How To Create An Online Course Outline | Online Course Creation

If you’re here that means you’ve made the decision to scale your online coaching business with an online course! Yay, congratulations! 


This blog is going to show you how to develop your online course content by starting with a solid online course outline.


This is going to support you in starting the course planning process by getting your ideas out of your head and into an online course structure which will make your life so much easier when you go to the next phase of building out your full online course curriculum.


So, if this is where you’re at in your coaching business, then let’s get started!

I’m KellyAnne Zielinski and I help online coaches build profitable coaching businesses by creating, monetizing and scaling their genius in signature programs, online courses and other digital products.


And it makes sense to me why my clients want to do this. 


Besides being able to support WAY more people than they ever could 1:1, creating an online course can also support my clients in making a ton of money AND getting their time back


It’s like win win win win all around! 


Now, part of my genius is to simplify complex topics to make it easier for you and my clients to implement. And that’s why today we’re going to unveil how to create an online course outline which is step 1 in creating online courses!


So, if you’re ready to embark on the beginning stages of creating a course then grab your favorite cup of whatever soothes your soul, a journal and an open heart… and let’s go through these four steps together.


Online Course Outline Step #1- End Result/Main Topic


The first step in online course creation is to start with the end in mind and get clear what exactly they’re going to walk away with.  

This is going to be the end result, outcome, and overall main topic of the course as a whole. 


If you can narrow it down to ONE problem that will be solved and ONE solution that they’ll get out of the course then that will help you to work backwards, cut out any fluff, and be intentional with your content moving forward. 


Knowing the end result will also help you to create a clear and compelling title which will organically draw your ideal students in like bees to honey.


To give you an example I want to share the before and after of two online courses I have and how they’ve evolved throughout these past 8 years. The first course started out with a more general end result and title and was called FOUNDATIONS Business Intensive Program. Not a horrible end result but super general & vague.

After some simplification and a rebrand a few years ago, that course became Signature Program That Sells. You can see that the end result is clear & intentional even by just reading the title.


The second course was called NEXT LEVEL Business Intensive Program which was all about scaling your coaching business with online courses. After some simplification and a rebrand of that course, it’s now Online Course Simplified. 


Now, which versions of those courses do you think sold better? 


I’m sure you chose the ones that had a clear end result that reflected in the title.


So, now let’s think about YOUR online course and what you anticipate your students to walk away with. If you were to narrow it down to a word, phrase or sentence, what’s the one problem your online coaching course will solve and the one solution it will provide?

Online Course Outline Step #2- Modules & Lessons


After you have your end result and main topic, you’re going to work backwards and chunk it down. 


To do this, start by brainstorming 6-8 main topics your future students must know in order to accomplish the end result. After your list is complete, put those topics in order of importance, meaning what they need to do first, second, third and so on. 


These tips will be your course Modules.  So, now that you have your modules, you’re going to map out in a bulleted list the lessons that need to be included in each module. 


So let’s say your module #1 is on the topic of Mindset. Lessons you may include in this are: 

  1. Past programming  
  2. Limiting Beliefs & how to shift them
  3. Daily practices to maintain an empowering mindset


You’ll then do this for all of your modules so that you end up with the entire framework for your online coaching course!


Online Course Outline Step #3- Application & Implementation


This part is important because your students won’t have you there to support them in taking action on what they’re learning.  


This is why we create workbooks, templates, checklists, calendars, and other support tools that will make implementation SO SIMPLE that they won’t have any questions on what to do or how to do it.


So, here’s how you start.. take a look at your modules and lessons, and think about specific pieces of your content that need to be practiced and/or clarified for your students personal situation.  Then, you’re going to break down the “practice section” into:


>> Reflective questions

>> Inspiring journal prompts

>> Fill in the blank templates

>> Done-For-You Calendars

>> Scripts templates

>> Charts or tables

>> Step by step checklists


...or anything else that supports your students in completing a task and feeling some level of progress throughout your modules and lessons.


This is the DOINGNESS piece of your course that will help your students step into a new BEINGNESS, which will help them achieve the result they’re looking for!


Online Course Outline Step #4- Bonuses


Bonuses are a great way to take your students beyond what they anticipated learning.  

It’s important to know that bonuses are ADDED VALUE to the course, meaning that the course can be successfully completed without them.


The purpose of a bonus is to guide your students to a potential next step or make their lives easier in regards to the details you already know they’re going to need. 

For example, in my course Online Course Simplified I give a bonus Canva Tutorial for helping my student create an online course product image mockup.  Do they absolutely NEED this?

No… but do most people have them and use them for social media graphics and sales pages? Yes!


There’s also a bonus masterclass on how to use an online course in a group coaching program for my students who want to go beyond having an exclusive online course business. You see, these are classes and tutorials that will get my students thinking in an expanded way, and will help them simplify whichever next steps they choose!


Bonuses are typically pieces of content like:

  • Masterclasses
  • Tutorials
  • Templates
  • Guides
  • Social Media Graphics
  • Calendars
  • Pre-Organized Asana/Trello Boards

..Or anything else that will make your students' lives easier as they embark on their next steps!


Okay, so now you know the 4 simple steps on how to create an online course outline, you may be thinking that there’s more to this than you thought!


That’s why I wanted to share a resource I created called Online Course Simplified.  This is going to walk you through not only mapping out and building the curriculum for your Online Course from scratch, but also the process you need to SELL it ...whether that’s by having an evergreen course, or open/close cart dates, or even selling it as part of a group coaching program! 



So, go ahead and click the picture above to learn more about that now.


📣 And, if this blog was just what you needed in your coaching business, please let me know by sharing it with your coach friends.


Until next time, Coach… keep building your empire!


XO, KellyAnne




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