The Art of Structuring Your Online Course: Best Practices for Curriculum Design

The Art of Structuring Your Online Course: Best Practices for Curriculum Design

The Basics

Hey there, internet friends! So you’ve decided to become an online course creator, huh? That’s awesome! But before you hit that “publish” button, let’s talk about the importance of curriculum design. Your course should be structured in a way that is easy to follow and engaging for your students. Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Outline your course objectives and learning outcomes
  • Break the course down into logical sections
  • Create engaging content (videos, quizzes, interactive exercises)
  • Add real-world examples and case studies

The Fun Stuff

Now that you’ve got the basics down, let’s talk about how to make your course stand out from the rest. Remember, your students are here to learn, but that doesn’t mean it has to be boring! Here are some ideas to spice up your curriculum:

  1. Add memes or GIFs (but use them sparingly!)
  2. Include pop culture references (who doesn’t love a “Friends” or “The Office” reference?)
  3. Use slang (but only if it makes sense in the context)
  4. Break up the content with jokes or funny anecdotes

The Dos and Don’ts

Finally, let’s talk about some dos and don’ts when it comes to structuring your online course:

  • Do include clear instructions and expectations
  • Do break up the content into manageable chunks
  • Do make sure all links and multimedia work properly
  • Don’t overwhelm your students with too much information at once
  • Don’t use jargon or overly complicated language
  • Don’t forget to engage with your students and answer their questions


Still feeling a little uncertain? Here are some external resources to help you with curriculum design:

  1. Coursera’s Curriculum Design course
  2. Online Learning Consortium
  3. Educators Technology

“What are some common mistakes to avoid when designing an online course curriculum?”

1. Focusing on content rather than learning objectives: A common mistake is to focus only on what content needs to be covered rather than the specific learning objectives that need to be met. It’s important to design the curriculum with the end goal in mind – what knowledge or skills do learners need to acquire by the end of the course?

2. Lack of interaction and engagement: One of the disadvantages of online learning is the lack of face-to-face interaction. To ensure learners are engaged, designers need to include interactive activities, discussions, and assessments. Attention should also be paid to the visual and audio aspects of the course to create a multimedia experience.

3. Neglecting the instructional design process: Neglecting the instructional design process can lead to a lack of structure and cohesion in the course. Careful planning and execution of instructional design principles like sequencing, chunking, and scaffolding are critical. These principles provide a clear path for learners to acquire knowledge and skills progressively.

4. Overloading learners with content: Another common mistake is to overload learners with too much content that they can’t process or retain. Designers should present content in a manageable way and use techniques to help learners assimilate and store that content, such as repetition, examples, and summaries.

5. Failure to update content: Online courses need to stay current and relevant. Updated course content with current best practices, case studies, and relevant examples can keep learners engaged and motivated. Updating content ensures the course remains relevant and effective.

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