How to Create an Online Course Curriculum (2023)

Determine the Outcome for the Online Course

If you think about it, eLearning courses are all meant to achieve the desired outcome more quickly. You educate and provide your learners with the learning resources that they need to succeed in their area of work or develop a deep understanding of their subject matter.

Your audience or learners have specific pain points. When you’ve identified them, your aim should be to solve problems for your audience through the online course. That’s the desired outcome that you need to identify as the first step. If your online course curriculum fails to address those pain points, it isn’t going to be successful.

Here is how you can determine the outcome:

Study Your Targeted Learners

To be able to design an online course that blows your audience's minds, you need to determine who your targeted learners are. Ask yourself, “what group do I understand the most?”

Think of a community that can truly benefit from your expertise and knowledge. Ideally, you should choose a group that you deeply know about.

If you think your audience is digital marketers, dig a little deeper to know whether any digital marketer will benefit from your course or a specific segment within them.

You’ll perhaps find out that not all digital marketers are your target market, but for instance, only social media marketers in the e-commerce industry.

Alternatively, if you already know who makes your target audience, you may directly ask them who they are and what they value. One great strategy is to develop a relevant survey and send it out to your email list. The aim of the survey should be to understand the pain points of your target audience or what they are struggling with.

Let’s take a look at an example. Suppose you are developing a survey for social media marketers. Through the survey, you need to ask about their goals for implementing a social media strategy, ways in which they are monetizing their social media efforts, the earnings they generate from work and things they struggle with, etc.

To sort through outliers, you need to ask demographic questions. However, do give your audience a chance to answer questions anonymously if they want. That should help obtain more honest results.

Besides email, there are many other ways to identify the struggles of your audience. You can create a poll on Instagram Stories, share a high-quality and relevant blog post with a CTA to share the issues they face, include questions in your Instagram story captions, share posts on Facebook groups, conduct discovery calls with the most relevant audience members, post in subreddits that your audience hangs out on, etc.

Once you’ve obtained answers from your audience, identify patterns and trends. List down the consistencies and common themes of the pain points experienced by the audience. Then, narrow them down to 2 to 3 most popular issues.

Determine the Outcome

Once you have the most important pain points of your audience at your disposal, decide which of them you would be most interested in addressing. This will help you define the outcome.

Suppose that the biggest challenge of your target audience is to convert their freelancing work into a full-time earning potential. They are able to earn a few hundred dollars through social media marketing for clients, but they wish to generate more income from their work.

Using those insights, you may decide that you must teach the learners to earn 5 times more than they're earning now. Since you've done this yourself, you know what social media strategies work for marketers to boost their revenue. Hence, you are confident that this is possible.

In other words, list down the things you want your course takers to learn and achieve by the end of the course. Define clear objectives including what knowledge and skills your learners will acquire. These objectives will not only help you prepare the course curriculum, but they will also help you evaluate students after course delivery.

How to Create an Online Course Curriculum (1)

Create a Curriculum Tailored to Meet the Outcome

Now that you’re aware of your outcome, you’re in a great position to craft a curriculum that is sure to work for the learners. It should offer the same level of success to learners as you have had. Here are some steps to develop a solid curriculum:

Gather Teaching Materials and Resources

Collect all the resources you have, including the instructional materials and content you have researched and previously taught materials online and offline. Organize them in order of relevance and importance and store them in a USB drive, online or in your PC, so that you can easily access them when required.

You may be tempted to skip this step, but organizing the resources and materials can save you a lot of time when the time comes to use them for creating your curriculum.

The material might include syllabi from related college courses, textbooks, notes, worksheets, quizzes, assignments, exams, articles, online resources, etc. Ask your colleagues or subject matter experts to provide valuable resources on the subject. Simple course lessons or curriculum templates can easily get you started.

Establish Goals and a Timeframe

It takes time to design a quality course curriculum. To plan, design, and build an online course curriculum, you need to dedicate uninterrupted time into the process. Whether you are redesigning a curriculum or developing an entirely new curriculum, obligations, such as family and work, determine the time it will take to develop the curriculum.

Thus, you will need to set realistic goals and deadlines for yourself based on these factors.

When establishing a timeline, you will also need to take into account the time it will take to deliver the course. If it’s an ongoing course with a series of online sessions, determine the time that has to be allocated to each session.

