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The Hassle-Free Guide to Creating Your Course Materials

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The Hassle-Free Guide to Creating Your Course Materials

There’s a myth that creating a course is easy. You just need to put your bum on your seat, bash out your outline, write scripts, a few worksheets, some slides, and slap it all together. DONE!

But if you’ve sat down and tried to do that, you know it’s not that straightforward. Sure, some people can do it, but if you’re reading this, then you’ve struggled. You may have tried, only to end up putting the project on the back burner for a few months, a year, maybe more! Especially if you’re creating your signature course or program that outlays all your intellectual property.

Most people who come to me just want to jump straight into building out the modules, creating worksheets and slides, etc. But this process is actually Stage 6 in my 7 Stage process to building your course. Starting here is often the reason many people take years, instead of a few months, to create their course.

To avoid this, you need to lay strong foundations. Go back and read my other pieces on Smallville, if you haven’t already:

Once you’ve done stages 1-5, then, you’re ready to tackle building your course! Here’s what we’ll be tackling:

Structure

Having a clear structure in place for creating your content makes it a hundred times easier. And there are a few bits of structure I recommend you put in place to make your course creation as effortless as possible.

A great way to keep track of all the resources you create is by creating a Resource Library Spreadsheet. You might end up with a couple of hundred resources (worksheets, slideshows, etc.) and a spreadsheet can help you keep track of it all!

I also like to use codes for my resources as I find that is a quick way to refer to them for both myself and for my team. If I say to my assistant, “Can you update S4-05 Worksheet with this statistic”, my assistant can locate that resource quickly and easily with no confusion.

Below is an example of a spreadsheet in progress, and it’s the structure I recommend my clients use when building their own courses. If you collaborate with a team, set this up as a Google Sheet for easy collaboration.

There’s no right or wrong way to do this, but having a folder structure that’s logical and makes sense to both you and your team will save you hours of headaches. Especially if you’re going to host your resources on something like Dropbox or Google Drive. Having them arranged in a way that makes sense, will save your sanity. Spend some time sketching out what makes sense to you and your team.

Templates 

Get templates designed for your resources that you can easily update. You do not want to be sending a couple of hundred different resources off to a graphic designer. It’s a huge cost and a huge waste of time. Get someone to design the Microsoft templates (Word, Powerpoint, etc.) for the resources you’re going to create. That way, you don’t have to go back and forward with a designer.

Create

Finally! Now we’re ready to start creating. Start working through your resource library and create the worksheets. Keep each topic as a separate word file and export it to PDF.

When you’re working on your slide decks, keep each topic as a separate slideshow file, just as you created separate worksheets for each topic. You can then just pull together the topics you need for each event. This means that if you want to update anything, you update the main topic file, so that is always the most up-to-date.

If you are going to be creating an online course, then the next step is to record and edit the audio and/or video.

As you develop your topics, it’ll be appropriate to create diagrams and infographics to visually represent to your clients how things fit together and to make it easier for them to remember.

Combine

So once you’ve created your worksheets and slides for each topic, you now have a full resource library from which to pull together each of your products.

For example, I can create a workbook for Stage 1 by pulling together all the PDFs in that section. Alternatively, I might only choose to use one or two of those worksheets for a lower-end version of my content.

I combine my PDFs in Adobe Acrobat. If I have to edit anything, I don’t edit the final workbook. I go back to the original worksheet in word format, edit it and export it to PDF again. I then reinsert the updated PDF into the workbook. That way, I can be confident that when I’m pulling together workbooks in the future, the single topic worksheet is always the most up-to-date.

The same theory applies for your slideshows. Pull together the topics you need for your webinars, group calls, or live events. And if you need to update any slides, update the original topic slides and reinsert them into the combined file. Make it easy on yourself by becoming systematic!

So there you have it! How to create your course materials logically and hassle-free.

Have you used this system? What worked for you? What didn’t? I’d love to know.

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