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Create Your Course: Step 1

Course Goals

The first step in creating a great course is deciding exactly what you’ll teach, who you’re creating your course for, and what those students are looking to accomplish. It’s not just picking a course topic – instead, you’ll specify your course goals and target student to understand exactly who you’re hoping to teach. Defining your target student and course goal helps you create a solid foundation for building a successful Udemy course.

We’ve created some great resources to get you started. We’ve provided you with two different ways to learn – a video course, or a written overview. (Feel free to do both!)

Option 1: Enroll in this Official Udemy Insights Course: Set Your Course Goals

In this course we’ll help you set the foundation for your course. You’ll walk through these first important steps alongside a fellow Udemy instructor, who will be present throughout this course, learning with you, and asking himself some of the questions you might have. You’ll also meet other instructors who have already published courses, who will share their experience.

Option 2: Continue Reading
Follow the steps below and learn how to set up the foundation for your course. We’ve provided information, resources, and practice activities to get you going.

DEFINE YOUR TARGET STUDENT:

Who is your course for? Many instructors say “my course is for everyone. Anyone can take it!” But if your course is for “everyone”, it actually means that it’s tailored to no one in particular. Think about it: a course for beginners would have to include a lot of introductory material that just wouldn’t be applicable to people with experience. That means there will be a lot of information in your course that will only apply to a small number of students. If students have to sit through irrelevant information they’re likely to leave low reviews. Too broad a focus will also make your course creation more difficult as you won’t know what to leave out so you’ll try to include everything. 

Narrow it down. Our data tells us, courses that speak to a specific audience have a higher enrollment rate and more positive reviews. If you identify a specific target student, that student, when looking at your course description and curriculum will recognize themselves and they’ll know, without a doubt, “Yes, this is the right course is for me.”

It’s easier to narrow things down by first deciding who your course is NOT for. This would be someone who’s interested in your topic, but they want it for a specific purpose, at a certain level, and taught in a particular style that doesn’t match what you’re going to offer.

Student pain point. What pain point, need, or desire is your student coming to your course with? This is important to think about because this is the motivation for your students to take the course in the first place.

It can be hard to put yourself in a students mindset. We suggest talking to people you know who might be interested in or benefit from learning more about your topic. Ask them a few questions about why they might consider taking your course. What is their biggest problem with your topic and what do they want to know more about?

Define your target student. What problem does your course solve? Think about the pain points or needs people have on a day-to-day basis. What projects or tasks do your students hope to accomplish after taking your course? Ask yourself: why should my course exist?

We want you to succeed on our platform. It’s worth taking a few minutes to think about why your course should exist and if you don’t have a clear answer, try and tweak your course topic a bit or go into a slightly different or more specific direction to ensure your course will appeal to a specific target group facing a real problem.


Examples:“My target student ranges from complete beginners interested in digital marketing to intermediate level students, who have worked or currently work for a business that has difficulty retaining users and bringing users back to its platform.”

“Our course is for beginner level students looking to advance their skills in managing relationships and in verbal and written communications.”

Add your target student on Udemy. After completing the “My target student worksheet” make it official by writing about your Target Student on your course landing page for your draft course on Udemy.

Did you know that instructors who write in their target student on the Udemy platform are much more likely to complete and publish their course? So join us and add your target student too.


DEFINE YOUR COURSE GOALS:

What do your students want? The best way to get started thinking about your course goals is to picture the target student you just defined, and the problem or need they currently have. Now think about what they want to get out of the course. How are you going to solve the problems and pain points you’ve already defined? What are their aspirations? What are your students hoping to accomplish in their work or life? Getting a clear idea of what your students want from your course will help you come up with clear course goals.

Taking your course is most likely only one piece of your students’ journey. It’s important for you to understand the bigger picture and see where your course fits in. Maybe your student is trying to get a job, maybe she’s just looking for a better way to get a project done. Maybe she’s taking your course to supplement onsite classes she’s taking that are moving too fast. Being clear about what your students want to move towards will help you find your niche.

How to write a good course goal. The next step is to define the goals of your course. Given what your students ultimate aspirations are, what piece of those aspirations will your course help them accomplish? You need clear goals so your students know what they will be able by the end of your course.

Your course goals should be realistic, and students should be able to demonstrate to themselves that they’ve achieved them. Don’t say things like: “students will be inspired” or “student will change the world for the better”. Instead, a goal should describe what exactly your students will be able to do that they can’t do now.

When describing your course goals, use very strong verbs like build, write, create, differentiate etc., and avoid words like “understand”, “know” and “learn”. Frame your sentences like this: “At the end of the course, students will be able to… [Strong verb] + [Applied/Observable Skill]”.


Tip! Keep it simple.Creating a course is hard, especially for the first time. As you start out, it’s fine to create a shorter course. Try to create a beginner course, or one that focuses on just one specific skill. Then, when you create your second course you’ll be more experienced and more ambitious to try new things, because you’ll already know the basics.

Define your course goals. Before determining the ending point of your course, it can help to look back at the target student you defined earlier. Think about what they’re hoping to accomplish in work or life. Once you have a clear vision of what your students want out of your course, you’ll have an easier time defining what they should be able to do by the end. Use the worksheet below to complete this activity.

Add your course goals on Udemy. Since what you write in the course coals section on Udemy will be visible to your students on the course landing page, we recommend not writing more than 3-5 goals. Look at your list and if you have more, pick the ones you think represent your course the most. Keep your goals clear and concise, using the best practices you’ve learned about measurable and active verbs. Students can then get more detail from your course description or the curriculum.


To edit your course goals now, click into your draft course from your instructor dashboard.

Go to My Draft Course