owwlish Logo
4 Quick Tips on Making an Effective Online Course Outline

4 Quick Tips on Making an Effective Online Course Outline

Read Time: 10 mins

You’re here because you know you need to establish a “Line of Sight” for your online course, something that will provide you a straightforward vantage of how to execute your online course from beginning to end. In this case, your “Line of Sight” will help you create an effective online course outline. This will ensure that the learning process will flow smoothly and that your students aren’t just taking bits and pieces out of nowhere.

Effective Online Course Outline

How to Create an Effective Online Course Outline

Online course outlines can vary greatly depending on the subject matter and your online course length. However, there are four fundamental principles you can apply when constructing an online course outline.

Begin with a course objective. 

You most likely already know what you want to accomplish in your mind. In fact, if you’ve decided on an online course topic, you probably already have a clear online course objective to go along with it. However, in case you’re still looking for a bit of help, best to have what I call CEO objectives: concrete, explicit, and overarching.

  • Concrete. Your objective will be the north star of your entire course, so you want it to be clear and tangible rather than nebulous and abstract. Rather than aiming to teach people how to “edit photos,” “build a website,” or “market on social media,” translate those goals into more concrete objectives, like teaching “basic editing tools on Adobe Photoshop,” “coding in HTML5 for web design”, or “ways to generate engagement on microblogging sites.” 
  • Explicit. You should be able to quickly inform your learners of the objectives of your course. According to Dr. Ally, a professor for the Centre for Distance Education (CDE), “[l]earners should be told the explicit outcomes of the learning so they can set expectations and judge for themselves whether or not they have achieved the outcome of the online lesson.” It’s highly recommended that every course starts with an introduction that will do just that.
  • Overarching. You and your students must be willing to stick to these objectives during the duration of the course. Each lesson must contribute towards accomplishing this set goal. Moreover, based on the learners’ skill level, the objective shouldn’t be so easy that it’s completed in a single class or too hard that the course isn’t enough to cover it. 
Outline for an online course - hands building blocks

Break down the course into modules or core steps. 

Now that you have a goal, it’s time to think about the method. By organizing your expertise into learning blocks or modules, you can create small units of knowledge that are more easily digestible for your students. Again, think of the course as the main topic and the modules as subtopics and use that as the foundation of your online course outline.

Design for success by sequencing from simple to complex. 

This instills confidence and satisfaction in your learners by giving them easy accomplishments early on and providing them with gradually more challenging topics as their skill level increases. Alternatively, if your course is less skill-based and more informational, you can also sequence your lessons and modules from well-known to esoteric to achieve the same effect.

Provide a way for learners to self-assess in your online course outline. 

Assessment doesn’t necessarily mean testing. Instructional lessons where the learner can follow along and create their own output are also ways for your remote student to track their own progression. Additionally, you can recommend avenues where the student can apply and test their skills. Take advantage of the online platform, and don’t be afraid to link to supplementary sources. Make a point to include a few classes in your online course outline that give your learners a brief review and an opportunity for assessment. Have these scattered throughout the course, either after a module or after individual classes and especially at the end of the course?

Self access for online learner - A guy in yellow looking up thinking

It’s essential to encourage the learner to be engaged with the lessons and not just let them be passive receptacles for information. According to the CDE, “media research confirms that what the learner does with media is more important than what the teacher does.” Of course, you can be the best in your field with the most comprehensive knowledge, but teaching and imparting that expertise is another ball game entirely.

However, by teaching how to make an Effective Online Course Outline that has clear goals, and tangible steps anyone can take, and encourages people to apply their newly acquired skills in their own day-to-day lives, you are already on the right track in making sure that your students will truly benefit from your expertise.

It’s Time to Start Building Your Online Course

As you embark on the journey of crafting a compelling and effective online course outline, it’s clear that you’re dedicated to providing your students with a structured and engaging learning experience. In this pursuit, Owwlish stands as your ally, offering a brilliantly easy online course platform that empowers you to seamlessly translate your vision into a reality.

With Owwlish, the process of designing a well-structured online course outline becomes not just achievable but also enjoyable. By harnessing Owwlish’s intuitive features and user-friendly interface, you can create an online course journey that aligns with your objectives while ensuring that your students receive a comprehensive and engaging education.

Empower your passion for teaching and expertise with Owwlish, a platform that understands the intricate balance between effective learning design and simplicity. As you strive to make a lasting impact on your students’ lives, Owwlish is here to help you pave the way for their educational success. Elevate your online course outline with Owwlish and embark on a transformative educational journey today.

Related Articles:



After 10 years of dental school and dental practice, Alyssa took the next logical step and quit everything to follow her love of business and entrepreneurship. Having created custom technology for her winning online course for dentists, she co-founded Owwlish as a way to help other course creators win at courses.

Stay in the loop

Get free expert insights and tips to grow your knowledge business sent right to your inbox

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Ready Build Your Online Course?

Try Owwlish

Create a course and host it directly from your website in minutes!