How to refine your course content

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≈ 3 days to complete

Congratulations! You almost finished writing your course section. In this chapter, you will get it ready for recording by refining its contents and preparing your slides.

This is chapter 5 of the Online course creation guide

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1. Tips to refine your course content

There are two main methods you can use to refine your course contents before creating your slides:

  1. Looking at what you wrote with a fresh eye
  2. Asking your beta students for feedback

Let’s look at how to apply each method.

Refine your online course by taking a step back

Before refining your course, try taking at least a few days' break. This should do wonders for your ability to evaluate your own work…

A useful trick is to re-read what you wrote by putting yourself in your student’s place. Visualize their progression while trying to identify the following pitfalls in your course:

  • The "Theory, Theory, Theory, Practice" syndrome
    Is your course material too focused on passive teaching methods? To avoid this pitfall you can ask yourself: “If a piece of information is not needed now, can I provide it later?”.
  • What seems boring or uninteresting?
    Are some parts too long or tedious to follow?
  • What could be enhanced?
    What concepts would benefit from being illustrated with examples, visuals, or analogies?
  • Can you reorganize your course material to get actions and results sooner?
    This will help your students practice and progress faster.
  • Is this really relevant to my target students?
    Is this useful to them considering their level of experience, and what their goals are?

You might end up deleting or completely changing things that you spend hours writing. It can be a bit frustrating, but it is part of the process, and will make your course better.

Take a break of at least a day to be able to look at your course section with a pair of fresh eyes.
Go through your first section with fresh eyes and refine it by using the tips above.

While refining your course, keep in mind that your goal is not to write something perfect, but to help your students achieve their goals. In other words, “done is better than perfect”.

Getting feedback from your beta students

With a small group of a few highly engaged beta students, you can start testing your course section.

You need to know if what you wrote down is:

  • Useful
    So you write more things like that in the future.
  • Boring
    So you think of ways to make it more engaging through examples, exercises, or by simplifying the content.
  • Confusing
    So you think of ways to make it easier to understand through analogies, or by avoiding writing too much jargon.
  • Actionable
    To see if you focus enough on active learning methods.

Also, you can ask them if they are left with any questions after going through the section.

In order to collect the feedback, you could present your section on a call with one or multiple beta students. Ask them for candid feedback about the points above, so you can know what is useful, boring, confusing, or not actionable.

Get on a few calls with beta students whose problems can be solved by your current section, and use what you wrote so far to help them, and get feedback on your course so far.

(To do this fast, you can get your previous beta students and a few new ones on a group call on a regular basis (weekly, or bi-weekly), as you write the contents of a new section)
Make changes to your course material based on the feedback you got.

2. Getting your section ready for recording

It’s now time for the final writing step of your section. For each video, you have to create 10 to 20 slides as it is the sweet spot for keeping your students engaged.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when creating your slides:

  • Keep it simple
    By not putting too much fancy formatting on your slides. It can distract your students from the main points you are trying to make.
  • Keep it short
    If a video contains more than 20 slides, is it possible to split it into several big ideas? If yes, then you can separate it into several lessons.
  • Go easy on the text
    We recommend using bullet points to make it easier to follow. If a slide has more than 6 bullet points, is it possible to split it in two?
  • Use visuals and demonstrations
    Illustrating your course through visuals, or step by step demonstrations makes it easier for you to communicate ideas and concepts to your students. You can also show a demonstration in between slides to illustrate your points or show how to do something.

We created a Google Slides template to make your slide creation process easier, but you can also use a service like Slidesgo to find slides adapted to your industry or niche.

Create the final slides for your section  (you can use our Google Slide template).
Create additional visuals if needed.

3. Writing the introduction of your course

Once you have finished writing, refining, and creating the slides of your first section, you will have a clear idea of your course contents. It’s time to create an introduction video.

The goal of your introduction video is to welcome your students, reinforce their buying decision and make sure they know what to expect.

1. Welcome them

  • Very simple: "Welcome to [your course name], and thank you for placing your trust in me!”

2. Reinforce their buying decision

  • Remind them of the purpose of the course and the expected results
  • Explain why these results are important and how they can change their life
  • Quickly show social proof (if relevant)

3. Get your students engaged

  • Remind them that achieving these results requires effort
  • Specify the time and energy commitment (e.g. "Practice for 20 minutes a day")
  • Ask your students to make a concrete commitment: What do they want to accomplish by the end of the program? (Ask them to write it down; if you are using SchoolMaker, they can do this in the steps below the video)

    To do so, you can encourage them to choose the time in their day / week / schedule to take your course and put it into practice

4. Preview the program

  • Duration of the training and number of modules
  • Share the plan of your course
  • Share additional resources that will help your students during their learning journey
  • Specify what material and tools they need for this course
  • Explain how questions and answers will be handled in the course
  • Reminder of the notion of "pre-sale" / "beta version" and the importance of their feedback if you are preselling your course

5. Encourage them to introduce themselves in the community

  • It reinforces the commitment of your students

It can be done via a step in SchoolMaker:

Write your intro video in your note-taking tool of choice.
Create slides for your introduction video (you can use our Google Slide template).
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In the next chapter, you will create your filming environment, record and edit your intro, as well as your first course section.
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Created by

Alexandru Golovatenco

Alex has enrolled in dozens of courses on marketing, development and design. He ended up with varied skills — and also a collection of best practices for teaching online.
He wrote the guide you’re reading.
Produced by

Stan Leloup

Stan has been creating courses for a decade. He built a 7-figure online course business called Marketing Mania.
He is also the founder of the website you’re on: SchoolMaker.