List Down the Success Strategies

For creating an online course curriculum, think about what you did in the past to achieve success or reach this point. This will help you determine everything your learners need to know to achieve the outcomes you defined earlier. Work backward from where you stand today. List down the most important things you did during the earlier days of your career.

Your strategies may include developing a large professional network on LinkedIn, building the follower count for your business profiles on Facebook and Twitter, joining relevant groups, developing a habit to study popular online marketing blogs, such as Moz, Search Engine Journal, Neil Patel, etc., approaching major influencers on different social media platforms, creating a lot of content on the subject, searching for social media marketing clients on those platforms, and helping them achieve their online marketing goals.

Once you have listed down the strategies, arrange them in actionable steps.

Translate the Steps Into Online Lessons

Now that you have the key steps in order, group these steps into lessons. For instance, you can group developing a professional LinkedIn network, increasing follower count, and joining relevant groups on Twitter and Facebook into one lesson, 'Maximizing your social media reach'

As you are grouping steps, don’t include too many lessons in a course. Keep in mind that many learners won’t complete the course in one go, while others may jump around the sections a lot. Therefore, it’s important to ensure that you don’t make it too difficult to find specific lectures within the online course.

Use logic when arranging the lessons. Your curriculum should make sense. For instance, if you are making a social media marketing curriculum, it makes sense to start with the basics and then include the more difficult, time-consuming, and paid marketing strategies.

How to Create an Online Course Curriculum (2)

Split the Lessons Into Lectures

To further simplify course delivery and make lesson navigation easy for learners, break down the lessons into lectures in a logical way. Instead of stuffing a lot of information in a long 30-minute video, divide the lessons into multiple videos that don’t exceed 10 minutes.

There is no hard and fast rule to keep the videos as short as 10 minutes. Training videos for certain skills, such as painting or cooking, can be longer than 30 minutes. In fact, learners wouldn’t like such training videos to be split into parts.

Hence, organize the lessons into lectures depending on your specific subject. Some courses tend to have pretty obvious organization. For others, you will need to use your knowledge, experience, and intuition.

Use Stories When Creating the Curriculum

When you are creating an online course curriculum, include stories as that fosters engagement, which leads to effective learning. Therefore, you must use them in your online courses. Keeping that in mind, your curriculum should include engaging story scripts to deliver concepts and ideas.

However, the scripts, images, or videos you use must be highly relevant to the targeted learners. They will only be able to captivate them if they happen to be something the learners can relate to.

Plan for Assessments

Finally, don't forget to define how you're going to evaluate the learners in your online course curriculum. This will help determine whether the learners acquired the knowledge and skills that they set out to achieve.

This will in turn determine the success and value of the curriculum as well as the course format and delivery. For evaluation, you can use quizzes in between lessons, ask questions through the scenarios and stories used, take comprehensive tests at the end of the course.

Remember: U-Turns are Allowed

As a first-year teacher, you may be creating an online course curriculum for the first time. While there are always exceptions, there is a high chance that you may not be able to perfect the curriculum the first time around. You may not even get there on your 2nd or 3rd try and that’s alright.

Sometimes, a curriculum looks flawless, but it’s not, and one can only find out how effective a curriculum is once they implement it.

Once you are done creating a curriculum, begin delivering the course, and analyze its performance. You will never know whether the content, stories, quizzes, and assessments are a good fit for the targeted learners until they are presented to them.

During the delivery, some aspects will work out perfectly, while others may not. This is part of curriculum development. Use the failures to refine the curriculum and create a better one next time around.

Final Word

By now, you should have developed a clear idea about how online course curriculums are designed. As long as you are an expert in the field you’re trying to train learners in, creating an online course curriculum should be easy for you. If you are new to it, don’t worry, you will learn over time.

Once you’re done creating an online course curriculum for your eLearning course, get in touch with Raccoon Gang to translate it into course content!


How do you create a course curriculum? ›

How to create a curriculum for your course in 7 steps
  1. Brainstorm desired outcomes.
  2. Identify your target audience and their pain points.
  3. Narrow down your learning outcome.
  4. Create a list of milestones and lessons.
  5. Estimate the time to complete each lesson.
  6. Compile course content, materials, and resources.
  7. Get student feedback.

