The #1 Secret to Writing Your Course Outline

LMCC Podcast Episode Cover

Are you ready to start writing your online course? Maybe you've written it, but you're not quite sure about it.

Or maybe you're trying to write it and you're stuck.

Well, today is going to help you get started and get on the right track to creating a killer course that will turn your students into raving fans. We're going to be talking about the three steps to create a killer course.

And I'll be teaching you my number one biggest secret to make your own online course that turns your students into raving fans.

I'll be walking you step by step through this guide. And by the time we're done here, you'll be able to take that guide and implement what we're talking about. And you'll have a solid outline for your course. All right, let's dive into creating your course outline.

Before we begin, I want you to know I like to compare writing your course to building a house. And I don't mean that it's as difficult, but believe me, there are some days that it does feel as hard, if not harder, than building a house.

So we're going to take it step-by-step and make it easier than building a house. But we are going to compare it to building a house because the steps are like building a house.

I want you right now and I want you to picture your dream home.

What does it look like? Okay, now that you've got it pictured, what did you picture?

Did you picture the cement, the foundation, maybe the wooden framework that goes up before all the beautiful stuff, the electrical wires?

I'm guessing that's probably not what you pictured when I said picture your dream home.

I'm guessing you probably saw that big, beautiful kitchen with that beautiful subway tile backsplash and that big, nice island counter. Or maybe you pictured that wide-open living room where your family is going to gather with the Christmas tree in the corner.

Those are probably the things that you pictured when you pictured your dream house.

Now, when you think of your course, you probably picture the same type of thing. You don't picture all of the nitty-gritty of writing your course.

The outline, the modules you picture this beautiful course that's done it's online. You have students, they're engaged, they're loving it, and they're learning all these things from you.

That's probably what you picture in your mind, this beautiful course. And that is my goal is to help you get to that end site.

But before that, just like with building a house, we have to do all the dirt work.

You have to build the foundation for your course.

You have to frame your course, also known as the blueprint. Just like you have a blueprint when you build your house.

Then you get to do all of the fun stuff.

You get to write the actual lessons and put all of that knowledge that you have into your course.

So let's take a deep dive into those three steps.

Building your foundation.

So let's start with my number one secret, which is building your foundation.

This is the most important part when you are writing a course.

I cannot say that enough times. This is the number one way to make sure your students get those results that you're promising.

And it is the most important thing you must do when you're outlining your course and writing your course.

So the foundation of a house provides support for the entire house, right? Without the foundation, what would happen to the house? It would crumble. It would sink. All of those bad things that we hear about. When foundations start to crack, all of these repairs have to be made, right?

The same is true for your course. This foundation is the entire foundation for your course. It is what your course is built on. And it is what is going to make sure that your students are getting a solid understanding of what you are teaching. It's going to make sure that everything that you teach is aligned to your promised result.

So what is this foundation?

Your foundation is the big learning goal for your course.

Now you might be saying, well, what is my big learning goal?

Your big learning goal is what do you want your students to be able to walk away from your course being able to do or what do you want them to know?

This should be just ONE thing.

So what is that one big thing that you want your students to be able to walk away with when they finish your course? Again, one thing.

Having this foundation again, picturing, building a house, the foundation. Once it's solid, then you can start building the walls and creating the structure and seeing the structure of your house and therefore the same as with our course.

Once you come up with this big learning goal, you can start to create your outline. And this outline is going to connect to your foundation.

Just like in framing a house, the framing is built on the foundation.

Your course, your outline is going to be built on this foundation.

So I want you to think what is that one thing that you want your students to be able to know or do when they finish your course?

This is the number one secret to creating a solid course for your students. And once you have that, the outline can start to kind of fall into place and it creates some clarity around what you should put in your course and what you can leave out., and if things make sense.

So that leads us to...

Framing Your Course

So now that you have the foundation, you can start to create your outline or frame your course.

When you're building a house, the framing is what gives your house structure, right?

You can start to see it. You can kind of visualize where the bedrooms are going to be. You're going to know where the bathrooms are, you're going to know where that big beautiful island is going to be because things are starting to come together and create a picture.

Your course outline is going to come together in the same way.

Now that your foundation is built, you are going to start to create that frame.

How do you do that?

What you're going to do is you are going to write the steps that it would take your students to go through to get to that foundation, or that final goal.

