An easy way to create an online course outline

Home Course planning tips An easy way to create an online course outline

Before you dive into writing content or creating media files for your online course, the first thing to do is to create a course outline. Ideally, this should take place once you’ve decided on your course topic and have a clear idea of what you want your students to learn.

So, what do I mean by a course outline?

An outline is a roadmap or framework showing the modules, lessons and content to be included in your course. 

The outline process

Main topics

  • Decide on the modules or main topics you want to teach in your course.
  • List everything you can think of, this is only a rough draft.
  • You can edit and make changes later on.


  • Create an objective for each topic.
  • Think about what you want students to learn by the end of the topic.


  • List the subtopics or lessons to be included within each module.
  • Make sure you organise the lessons in a logical order and chunk your them into small manageable sections.

Lesson content

  • Create a list of content you’ll teach in each lesson.
  • Don’t fall into the trap of overwhelming your student with too much content.
  • Only give the necessary content to get them to achieve their goals.

Lesson delivery method

  • Decide on the best format to deliver and teach each lesson.
  • There’s no right or wrong way to deliver lessons but if you’re teaching something practical such as a craft or sports, instructional video is definitely the way to go.
  • Other forms of course content can include slides, infographics, activities, quizzes, workbooks or guides.

Whichever way you choose to create your outline is ok as long as it’s super detailed and helps you to see your entire course clearly. This will help to ensure you don’t create a course that’s too overwhelming or complex.

Think of your completed outline as your course blueprint.

And even though it may be tempting to dive straight into content and multimedia creation, remember it’s easier and cheaper to make changes in the planning stage than it is in the production stage.

So if you’ve been struggling with your course outline, I’d love to hear from you. Share your thoughts in the comments below.


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