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Table of contents
Written by:
Martin Barrett
Last Updated:
How To Structure An Online Course

How To Structure An Online Course in (11 Easy Steps)

If you want to make money from your expertise in a field, starting an online course can be massively beneficial. Alternatively, if you have a skill, you can use online courses to impart your knowledge.

To keep your students engaged and to ensure that they make progress, it’s vital for course teachers to properly structure their courses.

Moreover, well-organized online courses will motivate students to achieve their learning goals.

To ensure that your online course is well-structured, simply follow these helpful tips!

How To Structure An Online Course

1. Find The Ideal Course Topic

If you are going to be teaching online for a long time, you should find something that you are passionate about. Otherwise, you will rapidly become bored with teaching.

Therefore, the topic of your course shouldn’t just be something that you know a lot about. It should also be a subject that interests you.

For instance, you might be a skilled woodworker, but you might not enjoy this career. Therefore, it might not be the best subject for you.

Once you have carefully considered what your online course is going to be about, you can start to look at the course structure.

2. Don’t Make Your Course Too Big

Many instructors make the mistake of padding out their classes with extra information and content.

But the truth is that many students don’t want a long learning experience. Instead, they may be overwhelmed if you make your course too long and fill it with too much information.

After all, many students just want to achieve their learning goals. They will want to reach this goal quickly. Therefore, padding out your class to make it appear more comprehensive can actually be a turn-off.

The lessons themselves should also be short and sweet. Lessons that are over an hour long will cause students to become bored.

3. Consider The Aims And Objectives

Think of your online courses as a journey. Essentially, you want your students to arrive at a specific destination.

The lessons that you teach will help your students to progress. Meanwhile, the main purpose of the course is the destination.

For example, if you want to teach guitar online, the goal of your class might be to help beginners learn the basics of guitar playing.

Meanwhile, if your course is dedicated to baking, the aim of the class might be to get your students to make a delicious cake.

Once you know what the aims of your course are, you can begin thinking about how you will structure the lessons so that your students can achieve these objectives.

4. Create A Course Outline

Don’t immediately dive into the content of your classes. Before this, you should devise an outline for the course.

Your outline will include the lessons that you want to teach. Moreover, your classes can be broken into individual modules.

Carefully consider each lesson. This will involve considering not only the main topic of the lesson but also the placement in the course. After all, you will need to teach certain parts of the course before others.

5. Ensure That Your Course Is Interesting

Now you can move on to the individual lessons! After all, this format will impact the usefulness of the course.

When structuring the course, you need to add elements that will engage your students. This will include putting videos in your course or graphs.

Visuals are extremely important, as presentations with blocks of text will cause students to disengage from the material.

To ensure that your course is successful, you should think about the structure of every part of the course. This is right down to the structure of your slides.

6. Add Assignments And Quizzes

Though homework and assignments may not be fun, they can nonetheless be valuable. This is because it demonstrates independent learning and allows students to show that they have made progress.

Not to mention, quizzes can also be a valuable learning tool. Quizzes can also be fun and are a marvelous way of motivating students.

Assignments and quizzes will also add some variety to the learning experience. Otherwise, your students could become bored with the course.

Just make sure that you spread these assignments out when planning the course. Students will be overwhelmed if you add too many assignments.

How To Structure An Online Course

7. Use Instructional Design Storyboards

An instructional design storyboard is a great tool for online educators. These tools are brilliant for designing the structure and content of a lesson.

These storyboards allow you to structure individual lessons and ensure that you are focused.

These storyboards can be used to fill in important information about the lesson. This includes the name of the course and the objectives.

Storyboards will ensure that the structure of your classes is seamless. As a teacher, they will allow you to remain focused on achieving your learning goals.

Moreover, these storyboards will help you to differentiate content. As a result, you won’t accidentally cover the same material.

There are lots of different instructional design storyboard templates online. So be sure to find the one that works best for you. You can even make your own storyboard template, which can be used to plan every one of your lessons!

8. Create Additional Learning Resources

To complement your classes, you should consider making learning resources for your students. This can include extra notes or links to informational videos.

When you are structuring the course, you should consider what additional resources you want to provide. Ideally, these learning resources will match the content of the lesson.

These learning resources are meant to enhance the learning experience of your students. As a result, you should carefully consider what resources will best help your students.

9. Be Consistent

When structuring the course, consistency is key. Your classes should feel as though they are part of the same course.

Though it can be beneficial to experiment with different approaches, changing the structure of your course mid-way through can be jarring.

10. Devise Exams

Toward the end of your course, you should create exams. This will allow you to determine whether students have passed or failed the course. Not every course has exams, as it is not suitable for every subject.

Exams should encapsulate the topics that you have covered during your course. When structuring the exams, it’s important to consider the difficulty level.

After all, you will want to create exams that challenge your students. Not to mention, you don’t want to make it too easy for your students to pass. On the flip side, students shouldn’t struggle to pass the exam.

11. Make Your Students Aware

Once you have finalized the structure of the course, you should inform your students.

You won’t have to tell them about all the intricacies of the course. However, you should tell them about the aims and objectives of the course, as well as the different topics that it will cover.

Creating a schedule is perhaps the best way of doing this. By doing this, you can break down each lesson. This way, students will be aware of the class content as well as when you will be covering certain topics.

You can email this to students once they have signed up.

Alternatively, you can include a brief overview of the course structure alongside the information about the course. It can even be included alongside other learning materials.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is A Course Layout?

A course layout is a useful planning tool. You will need to consider different aspects of the course, such as the assignments, outcomes, and activities.

It’s important to create a thorough course layout, as this is a road map for your course. Without a course layout, your lessons will likely become quite chaotic.

What Are Aims And Objectives?

In an educational context, aims and objectives are the goals that you want to achieve. The aims are your goals, while objectives refer to the strategies that you will take to achieve these aims.

As a teacher, it’s recommended that you create aims and objectives for your lessons. Your aims can be simple or complex. You can have just one aim or an entire list of them.

When structuring your class, you should make sure that your students can achieve these aims.

What Is Course Content?

Course content refers to the educational material that you will be using during the course.

In addition, course content may include the topics that are covered during a course. Course content can come in a range of different forms, such as videos and quizzes.

Teachers must use a wide range of different types of course content. This is because everybody learns in different ways. While some people may benefit from educational videos, others may not.

Final Thoughts

If you want to make an outstanding online course, it is important to carefully consider the structure. This way, you can help your students to achieve their learning goals.

Though structuring your course can take a lot of time and effort. Yet it’s worth spending time perfecting the structure. By using the aforementioned tips, your structure will have a sensational structure!