If you’re like most people, you have plenty on your plate. Work, kids, more work, activities, work, a few hobbies, and probably some work. Even though you’ve been thinking about it for a while, your schedule doesn’t allow much time for rolling out an online course.
Before you decide you can’t commit in the midst of all the chaos, take a breath. We know a few tips and tricks to help you create your course in minutes!
Set aside a small chunk of time each day and you’ll knock out your content in no time. Think of it as one small step for man, one giant leap for instructor-kind.
Start with An Idea (15 minutes)
You’ve probably already given some thought to what you might teach. You have experience and expertise you want to share. You may even have done some market research identifying interests and needs in your industry.
Now it’s time to put this information to work. Set the timer for 15 minutes. Make a list of all the possible topics you could cover in your class (the old timers among us call this brainstorming).
Next, grab a pen and scan your list. Eliminate any topics that really don’t make sense or that you just don’t think will work for your audience.
By now your timer has probably buzzed so that’s it for today. You have a working list of ideas rooted in market demand and your own skill set. Easy peasy!
Hone In (15 minutes)
Once you’ve identified a solid list of ideas, bring them into focus. For example, if you’re thinking about travel safety as a topic, consider highlighting group travel or student group travel safety in your course.
It shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes to hone in on your subject matter - and then you’re ready for the next step!
Validate Before You Create (15-20 minutes)
Spend a few minutes (like 15-20) to validate before you create! Make sure your subject meets the needs of your intended audience. There’s nothing worse than spending lots of time and effort developing your course content only to find that no one cares about it.
Validating your idea confirms that what you plan to teach is helpful and marketable. Make a list of short phrases related to your topic and Google them. What pops up on page one? Are there videos, blogs, or other courses related to your subject? If so, then it probably means you are on to something.
You can also validate by checking social media community groups (think Facebook or LinkedIn) and skimming the discussions. Find out if people are interested in your proposed content. What kinds of questions are they asking around the subject? What resources are already available?
You don’t have to spend a ton of time validating. Just a few, concentrated minutes verifies that what you want to present will be well-received. It also helps you create content based on what you learn.
Get Granular (15-20 minutes EACH)
In just under an hour, you’ve taken your class from “big idea” to “hey, I think I have something here!” Now it’s time to drill down…
To be perfectly honest, this is the part that will require most of your time and effort. Do yourself a favor and take baby steps.
Step 1: Outline Course Goals
As an expert, you have a vast and thorough knowledge of your subject area. But sometimes the sheer volume of information you possess can work against you. How do you know what you should include (or NOT)?
This is where your validation research comes into play. What are people Googling and discussing on social media? What do they want to know? Use what you’ve learned to outline your course goals. Address the needs that others have missed.
Step 2: Gather Your Content
Put your expertise to work. Use your experience and resources to fill in the details of your outline with clear, concise learning objectives. If the information you want to use doesn’t fit neatly with your goals, scrap it.
Step 3: Determine How You’ll Deliver Content
Once you know what you’ll be teaching, decide how you’ll be teaching. What’s the best way to deliver your content? Will a slideshow work best? Video? TED talks or blogs? Perhaps all of the above? Determine the most effective and engaging way to educate your audience.
You Can Do It!
Offering your own online class doesn’t have to be a pipedream. You can do it without overwhelming your already crazy schedule. Follow these steps and dedicate a little time each day and you can create your course content in minutes!
For more pro tips on setting up your course from start to finish, check out