How to Create an Online Course Curriculum?

Teachers and creators alike are always looking for ways to improve their skills. Teaching beginners or even intermediate learners can be challenging because some topics might seem obvious now. Still, they weren’t at the beginning of one’s education!

To ensure this doesn’t happen – where there is doubt becomes faith, try thinking back on how much knowledge was lacking then: maybe something will pop up while researching today which could inspire tomorrow’s lesson plan?

When it comes to online courses, the curriculum is key. The structure and delivery of the content can make or break a course. Ideally, an online course curriculum should be:

  • comprehensive
  • concise
  • engaging

In this article, we’ll look at some tips on creating an online course curriculum that will help you deliver an excellent course.

Why do you need to create a curriculum for your online course?

You might be wondering why you need a course curriculum in the first place. First, every class needs a structure, so you and your students know what the lesson will be about.

The learning objectives you’ll include in your curriculum will guide you through the entire process of launching an online course.

A course curriculum is also very helpful at the beginning stage of course content creation. When you’re writing the script for your online class, you’ll know exactly what to include in each lesson. Then, the course content basically creates itself!

Having a course schedule will also help you plan out the materials and resources you need to provide for your students. Additional online resources will make your course more engaging.

The curriculum is also important for your students to know their learning goals. In addition, they will be aware of the knowledge and skills your course provides them with.

online course curriculum

Last but not least, if your course host provides certification, you need to know how to evaluate students and what they’ve learned from your course.

Some platforms offer to track student outcomes and even provide some kind of gamification aspect to your course. Make sure that specific levels and guidelines are in place to make it possible.

The curriculum building process can seem like a daunting task. But if you take the time to consider your audience, your goals, and your course structure, you’ll be well on your way to creating a successful online course.

How to create a curriculum for a course step by step

Identify your target audience

You need to know the audience to make the right course. If a course schedule does not include your prospective students, then the process will be too difficult for them and it will be harder for you to sell your online course. Identifying your audience is meant to give you a better understanding of your audience. You should have a general understanding of your potential students’ pain points, for starters.

Who is your online course for? This is an important question to answer as it will determine your curriculum’s style, tone, and approach. If you’re unsure who your target audience is, consider creating a buyer persona. This is a semi-fictional character based on your ideal student.

What are your audience’s pain points?

This will help you create an online curriculum that helps your audience solve their problems.

Often people face challenges in their lives. You need to solve your audience’s problems via an online course when you have identified those. That’s an important goal that must be identified in your first meeting.

If the curriculum does not meet these pain points, the student learning process will not be successful.

Online classes should improve the life of the learner in some way. However, it is not enough to simply teach them something. The online course educational program must also be designed to help learners implement what they have learned in their lives.

Your curriculum can help student learning outcomes faster by creating educational downloads, quizzes, assignments, and other educational resources.

We’ll show you how to sort through outliers. You can sort through outliers by breaking them into groups according to the difficulty and difficulty you’re addressing for each audience.

Determine the outcome of the online course

Elearning courses aim at achieving the goal faster. Provides the knowledge and resources needed to teach students and make them better in their field of expertise.

There are different ways to measure outcomes, but one way is to look at it from the perspective of job performance. So, how will this online course help your students do their jobs better?

Will it make them more efficient? Help them make better decisions? Grow in their careers? Once you’ve answered these questions, you’ll have a better idea of what to include in your online course schedule.

online course curriculum

Design the structure of the online course curriculum

Once you have the foundation in place, it’s time to start thinking about your online course schedule structure.

There are a few things you’ll need to consider when designing the structure of your online course:

  1. Type of the course
  2. Course length
  3. Number of classes
  4. Level of difficulty

When it comes to courses, there are generally two types:

  • Self-paced courses
  • Live online classes

Self-paced courses are those that students can complete at their own pace. These are often asynchronous, meaning that students and instructors do not need to be online simultaneously. Live courses are those that take place in real-time. These are usually synchronous, meaning that students and instructors need to be online at the same time.

The type of course you choose will likely depend on your audience and your available resources. That said, both types of courses can be effective in helping learners achieve their goals.

Once you’ve chosen the type of your course you want to create, you’ll need to decide on the length. How long do you want each course to be? This will likely depend on the complexity of the topic and the learning objectives you’ve set.

Once you’ve determined the length of your courses, you’ll need to decide how many courses you want to include in your online course curriculum.

This, again, will likely depend on the complexity of the topic and the learning goals you’ve set. For example, suppose you’re teaching a complex topic that requires a lot of information to be covered. In that case, you may want to consider creating multiple courses.

If you’re teaching a simpler topic, one course may be enough. Once you’ve decided on the number of courses, you’ll need to determine the difficulty level.

