Creating an Online Course? Avoid These 3 Mistakes!


Creating an Online Course? Avoid These 3 Mistakes!

So you’ve decided that you want to create a course but nobody warned you that it was going to get ugly.  You sit at your desk, ready to be productive and actually make some serious progress. You start the day with great intentions. Next thing you know it’s 4:15pm, you haven’t stopped for lunch and quite frankly, you don’t have much to show for it.

Course creation can feel like hours down a rabbit hole. Hours turn into days that turn into weeks and months. And in some cases years. The great news is, it doesn’t have to be that way. You can cut through the chaos and overwhelm, and create your courses efficiently and effectively, by avoiding these top 3 mistakes.

1. Starting with creating the materials

When new clients come to me, they want to dive into creating materials; their slide decks, videos, workbooks, etc. Those are the components you need for a course, right?  They are, but that’s not where we start. We start by laying strong foundations.

Creating a course or program is serious product development. If you have weak foundations you set yourself up to fail. For example, what’s your WHY behind the creating this course or program? If you don’t get this right, you might have a program that you don’t love creating or delivering. You might never finish creating it or you stop delivering it after a short while.

Does your ideal client want this product? If you don’t check this up front, you might be sinking time and money into something nobody buys. Is your brand in alignment with your WHY and with your ideal client? Trust me, rebranding all your course materials after you’ve created them is a giant pain in the butt.

Have you systemised your intellectual property? Have you taken the time to extract the spaghetti mess out of their head and distill it into something succinct and memorable? Have you got diagrams and infographics that demonstrate quickly and effectively to your clients what you know? Without this, your clients may feel lost at sea in a torrent of information, or that you are wasting their time by not focusing on the critical path to results.

In short, skipping the foundations is not a short-cut, it’s a recipe for disaster.

2. Starting with the platform

Choosing a platform should be one of the last things you do. There are a dizzying number of platform options from WordPress plugins to Software as Service solutions. And the only way to know which one is right for your course is after you’ve built it.

It’s easy to spend hours, possibly weeks, or months comparing all the platforms out there. Hell, you could even build a spreadsheet and compare prices, features, and more.

If you do happen to choose your platform first, you’ll be trying to fit your course or program into the confines of the platform. All platforms have their constraints. You won’t be thinking about what’s best for your program or course, but how to make it fit into that predefined box.

It’s your passion, your business. Decide what the perfect structure for your course is first, create your materials and then figure out which platform suits your needs best.

3. Doing it without a system

You’re a smart cookie and you know your material inside and out. So how hard can it be to put your knowledge into 6-10 modules and launch it? Actually, it’s pretty hard.

Figuring this out all on your own by trial and error takes forever. I know from experience. I’ve spoken to incredibly passionate, bright and motivated people who have struggled to create a course or program within a reasonable timeframe without a system.

You’re a whizz inside your zone of genius. But if creating courses is not your forte, why would you try to do it without seeking some kind of guidance? Without a system to follow, the process of course creation drags out. What do you do first? What do you do next? Is there a more efficient way of doing x?

Find a proven systemised approach to course creation and follow it.

There you have it. Those are the top 3 mistakes I see people make when it comes to creating a course or program. What other course creation blunders do you see? Have you fallen into any of these? Let me know in the comments below.

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  • Tracy

    Really great article Renee,
    I’m in the middle of sorting my online course out and this was a great reminder to bring it all back and make sure I’m ticking all the right boxes for my clients.

    Thanks for reminding me of that 🙂

    • Renee Hasseldine

      Thanks Tracy. I’m glad you enjoyed it. If you love ticking boxes, make sure to check out my full course creation checklist in the free resources section on Smallville!

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