online course or 100, you might only have a community, or you might sell digital downloads or a combination of all of these products.

And, as a creator, there are certain aspects of your courses that you might want to highlight for new students as you guide them into your program.

For example, you might want to add a "start here" course, or you might want new students to jump into your community right away, see what events are new and what activities are coming up in a calendar, or promote a new offer, and so on...

So let's see how you can customize your program space in Heights Platform with the Student Dashboard feature:

lesson image

The Student Dashboard is the first view that your students see when they sign up or log in to your program. You can customize your dashboard to showcase your main products and courses, events, community posts, calendar and other custom information.

This particular dashboard shown in the picture above has the student progress on top, the calendar and events on the right side, featured online courses in the middle and the community's latest posts at the bottom.

This layout is great for creators who offer multiple products and need a way to show them to their students at once.

You can edit your dashboard to your liking, and choose which elements to showcase and how to structure the different blocks.

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The picture above shows another example of a dashboard that showcases the student progress on top and has a custom message from the creator on the right side: this is made via Custom HTML. At the bottom, there is a list of courses.

This level of customization is not only beneficial for creators who offer a lot of different courses, but it can also be a great way for new creators to highlight their individual courses or communities.

For example, the picture below shows a program where there are no online courses or digital downloads: this creator only offers access to a community and uses Heights to schedule events.

lesson image

The dashboard is one of the ways that creators using Heights Platform can use to customize the learning experience of their students. Try it for yourself by creating your free Heights Platform account:

Create Your Online Course Today

#2: Select a "Start Here" Course

Another great way to facilitate the onboarding experience of students is to clearly define where they should start within your program.

Whether you sell one or many online courses, it is important that students easily understand the starting point to avoid confusion and easily guide them toward their learning outcomes.

We already covered how, in Heights Platform, you can customize the student dashboard and decide which products to highlight when students log into your program.

Another thing you can do in the dashboard is select one of your online courses as a "start here" product.

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The Start Here course will be prominently displayed in the dashboard to make it easy for students to understand where to begin.

#3: Bundle Together Multiple Products

Another way to offer a clear learning path for students and structure your course effectively is to group together multiple courses or products.

This can help students better locate the important resources within your program that are relevant to them.

For example, instead of having to explain to students where to find what, you can create a bundle, and add all the resources you want them to access in one place.

In Heights Platform, a bundle is a collection of courses, digital products, projects, and community channels that can be sold with one-time, installment, or subscription pricing plans.

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The image above shows an example of a bundle sold inside Heights Platform, which includes an online course, a challenge (time-sensitive course), a digital download, and a private community channel.

This means that students who purchase it will get access to all of the products included in the bundle.

#4: Create a Welcome Lesson

lesson image

A warm welcome sets the stage for a successful learning journey. It can be a good idea to start your course with a welcome lesson that not only introduces students to the course content but also outlines where they can find essential resources.

This lesson should serve as a guide, helping students navigate through the course effortlessly.

Explain the course structure, what they can expect to learn, and how the resources provided will support their learning process.

#5: Set the Right Expectations

lesson image

Clear communication is key to student success and satisfaction. Use the welcome lesson, direct communications, or discussions within your course's community to set clear expectations.

In your communication with students, make sure to outline the course objectives, the anticipated duration of the course, the effort required from the students, and how students can reach out for help.

By providing this information upfront, you help students understand if the course matches their learning goals and availability, reducing the chances of frustration down the line.

Setting the right expectations helps in building a trusting and transparent relationship with your students.

#6: Personalize the Student Learning Path

Personalization can significantly enhance the learning experience. In Heights Platform, there are a few features you can use to create a personalized learning path

The drip-feed feature allows you to release lessons over time to students who start your course. For example, you can set that a specific lesson will unlock to students only seven days after they enroll in the course.

Another feature you can use is the Lock Lesson feature, which unlocks new lessons only after the previous ones have been completed.

This structured approach ensures students fully grasp each topic before moving on.

Additionally, consider suggesting starting points or pathways within your course based on a student's prior knowledge or experience.

Personalized learning paths cater to individual learning styles and paces, making the educational journey more effective and enjoyable for each student.

#7: Stay Consistent in Your Design

Design is also an important factor that can improve (or destroy) the student experience.

Consistency in design isn't just about aesthetics; it's about creating a seamless learning experience. Use consistent lesson images, graphics, and overall design elements throughout your course to help students navigate the material more easily.

In Heights Platform, you can customize the branding and style of your program, including adding your own logo, selecting your brand colors and fonts, and even changing your custom domain.

Create Your Online Course With Heights Platform

Structuring your online course effectively involves careful planning and strategic implementation, from creating a comprehensive course outline to personalizing the learning path for each student.

By following these best practices, including setting the right expectations, maintaining design consistency, and utilizing features like welcome lessons and customized student dashboards, you can significantly enhance your students' learning experience.

Heights Platform offers a versatile suite of tools that empower creators to achieve these objectives, allowing for the customization and personalization that today's learners expect.

Whether you're aiming to streamline your course structure or enhance student engagement, Heights Platform provides all the flexibility you need to create an awesome learning experience.

Sign up for your free Heights Platform account today!

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Post Topics:  How We Learn