Are you creating a course for beginner learners? Intermediate learners? Advanced learners? The difficulty level will likely depend on your audience and the learning goals you’ve set.

online course curriculum

Create a list of milestones

What do students need to know to meet their learning goals? Put yourself in your students’ shoes. Think about every skill you needed to learn or action you took to get to where you are today. Then, write everything down in a list.

As an example, the full-time blogger course list might look like this:

  • Joined more blogging networks
  • Created a membership site for blog readers
  • Added new sidebar ads to your site
  • Inserted affiliate links into old posts
  • Reached out to five new PR companies each week
  • Emailing potential blog sponsors
  • Revised pricing or sponsorship rates
  • Created a series of ebooks to sell 
  • Took on blog coaching clients

Once you’ve written every step it took to get to where you are now, group each into lessons or modules.

Pulling from the example list above, you might call your lesson ‘working with brands.’ Inside it, you could group any steps under working with brands–joining blogging networks, reaching out to PR companies, and emailing potential blog sponsors. This way, each lesson is broken into shorter, easy-to-digest sections.

Create lesson list 

You could determine that some phases require to be taught as individual lessons. On the other side, you may want to combine several into five or six sessions.

The objective is to develop five to ten simple lessons. After that, you may use various approaches to structure your curriculum. It’s a natural progression from easy to more difficult levels.

If you begin with simple lessons, students will be more likely to succeed. They’ll be thrilled to keep going. Then, as they improve their abilities, you may progress to the more time-consuming and difficult lessons.

Keep order of the lessons

Remember that students might not consume your course all at once or from start to finish. They may jump around a lot. So you want to make it easy for them to find each of your lectures.

With it, you can enforce a lecture order so that students must watch certain sections to move forward. You can also make it so they must watch 90% of a video before moving to the next lesson. 

online course curriculum

Estimate the time to complete each lesson

Your students will be putting their time and money into your course, so they’ll want to know how long it will take them to finish. Naturally, they’ll want to know how long it will take them to get a result.

You’ll need to calculate the time it’ll take you to complete your course by determining how long each of your sessions will be.

How long should an online course be?

The duration of your lessons will highly depend on the topic; however, there are some guidelines you can follow.

When creating a curriculum, keep each lesson video below ten minutes. In most cases, it’s preferable to have a few brief films than to cram all of the knowledge into one 30-minute film.

Of course, there are exceptions. For example, you may deviate from the guidelines if you believe it will result in more educational experiences.

For example, you may create a longer video by teaching certain skills like an art class and doing a “paint with me” video in the Bob Ross style.

Plan course content

There’s much more to creating a course curriculum than simply listing lessons in bullet form. You must develop course material, film videos, upload documents, add quizzes, etc.

It may appear to be a lot, but you don’t need expensive, high-tech recording equipment to get started.

For example, you might create an online course by recording a Loom on your phone or speaking over a Google slides deck.

Prepare materials and resources

The most crucial aspect is that each piece of lesson material is connected to your curriculum and student outcomes.

When creating materials and resources for your course, consider:

  • How they help students reach their learning goals
  • What students gain from this lesson
  • How you want to track students’ progress 
  • Materials you want to use, i.e., quizzes or graded assignments.

You’ll be more focused on the abilities you need to teach if you consider these factors. You’ll be better able to tell when learners are making progress.

It may appear that creating a course will take a lot of effort, but once you’ve outlined your curriculum, getting started is simple.

Ask people online

If you’re just getting started developing a following, you won’t have access to a huge group of potential students. However, several online communities and tools can assist you in locating and polling your audience in this situation.

Here are some strategies for connecting with and gathering audience information:

  • Joining Facebook groups that are in your niche. 
  • Researching and joining relevant subreddits.
  • Joining professional Slack communities. 

You’ll notice that several members of these groups ask similar questions after you’ve joined them. You can also post and inquire about subjects they’d want to learn more about or problems they’re facing.

Networking and joining various groups can also help you promote your online course.

online course curriculum

How to create a curriculum for a course – final thoughts

If you want to successfully teach students online, you need a comprehensive plan – a curriculum.

What needs to be included in your course curriculum:

  • Introduction to the course
  • Course objectives and goals
  • Table of contents
  • Lesson plans
  • Resources and materials
  • Evaluation methods 

Keep these tips in mind when creating your curriculum

  • Make sure each lesson ties back to your course goals
  • Estimate the time it will take to complete each lesson
  • Plan out your course content
  • Prepare materials and resources
  • Ask people online what they want to learn. 

By including all of these elements, you can be sure that your students will have a great learning experience and be able to achieve their


Creating an online course curriculum can seem daunting. Still, if you break it down into smaller steps, it becomes much easier.

By focusing on the goals of your course and planning out each lesson, you can create a curriculum that is both effective and engaging for students.

Creating a well-rounded curriculum doesn’t have to be difficult. By following these tips, you can ensure that your students will have a positive learning experience.

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