You don't want a million minuscule steps. You want the big things like your big rocks of learning that they need to do. Again, think about that house. Are we decorating right now? No, you're just doing the bare bones of your course and these are the main steps to get to that learning goal.

Your main steps are going to be your modules.

So for example, if I am writing a course on baking, I love to bake. And one of my favorite things to Bake is homemade Oreo cookies. If I were going to teach a course about homemade Oreo cookies, my foundation would be my one big learning goal. And I want my students to be able to walk away from my course knowing how to bake homemade Oreo cookies so they're absolute perfection.

That's my foundation.

Now, when I think about this, what steps do I need my students to know to be able to make those cookies?

Well, the first step is they need to know the ingredients.

The second step is they need to know how to mix the ingredients, like what order because there's a specific order to make it correctly.

The third step that they need to know is how to bake the cookies.

My fourth step is how to make the frosting.

So those are my four big steps.

Now, you notice I didn't go into any detail on any of those. Do you know how to make cookies? From what I said, no. But you can probably start to visualize what steps you would be going through if you were going through my course. It kind of starts to tell a story here.

So when you read through your outline, it should start to tell a story.

So again, when I read through the outline of my Oreo cookies, my foundation is my students are going to be able to make the ultimate perfect homemade Oreo cookies. They're going to know what ingredients go into it. They're going to know how to mix those ingredients. They're going to know how to bake the cookies, and they're going to know how to make the frosting.

Can you picture that in your mind? Kind of see those steps?

The same goes for your course.

Make sure when you're reading through it, you can literally close your eyes and picture the story of what you're telling your students.

That is a little tip for you.

Your outline should start to tell the story of your course.

Now that leads us to step number three.

Adding The Details

Now that you have your outline or you have your house framed, you get to do all of the fun stuff. You get to start adding in the details.

Now what you're going to do is just with building your house. When you build a house, you're going to decorate each room, right? And maybe you have a theme for your overall house. And so you look at each room and you decide, okay, this room is not going to look like every other one, but it is going to have a nice flow throughout the house. So we have this beautifully decorated house.

The same goes for your course. Now that you have your outline and you have those big steps that are going to lead your students to that main goal, you are going to now start to fill in your big steps.

So you have your first big step, which is your first module. Now focusing just on that big step, you're going to write the steps that it's going to take your learners to take to achieve the goal for that module.

Let's look at my Oreo example. My first module was the ingredients. Now I need to list out the steps that the students are going to need for the ingredients module.

My goal for that module is always leading back to my foundation, which is to make the perfect cookies.

In this module, I am going to list out the details of the ingredients. The first ingredients that my students need are the wet ingredients. This is the shortening, butter, and vanilla. Then I'm going to list out my dry ingredients. That's the second step because they've got to get all of their dry ingredients.

Now that I have those two steps, these would be my two lessons in this module. The first lesson would be all about the wet ingredients and what my students should buy. Then my second module is the dry ingredients and what brands I want the students to get of those or what types and the amounts.

That's how that works. Now I have my first module, which is my first big step to getting to my main goal. Now under that module or that big step, I have the little steps to get to that big step.

That's how you're going to fill in the rest of your course outline.

You're going to go through and just look at big steps or module by module, you're going to fill in the little steps to get to that big step.

Always, always remember that those little steps should be leading to the big step, which leads to the ultimate goal of your course.

That's the way that you can guarantee a solid learning experience for your students.

If your course goes in a way that it's building upon each other and is always pointing back to that solid foundation, that one big learning goal, your students will get those results that you are promising.

It will be written in a way that the students understand it and they are able to grasp the concepts because it's organized in a way that their brain can process it and it's not overwhelming, and it's all leading back to that one big goal.

The students can see the progress and how it connects to that one big goal.

Those are three big steps.

To recap,

    • First, build the foundation for your course that is creating your one big learning goal that your students are going to be able to walk away with and that's the one thing that they'll be able to know or do by the end of your course.
    • Second, you're going to frame your course. You're going to start creating the skeleton, the blueprint of your course and this is the steps, the big steps, not the detailed steps, that it takes your students to get to that one big learning goal.
    • Third, you get to start "decorating" your course. You get to do the fun stuff, you get to fill in those details. This is where you're going to write the little steps that lead to that big step and you're going to do that for each one of your big steps.

Then your course will be outlined and it will be outlined in a way that is clear and concise and your students will know where they're going and they will get the results that you are promising them. And that's how you make your own online course!


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