There are two basic ways to construct your online course. One option is to create all of the fundamentals of a topic, and present the material in an organized and logical way. This provides a strong fundamental understanding of the material, as well as a long-term reference guide for that material. The second approach is to create a task-based course. This sets up a common goal for all subscribers, and each part of the course builds on that premise until the goal is reached.
My courses follow this second approach, and by providing a desirable goal upfront, subscribers are incentivized to complete each task, in order to reach the intended goal. This also gives a sense of accomplishment to the subscribers, and excites them to learn more techniques in order to add to their project later. The results speak for themselves. Where the average completion rate for Udemy courses is around 10%,my courses have a 65% completion rate.
This approach, however, does not allow for every aspect, or fundamental element, of the particular task. To accommodate for this, I add in additional resources for further study in areas that we touch upon. This gives the subscriber a chance to perform a few tasks within a discipline, then move on.
Constructing Courses with Completion in Mind
My courses start with the final project my subscribers will create. I try to incorporate many disciplines into my course, and show how the disciplines are interrelated. In the introduction, the student gets an understanding of not just what will be covered, but why it is important to learn and how the concepts will be applied in this course. The result is students tend to “buy in” to the material early, and as a result stay engaged longer.
Once I complete the project and record my initial lecture on what will be covered in the course, I recreate the project step-by-step while typing down every step in a text application for the students to follow. As I rebuild the project, I make notes as to the reasoning for certain decisions, and offer resources, or alternatives, that they may want to try on their own. The result is a course that provides a definitive accomplishments to the students.
My second course also features more, shorted lectures. After gathering feedback on my first course, I learned that subscribers prefer shorter, single-tasked lectures. This provides them with the opportunity to quickly refer back to a specific topic, or step, without wading through lengthy lectures to find what they want to review.
Lastly, I develop the introduction of the course to showcase the final product, along with mentions of each discipline. This overview demonstrates the breadth and depth of the course, and emphasizes the fact that the subscribers will achieve this actual result after completing the course.