What goes into making a Course?

Off the shelf online learning library

We’ve been making great learning for years now and we love nothing more than seeing others make content they can be proud of too.  Our main aim, whenever we’re creating a course, is to make sure that it really blows us away.  If we’re not in a “flap” at how great it is, then it’s not worth pursuing.

So what makes a course great? Whether you’re looking for a great off-the-shelf library, working with a contractor on some custom content or even making it yourself, we believe there are some key rules to follow and things to think about.

Here’s our 101 guide to making great online content: –

  1. Always think about the learner – what’s in it for them? What are they going to get out of the course? Why would they want to take it? Sometimes you need to get key messages across, but putting yourself in the learner’s shoes, will go a long way to making a course engaging
  2. K.I.S.S – keep it simple stupid! Sorry to be rude, but the worst courses out there are that way because they are long and unwieldy.  In our experience ‘less is more’ and sticking to a few key learning points will be far more successful than cramming everything in
  3. Recognise that e-learning and micro-learning, for that matter, doesn’t suit every eventuality.  You may have a burning desire to make everything bitesize, video-based and online, but that’s probably not going to work.  Some stuff just sits better in the classroom
  4. When making a course think about your audience (the customer) – what will they want to see? What will be important to them?
  5. Don’t scrimp on planning and storyboarding – the more time you spend preparing and honing your content the better.  The best courses are those that have been properly researched, compiled, reviewed and tested
  6. Don’t underestimate the power of a great voiceover.  This will often make or break a course in terms of people’s engagement.  We’ve all sat through that lesson where the teacher just drones on.  So don’t repeat that in your exciting learning.  Otherwise ‘Snore City’ awaits.
  7. Use a course design checklist – go back and make sure your course hits the right marks.  Also, don’t mark your own homework.  Get others to review, critique and independently work through a course.  The quality will be far higher as a result
  8. Use the recency effect which allows you to break down your course and use different techniques to highlight things e.g. use an animation or a visual, highlight key words as they appear, use examples etc.
  9. Think about if you want any accompanying resources – this might be as simple as an infographic, but could be far more involved from workbooks to additional videos, to exercises and questions to check compliance etc.
  10. Remember to have fun – you’re creating this course or video because you’re passionate about the topic.  If you’re bored, then so will the person watching your content.  Remember, you need to be wowed and mind-blown at the end!

Ultimately, it’s useful to think of content creation as a production line.  That doesn’t mean you should try and time everything to the minute and second, but following good processes and methods will ensure consistency of approach.

Happy content creating!