How do I create an online training program? ›

How to Create Online Training Courses in 5 Incredibly Easy Steps
  1. Step 1: Define Your Online Training Goals and Learner Persona. ...
  2. Step 2: Create an Outline for Your Online Training. ...
  3. Step 3: Build the Content for the Online Training Courses. ...
  4. Step 4: Engage Your Learners. ...
  5. Step 5: Measure Meaningful Engagement Metrics.

How do you plan an online course content? ›

5 steps to plan your online course (with templates)
  1. Define your audience.
  2. Choose your course topic.
  3. Build your course outline.
  4. Structure your lesson plans.
  5. Design your course storyboard.
26 Aug 2022

Is selling online courses profitable? ›

Creating and selling online courses can be quite lucrative if you're able to provide great content and reach your target market. Plus, with existing modern platforms, you can launch your course and start making money right away.

How do I create and sell a course online? ›

Steps to Create and Sell Courses Online
  1. Select a subject that has demand in the market.
  2. Increase Your Online Presence or Your Brand's Presence.
  3. Get the Right Devices.
  4. Choose a Host Platform.
  5. Decide the Charges for Your e-Learning Course.
  6. Launch Your Online Course with a Small Audience.
16 Dec 2021

Which software is used for online teaching? ›

Vedamo is a virtual classroom platform and learning management system that is built for online tutoring. The virtual classroom is browser-based and does not require any download to join. You can even play around with a demo virtual classroom without creating an account.

What should online courses include? ›

Be sure to include interactive lessons, group projects, hands-on labs, class discussions, and private chats that students can use to connect directly with their teacher. Here are some other elements that contribute to a highly-collaborative online learning environment: Video announcements, feedback, and tips.

What are the 5 curriculum models? ›

Curriculum models have five areas they define:
  • Focus- subject or student. Where is the emphasis?
  • Approach - traditional or modern. What type of instruction will be used?
  • Content - topic based or content based. How will units or strands be written?
  • Process - formative or summative. ...
  • Structure - system, linear or cyclical.
10 Nov 2021

What are the 5 basic types of curriculum? ›

The five basic types of curriculum are Traditional, Thematic, Programmed, Classical, and Technological. The most used curriculum can be found within these broader categories.

What are the 4 components of the curriculum? ›

From a UDL perspective, we think of four components to a curriculum: the goals, the methods, the materials, and the assessment. They are very closely interrelated in that the goal is the primary thing with which a lesson begins and the others line up to achieve that goal.

What are the 5 elements of a curriculum plan? ›

The Five Elements of the Curriculum That Matters Framework
  • Practices. Practices are used by students to apply an idea, a belief, or a method to construct understanding. ...
  • Deep Thinking. ...
  • Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) ...
  • Civic Engagement. ...
  • Equity.
27 Jul 2022

How long does it take to design a curriculum? ›

The curriculum development process can be categorized into five basic steps: 1) needs assessment, 2) the planning session, 3) content development, 4) pilot delivery and revision, and 5) the completed curriculum package. The ideal situation is to have, at a minimum, 12 - 18 months to design and develop a curriculum.

What are the four types of curriculum design? ›

There are four elements of curriculum design:
  • Goals: what you want to learn.
  • Content: how you'll learn it.
  • Instruction: how you'll use the content to learn the goals.
  • Assessment: how you'll measure your learning.
13 Apr 2022

What kind of online courses sell the most? ›

The most in-demand online courses right now are in the following course categories:
  • Blockchain and Crypto.
  • Trading.
  • Video Production.
  • Graphic Design.
  • Photography.
  • Arts & Crafts.
  • Health and Fitness.
  • Personal Development.
13 Oct 2022

Why are my online courses not selling? ›

Not building an audience from the start. Targeting too many traffic sources. Not having a marketing funnel. Getting your course pricing strategy wrong.

Which online courses is most profitable? ›

12 Best Niches for Online Courses 2022
  1. Entrepreneurship and Business. The first one to make it to our list is Entrepreneurship and Business, as it's one of the most profitable niches for online courses. ...
  2. Computer and IT. ...
  3. Web Design. ...
  4. Academics. ...
  5. Fitness and Lifestyle. ...
  6. Digital Marketing. ...
  7. Arts & Crafts. ...
  8. Writing & Content Creating.
15 Aug 2022

How much does it cost to create an online course? ›

At an estimated 80 to 280 hours required to develop a 1-hour course, you can expect to pay roughly $5,850 USD to over $15,000 USD to get a fully polished course, in addition to the cost of your Instructional Designer (ID) and SME.

