Outline your course

To create a successful course, you’ll want to structure it into sections and lectures that guide your learners through your subject matter in an organized and thoughtful way. Your sections should align to your learning objectives and include lectures that cover the concepts and practice opportunities for learners to achieve those objectives. Generally, each section should map to one learning objective and each lecture should cover a single concept or activity.

Create an outline for your online course that lays out your planned sections and lectures, including the activities and assessments you will add to help learners apply their learning. While creating your outline, think about the format you’ll use for each lecture. Udemy supports video and text lectures, quizzes, coding exercises, assignments, and practice tests.

Get started by downloading our outline template

Download our recommended outline template to help you, or you can create your own. Then, follow the steps below and learn how to set up the foundation for your course.

Build your course outline

Think of your course as a story. It should have three parts: a beginning, middle, and an end, that follow a logical flow that builds knowledge in a way that is clear and makes sense.

Introduction

This is the first 10 minutes or so of your course. The goal at the beginning of your course is to motivate and hook your students. Start your course with the following:

  • Intro lecture: Keep this short and simple, 2-4 minutes. Introduce yourself and explain why you are the best person to teach this course. Set the right expectations, tell the learners what they’ll learn from your course and what they’ll be able to do by the end of your course.
  • Instructional lectures: Introduce the topic and why it’s important in these initial 1-2 lectures.
  • Engagement activity: Engage learners right away by providing an activity within the first few lectures in your course. This could be an exercise or reflection activity and is a great way to motivate your learners.

The middle

This is the main part of your course, where you’ll teach the subject and provide activities and assessments for learners to practice and measure what they’re learning. This part of your course should include sections, consisting of lectures, practice activities, and reference materials:

  • Sections: Focus on covering one learning objective per section. Make sure all the sections build on each other to deliver on all the skills your course promises to address in your learning objectives.
  • Lectures: Each section should contain as many lectures as you need to help learners achieve the section objective. Stick to 1 concept per lecture to make it easy for learners to navigate the course. Keep your videos short, ideally 6 minutes or less. For tech topics you may need to make your lectures longer.
  • Practice activities and assessments: Include at least 1 practice activity or assessment per section, to give learners an opportunity to apply their learning and get a sense of how well they’re meeting the learning objectives. As you create your course outline, consider different projects, quizzes and exercises you can integrate into your course.
  • Reference materials: Don’t forget to note any additional resources you want to add in each section. This could include checklists, worksheets, templates, visual aids, PDF notes, source code, and additional links, as necessary.

The conclusion

End your course with a strong finish that leaves learners feeling motivated to apply their learning. To make an impactful end to your course, summarize key takeaways and thank learners for taking the course:

  • Final lecture: At minimum include a congratulations lecture at the end that summarizes key takeaways from the course, thanks your learners for their time, and leaves them with a sense of accomplishment.
  • Bonus lecture: While optional, you can include a bonus lecture after your final lecture. This is a great opportunity to market other courses or products but please ensure you follow our rules and guidelines for bonus lectures.

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