These days it seems like every service business owner offers an online course for sale, dreams about creating an online course or just developed a program to teach everybody else how to develop and profit from online courses. Often course creation represents an excellent way to supplement your income, gain credibility, and add value to your services.
When developing your online course, one question that comes to mind is, “What are your goals for this course?”
One approach is to ask, “What do you want your students to know or do after the course is over?”
A better way to start is to take a first pass “view from 30,000 feet” where the question appears as, “How will your students be transformed as a result of taking this course?”
The truth is: Transformation is the centerpiece of online courses.
Students must come away from your course feeling they have made significant changes. These changes can be as small as a new mindset: seeing your most-hated task as a challenge rather than a chore. They can be as mundane as being able to implement a program, such as podcasts or webinars, that previously seemed mysterious, complicated and impossible to master.
When you take this view, developing your course’s arc — the course outline and sequence — happens naturally and authentically.
To develop your own course, create a story.
Both storytelling and course modules take their audiences through a transformation. If you think of the student as hero of the course story, both story and course culminate in a change to the hero’s life. She may be in a different place, geographically or psychologically. He may have changed from a frog to a prince, literally (in a fairly tale) or metaphorically (in a dress-for-success course).
Conceptualizing your course as a hero’s journey story framework helps you figure out how to structure your course and keep your students committed. When you write up your student’s experience as a transformation, you get a sense of what the course needs to deliver.
Think of your course outline as a story trajectory.
Where are your students at the beginning, before they need your course (or realizes they need your course)?
What is the crisis that motivates the student to consider your course and then sign up?
How does the crisis intensify?
How does your course serve the role of guide, wizard or fairy godmother?
What new obstacles might arise on the journey?
What does the destination look like?
What’s your student’s equivalent of living happily ever after?
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