How much can you make from making an online course? ›

You can make anywhere from $1000 to $100,000 or more per year selling online courses. Your revenue is going to depend mostly on the amount of traffic that you can bring to your courses, your conversion rate, and the price of your courses.

How long does it take to create an online course? ›

Many aspiring creators ask themselves this very question when they are looking to start a new online course. The time you will need to put a course together really depends on your specific case, however it generally takes anywhere between 25 to 500 hours to craft an online course.

What equipment do I need to teach online classes? ›

To recap, here's a list of the equipment you'll need to teach online.
  • A good laptop or desktop computer.
  • A pair of headphones with good sound quality.
  • An HD webcam so students can see you clearly.
  • Ample room lighting, including a selfie ring light.
  • High-speed internet connection.
  • Adjustable laptop stand.
  • Dry-erase board.
23 Jan 2022

Which method is best for online teaching? ›

  • 1.Experiment with graphical presentations.
  • Use virtual white board.
  • Try out flipped classroom method ​
  • Take live online classes more often.
  • Exercise healthy group discussions and debates.
  • Record screens and videos by using different tools.
  • Use Artificial Intelligence for improving teaching techniques.

Which website is best for teaching online? ›

15 Top Online Teaching Platforms
  1. Chegg Tutors. Chegg Tutors is a top online teaching platform. ...
  2. is one of the oldest teaching sites online. ...
  3. TutorMe. TutorMe is a comprehensive online teaching site. ...
  4. MyPrivateTutor. MyPrivateTutor is one of the largest online teaching sites. ...
  5. Skooli. ...
  6. Wize. ...
  7. BuddySchool.
10 Mar 2022

How many modules should an online course have? ›

For a shorter course, you probably only want 3 to 5 main steps or modules that will comprise the bulk of your course. Every module contains several lessons that teach the actual course.

What are the key factors for making an online course effective? ›

Five Factors for Successful Online Learning
  • Use a systems approach to course design. ...
  • Provide professional development. ...
  • Set student expectations. ...
  • Create community. ...
  • Take advantage of the online environment.
29 Mar 2018

› blog › the-ultimate-guide-to-creating-... ›

Digital education and e-learning had more than $46 billion in sales in 2018 (the most recent year we have data for). Global e-learning and course consumption ha...
Online courses are one of the best ways to create passive income in your business. But without the right strategies in place, you'll hear crickets.
If you want to sell online courses that are ready to go and properly formatted for Learning Management Systems, you can skip the parts about creating and format...

What is a course curriculum? ›

The term curriculum refers to the lessons and academic content taught in a school or in a specific course or program. In dictionaries, curriculum is often defined as the courses offered by a school, but it is rarely used in such a general sense in schools.

What is an example of a curriculum? ›

A curriculum may also refer to a defined and prescribed course of studies, which students must fulfill in order to pass a certain level of education. For example, an elementary school might discuss how its curricula is designed to improve national testing scores or help students learn fundamental skills.

What are the 4 types of curriculum? ›

There are four different types of curricula that educators have to address in the classroom; these four are the explicit, implicit, null, and extracurricular.

What are the 5 types of curriculum? ›

The five basic types of curriculum are Traditional, Thematic, Programmed, Classical, and Technological. The most used curriculum can be found within these broader categories.

What are the 8 types of curriculum? ›

Seven Types of Curriculum
  • Recommended Curriculum.
  • Written Curriculum.
  • Taught Curriculum.
  • Supported Curriculum.
  • Assessed Curriculum.
  • Learned Curriculum.
  • Hidden Curriculum.
7 Jan 2015

What should a curriculum include? ›

A curriculum includes everything that is part of the plan for instruction, including a scope and sequence, instructional units, lesson plans, resources, teaching strategies, and more.

What are the basic types of curriculum? ›

  • Subject curriculum.
  • Teacher Centered curriculum.
  • Learner centered curriculum.
  • Activity/Experience curriculum.
  • Integrated curriculum.
8 Aug 2014

What are the basics of curriculum? ›

Curriculum is what is taught in a given course or subject. Curriculum refers to an interactive system of instruction and learning with specific goals, contents, strategies, measurement, and resources. The desired outcome of curriculum is successful transfer and/or development of knowledge, skills, and attitudes.

› watch ›

Creating a curriculum for your online course isn't as tricky as it might seem! This video sums up the curriculum creation to p...

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