There is a lot to consider when developing your online course content.
What information should be included? How much is too much or too little?
What tools should you use to create your content? What about delivering your content?
You want your learners to absorb the material, but not be overwhelmed by it, and ultimately achieve the outcome your teaching promises. Having a course that both engages and educates your learners takes some planning, but luckily it’s easy to achieve.
Online platforms provide many options for creating content that will appeal to various types of online learners. This allows you to present your material from multiple angles. The following are some tips that will help when planning your content design.
- What Outcome Will Your Learners Achieve
This one should come as no surprise.
Before you can begin writing content, first focus on what the course should accomplish. What skills will your learners need to hit the mark?
Use these skills as a “punch list” for what content to include in your training. Creating your content with this in mind ensures you are including what your learners need to be successful.
- Create a straight-forward Syllabus
This is where you’ll provide participants with a summary of what the course will cover. You can also use it to develop a schedule of how and when the content will be shared.
Use the syllabus while planning how your material will be presented, making changes where necessary. By the time your course is ready to go, you’ll have a well-formulated schedule and the content to go with it.
- Use Multimedia
Multimedia content is the closest thing to personal interaction.
And video content is one of the best options for keeping your learner engaged.
Videos are great for breaking down complex concepts with manipulatives and demonstrations. Video also helps to build rapport, so I highly recommend it.
Mix things up by sharing your content:
- on slides with text + images (score extra points with animated images!),
- you (come out from behind the camera – your audience wants to see you!) and
- when it works for your subject matter, include demonstrations.
Audio is another option when visuals aren’t a factor for teaching your material. Audio also gives your learners more flexibility than video as they can tune in when driving, going for a walk, or other activity.
Other types of multimedia you may consider are infographics which are great for taking complex ideas or processes and representing them visually. Digital books like guides or workbooks are also helpful for your learners.
- Create for Different Learning Styles
I’ve mentioned using multimedia and other types of content to suit different learning styles, but this is an important point to remember when creating all of the content in your course. Each user will have a specific way of learning and retaining information.
Think on a broad spectrum. For instance, incorporate real-life examples for those who respond well to actual scenarios, and use images for visual learners. Consider providing audio content to supplement written information.
The key is to include multiple delivery methods. This will offer the most value and benefit to your online learners.
You might also include exercises to promote user participation. For example, incorporate a group project that encourages learners to work together + encourage accountability. Or add an activity that walks them through a process that will directly apply the information they are learning.
- Include Assessments
Assessments help you and your learner gauge progress in the training and identify areas where they might be struggling.
If your learners are getting hung up on a topic, an assessment can help you find that. Then you can focus more attention in that area before moving forward in the training. Likewise, you can also use quizzes to gather similar feedback.
Lastly, be sure to include a survey at the end of your training. You can use the results to improve the content or structure going forward.
- Make It Digestible
One of the many benefits of online learning is that learners no longer need to absorb hours of content in one sitting.
Learners retain information better when it is presented in smaller segments. Offering the course material in more digestible chunks will present a well-organized plan for completion.
For example, break down the main topic of your course into relevant sub-topics or modules that are conceptually easy to manage. You can divide these into even smaller lessons. Not only is this easier for your learner to digest, it also makes it easy for them to refer back to when they need a refresher about a specific idea.
Using these points as your learning objectives will help participants retain the information.
- Provide Additional Resources
Additional resources give your online learners a way to expound upon the knowledge you will teach them. Gaining access to this information is one of the greatest benefits an online course has to offer.
Think about other resources you can include that supplement or enhance your content. It might be other websites, journals, blogs, tools, calculators – whatever helps them meet the goal of the course. Each resource should align in some way to a particular topic you will cover.
You can add these resources in the form of links, videos, or articles that offer more information. For example, if you are teaching a module on writing, you might link to a website containing an article providing proofreading tips.
Sure online learners can research topics of interest on their own, but by providing them with supplementary material, you are encouraging continuous learning beyond your course. Besides, having links and multimedia at their fingertips will serve as an incentive for them to return to your course when revisiting a topic.
Online Course Content Wrap Up
Remember, your course is always evolving. Keeping up with emerging technology will enable you to create online content that will reach a broad range of learners.
Don’t be afraid to try new ways of presenting your content. As your course grows, you can eliminate what’s not working and only keep what is.
Keep the content fresh, straight-forward, and easy to consume + navigate. This will help learners meet the objective of your course.
Looking for more information on creating online courses that get results? Schedule a Free Consultation to learn more about how I can help you stop trading time for money by bringing your offline training online.