How to plan the content of your course

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For those of you who are teachers and have created a course outline before, creating a new course and defining its plan is a relatively simple process. However, those who have never encountered the process of developing their own course and recording its characteristics, may consider it as a laborious procedure in which they will have to include lots of information.

To create a lesson and record its characteristics there are some steps required such as:

  • Finding the topic of the lesson
  • Analyzing the profile of the trainees to whom the specific course will be addressed and conducting market research
  • Defining the structure of the course

We analyzed the "Stages of creating a MOOC" in a previous article where we discussed all the stages involved in the process of developing a MOOC. In this article we will provide you with the necessary information so that you can follow all the above steps to record the details of a course, and we will also give you the template we use in Letstudy to organize the structure of a course, including all the information you need to know to create and upload a MOOC on the Letstudy platform.

Finding the topic of the course

It may seem very simple to some people, but in many cases the title and content of the course can be a real puzzle. Many educators create a course through which they try to cover the entire methodology and knowledge around a topic area. In this way, they create a theoretically perfect content but unfortunately it may not reflect the real needs of the learners.

For example, let's suppose a student wants to learn how to edit photos with Photoshop and the teacher creates the lesson "Everything you would like to learn about image editing", in which he also analyzes other tools one can use to edit images, not just Photoshop. The information may be useful but it is not what the student ultimately needs. In the example above, if the teacher's goal was for the student to learn everything around this field, a better practice would be to create different lessons for each program.

Of course, the lesson you choose to create should be something in which you have enough knowledge and experience to better communicate what you know. It should be something that excites you as a topic and you like to deal with. If you want to make a specific focus on the topic of your course then you can conduct an online survey on the topics that concern the users who are interested in the scope of your course.

You can browse various blogs to see questions that concern users, read quora questions, study Facebook groups with your subject, use the results Google returns to a query to see if videos have been developed around this and/or if there are any ads, and finally check what courses have been developed on other MOOC platforms.

Trainee profile analysis and market research

The analysis of the profile of the trainees refers to what we call "Target Group", ie defining the audience that will be interested in your lesson, figuring out whether there are enough people interested or the issue you want to develop is quite "narrow" so it does not have much impact to the audience.

The profile analysis of the trainees is quite an important step because through this analysis you will see what the users you are addressing already know and figure out the way to project the new information to them. If the users are beginners on your topic then you should include more details in your presentations and make sure to place frequent knowledge assessment activities and quizzes, to check what they gained from the course so far.

Defining the structure of the course

The structure of the course is the second thing you need to determine, after finding the topic of your MOOC. In order for you to organize the information you need, we have prepared a template which you can download and use from the following link:

The template contains 3 worksheets with the following information:

    1. Course Description Sheet.In this sheet you write down various elements of the course such as the title, any prerequisites, its duration (usually in weeks), the level, the ECTS and the necessary summary of the course. Next, you should record the course schedule by highlighting the start and end dates as well as the fees and/or the cost of the certificate. Then follows the section"To whom it is addressedwhere you should write down in all details the things you know about your target group, so that the user can identify themselves in it. Then, a very important step is to record the learning objectives of the course which are usually displayed in bullet point format. Finally, you fill the area with the teacher's information.
    2. Course Outline sheet. On the second sheet of the template, the outline of the course is recorded in detail. Each course consists of sections which are merely a framework for organizing the course. Many times these sections are also the weeks of the course (eg Week 1 - [WEEK TITLE 1], Week 2 - [WEEK TITLE 2] and so on). Each sections consists of subsections whose sole purpose is to organize the educational content. Finally, the educational content is the real content that the learner sees. For example it could be a video, a text, a file download, an activity (see Figure 1) In the column "Youtube Links" you record the URLs from the Videos, when it comes to Videos with educational content. In the "Quizzes" column, you enter the name of the Quiz in the corresponding line of the educational content in which it will appear. The same goes for the "Assessments" column where you enter the name of the task where it will appear.
    3. The "Learning Objectives" Sheet. In addition to the learning objectives of the whole lesson, you should also define the learning objectives for each unit separately so that you can include it as information at the beginning of each unit. This template sheet refers to writing down that information.

Figure 1: Course Structure 

Those of you who have never written down learning goals, you can see the verbs that you can use in each case to describe the goal, so that you do not repeat yourself.

For goals that refer to knowledge

Recognize

Enumerate

Contrast

Segregate

Choose

Explain

Classify

Categorize

Name

Describe

Determine

Compare

Correlate

Sort

Write

For goals that are related to skills

Prove

Solve

Correct

Apply

Check

Set

Verify

Illustrate

Plan

Complete

Use

Choose

Organize

Demonstrate

For goals concerning attitudes

Question

Apply

Accept

Urge

Reject

Prefer

Adopt

Incite

Support

Encourage

Appreciate

Wonder

Refuse

Conclusions

Determining the title of the course as well as its structure is a demanding task which one achieves over time, when they have already created enough MOOCs. The guide you have downloaded can help you a lot, especially if you are a new user, in order to organize all the necessary information that you need to enter to create your lesson.

If you need more information, do not hesitate to fill out the contact form and ask us any questions that may concern you.

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