"But I don't know where to start with online course planning!"

The most common problem that faces a wannabee online course creator is "but I don't know where to start".
I hear this over and over. And I've been doing a LOT of thinking about this problem this last month (January 2022).

Many online course gurus want everyone to think that creating an online course is easy! 

But as much as I love to be positive and offer encouragement, I'm also a very honest Yorkshire gal - and I have to tell you that, honestly, creating, launching & marketing an online course is one of the most complex things that you will do as an online business owner.

There are many moving parts, and usually a lot of skills to learn or improve upon as part of the journey to being a successful online course creator. Getting an online course out into the world, with money popping to your bank account is a massive achievement.

My previous blog post was all about your online course creation learning curve and how you can cut through it.
One of the ways to cut your learning curve is to follow a plan that works, so today I want to dive deeper into what that really means.

Let me step back a little and think about planning.

My corporate career started in 1988 at the (newly opened) Nissan car factory in Sunderland,UK. I held a graduate entry level post in the Information Systems Department and started learning mainframe computer programming. After a couple of years, I started to be allocated small projects to plan and work upon, and over the years managed and worked on larger, more complex projects. Complex IT projects are notoriously difficult to plan, with many unknowns at the start, but we still had to 'put a stake in the ground somewhere' and start planning how everything would move along. 

We used a project planning methodology to guide us. 

The key project phases were: 

  • the analysis phase (understanding the problem), 
  • then designing a solution, 
  • then building the solution, 
  • testing it 
  • and then implementing it. 

Estimating how long those elements would take is a mixture of art and science with luck and magic thrown in for good measure.

We had to learn 2 things.
1. How to plan and manage the project.
2. How to actually do the work within the project.

This became second nature for me over the 10 years I worked in systems development before moving over full-time to training roles.

OK, Back to creating an online course...and the 'don't know where to start' problem.

It's more than that. There is also 'don't know what to do, and don't know how to do it. As well as 'don't have a clue how long it's going to take. Oh, and let's add in for good measure, 'don't have much (or any) time.'

Does this sound familiar? I hear all of these frequently, hence my determination to help you move past all that, and cut through that frustrating and time wasting course creation learning curve I wrote about last week.

The 'secret to success' for course creation is to allocate enough of your time to actually get on and create your course. So obvious, yet so difficult to do for many small business owners.

Let's say you are keen, determined to get this done. You block out some time each week to work on creating your course - yay for you.
But then what?

You don't know where to start & you don't know what to do.

Create a plan we all say....Erm but how do you create a plan when you don't know what needs to go in that plan 'cos you don't know what to do, and also don't know how long it might all take.

Just like we relied upon a project planning methodology, then I'm going to give you one too!

Let's call it your Online Course Creation Plan.

This is the first aspect of planning needed.
This is the plan that will control what you work on next, with an idea of how long it might take you. Organised around the time you want to make available in your life for getting this done. Without this essential plan, you will drift and wander and lose track.

Remember here, you are learning not just how to create an online course, you also have to learn how to manage that process so you get it done, without tons of chaos and frustrating time and money wasting and mistakes.

You need time to learn what to do.
You need time to think & research & develop your ideas.
You need time to practice your new skills such as filming & video editing (unless you have a large budget to pay for videography & production.)
And then you need time to actually create, build, launch & market your course. Plus you need to continually grow your audience 'cos ultimate course sales success is very much a 'numbers game'.

That's why you need an Online Course Creation Plan. 

And I see very little reference to this in all the advice about planning your course. Hmmmm very odd.

What I do see a LOT of info around, is the second aspect of course planning. 

Actually, it's really better referred to as Course Design, but typically called course planning in so many posts and courses!

In other words, how are you going to break down the thing that you want to teach into an appropriate and effective course structure?. 

  • What is the desired transformation for the course student? 
  • What are the learning outcomes? 
  • What are the milestones along the way?
This course design process is one of the stages in your overall Course Creation Plan. 
Hence the title of this blog post! "Online course planning: 2 aspects. Both crucial for success."

A strong Course Creation Plan is what so many newbie course creators are lacking.

I see this as an opportunity for me to help in a unique way, which truly reflects my many years experience as an IT developer, trainer & online course creator.

I've been mulling over these problems, challenges & ideas, and whilst I was out on my mountain bike last weekend I had a flash of inspiration, and PUMP UP YOUR PLAN was born.

I will write more about Pump Up Your Plan in my next post. 

In a nutshell, it's a 3 hour practical workshop where we:

1. take a realistic look at your current schedule, and what you will have to remove so you can make time for your course creation project.
2. I take you through my course creation project plan, and give you some realistic time estimates for how long each step could take you.
3. We work through it step-by-step, with you tweaking for your knowledge & skills, and slotting into your available time.
4. I show you how you can keep yourself organised with a Trello board. And give you the Trello board of course for you to tweak.

I'm going to run this workshop once per month, on the first Tuesday of the month, starting Tuesday March 1st 2022.

More details coming soon 🙂

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this one, and also if you are interested in taking part in Pump Up Your Plan.

Please Contact Me - sadly I've given up on Blog Comments and switched them off. Dealing with the endless spam is an exhausting distraction.