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Course Outline

Structure your course. Based on your course goals, plan out each section and lecture of your course, what you’ll cover, and how you’ll cover it. Generally, each section should map to one specific skill you’re teaching. While mapping your outline, think about the format you’ll use for each lecture. There are many ways to outline a course. You can download a google sheets version or google docs version of the course outline template, make a copy and start your outline.

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: Create Your Course Outline

In this official Udemy-produced course you will work on a project – YOUR course outline! We’ll help you create a sophisticated outline that will serve as the basis for the rest of your course creation journey. You’ll walk through this important step alongside a fellow Udemy instructor, who will be present throughout this course, and will share his story about working with a Udemy course creation expert.

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


Use Udemy’s Recommended Template

Make a copy of the google sheets template here or the google docs template here.

Build your own template

If you’d rather create your own template, make sure to include the following items:

  • Section and lecture titles
  • Section goal
  • Estimated time of each lecture
  • Lecture format: You’ll need to decide if each lecture should be a talking head, article, screencast or slide presentation (you’ll learn more about this in this course)
  • A place to mark off which lectures are practice opportunities
  • A place to mark off where you will add additional resources, like checklists, templates or pdf articles that might be beneficial to add for your students
  • A place to take notes (or add the script later on)


If you’ve never created an online course before, you should look at some sample outlines to help you understand what you’ll be building up towards in this course. Have a look at our outline examples:

Spreadsheet Example: Successful email campaigns

Word Example: Git 101


Your course has 3 parts – a beginning, middle and end. There are different best practices for each of them.

The first 15 minutes:
The goal at the beginning of your course is to motivate and hook your students. You do this with a compelling intro video and by immediately providing value.

  • Intro lecture. The intro lecture should be 2-4 minutes, and answer the following questions:
    • What am I going to learn in this course?
    • What will I be able to do by the end of the course?
    • Who is this instructor and why is she the best person to be teaching this course?
    • Will this course be fun and engaging?
  • Provide value right away by providing a “quick win” within the first three lectures. This is something that is easy enough for beginner students to do, yet provides them with a feeling that they’ve progressed in a topic early on.
    • Check out examples of a quick win here.

The middle of your course:
This is the main part of your course, where you teach the topic and skills that your students came to learn.

  • Address one skill per section. Give students a chance to make progress every few lectures. A section should ideally contain 3-5 lectures and focus on helping students acquire one new relevant skill.
  • Stick to one concept per lecture. Don’t try to cover too much in a single lecture. One video should be 2-6 minutes long.
  • Make sure your sections add up to the course goals. While each section should help students acquire one new skill, all the sections together should add up to deliver on all the skills your course promises to address in your course goals.
  • Add at least 1 practice activity per section. Students on Udemy want, more than anything, to apply what they’ve learned. As you map out your course outline, consider different projects, quizzes and exercises you can integrate into your course to help students practice and build on concepts they’ve learned. Learn more about practice activities here.
  • Include additional resources. Don’t forget to make a note of additional resources you want to add, like checklists, worksheets, or templates.

The end of your course:
End your course with a strong finish that leaves students with a feeling of reward. Students who feel rewarded are more satisfied with the course and generally leave more positive reviews.

  • Final lecture. At the very least you should include a congratulations lecture. But there are many other creative ideas for final lectures that delight students and leave them with a sense of accomplishment.
  • Bonus lecture. A bonus lecture is the last lecture of the course, typically after the concluding lecture. This is the place where you can market other courses or products. But make sure you are following our rules and guidelines for bonus lectures.


Review your outline one more time: Are you starting strong, and exciting students in the first 15 minutes? Do all of your sections build on each other, and help students reach the goal?

Are your sections well-rounded with a motivating beginning and end? Do you have strong lectures, activities, and additional resources to help students learn the skills well? Are you ending on a high note?

Download the checklist and review your outline before jumping into the next steps of course creation. This will ensure the rest of your journey will run smoothly.