Dornubari Vizor April 26, 2022

Course Launch: How to Launch a Successful Online Course

Creating a successful online course from scratch can be a complicated task, but it can be simpler if you take the proper steps.

Starting with a strong course outline can help you immensely, and it can also benefit your future clients. But how do you create a course outline?

This article will explain a course outline and how to make the best course outline template possible for your online learning business. Let’s begin!

What Is a Course Outline?

Firstly, we should define a course outline.

A course outline shows all of the contents of your course, from start to finish.

Course outlines are similar to a course syllabus you’d get in school. It can also be called a Lesson plan. These lesson plans are necessary whether your course is dedicated to corporate training or digital marketing, these lesson plans are necessary.

Well-structured course outlines consist out o a couple of different parts, which we’ll cover in more detail soon.

The most important sections of a course outline are modules, lessons, and topics, and every course outline needs to have them.

Course outlines come with plenty of benefits for the creator and the student, as you’ll see in the next part of this article.

Benefits of a Course Outline

As already mentioned, course outlines can benefit both you as the lecturer and your students.

Creating a course outline can help you with the course creation process. It’s one of the first building blocks towards making your idea come true. It shows you your start, goal, and steps you need to take to create courses.

This also helps you create short and practical lessons, which students prefer. By breaking your content into smaller parts, you’re making it easier for them to learn with no overexplaining.

A course outline will also help you figure out whether you can repurpose some of the content you already had, makes it easier to create a navigation menu, and makes your course easier to follow.

For example, GroupApp comes with a course outline page, where you can edit and add information about your course and even upload a video trailer. This is something that students will see first, and it can have a significant impact on your sales.

Additionally, it saves you time for course design and creates a better environment for learning.

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How to Create a Course Outline

Now that you know what course outlines are and which benefits they come with, it’s time to get to course creation.

Every online course outline is created from a couple of main parts, and you should work on defining each of them before going further.

You can use this part of our article as a course outline template, but make sure to adjust it to your content.

Basic Information

The first part you need to define about your course outline is some basic information. You’re already going into this with the course idea, knowledge of the theme, and your expertise. Now it’s time to define it further and create a section to introduce your potential students to the course.

Course Description and Name

The course name should be something simple that will make people want to find out more. It should convey the course’s subject and goal without any additional flourish to the course name.

Next is the course description. A well-written course description should entail all needed information about a course. It should be short, to the point, and captivating, and it can even be a good sales pitch.

However, you shouldn’t make lofty promises or give too many background facts.

Some of the critical information in your curse description is what the course is about, what students achieve with its help, and what problems it will help them solve. You should also write about why the students should take this course and what topics it will cover.

Course Requirements

Students need to know what they’re getting into before starting their course. Defining any requisites before beginning the course is a must.

Who is your course made for? What is your target audience? Is it for people who are learning about it for the first time, or is it for those who already have some knowledge in this area? Are there specific steps they need to take to finish the course successfully? Do they need to have a particular skill?

In this section, you’re supposed to define any requirements the students will need before starting the course. Do they need a particular prerequisite or a co-requisite? Some people need a certain level of knowledge before joining the next course.

Contact Information

This section should have the contact information of the lecturer so a student can get in touch if they have any additional questions.

You can also add a link to the course’s community, where everyone can interact.

Luckily, GroupApp comes with an in-built community feature. This is where students and lecturers can easily interact through discussions, group chats, and DMs.

Communities are essential for creating a healthy support system for each student.

Course Schedule

The course schedule depends on the course subject, students, and lecturer. Not every course is the same.

Maybe your course comes with live lessons at certain times, or you plan on dripping course content once or twice a week. Perhaps students have to spend a specific time on a lesson before going to the next one. A course schedule should be noted as part of the introductory course information.

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Learning Content

The next section of the course outline should be about learning. Here are some of its key elements.

Learning Outcomes

Expected learning outcomes are essential for a potential student.

If you know what the learning outcomes are going to be, you can work on defining each of the steps that will take your students to that goal.

Additionally, it’s a good selling point. Defining the outcome of the course will help prospective students visualize the results and see themselves taking your online course.

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Instructional Methods

How do you plan on teaching your class? Will there be video lessons with a sort of test accompanying each of them, and will there be workgroups or live lessons? Are students supposed to work on group projects?

You should know your audience and what teaching style would suit them best, and you should define it in this part of the course outline so they’re ready.

GroupApp comes with a couple of handy features in this case. With GroupApp, you can upload your whole course, drip content however you want, and even toggle with the visibility so only some students can access it. Live lessons can be done through some of the many possible integrations.

Course Assessment Plans

Similar to the last section, the course assessment plans define how the students will be working in your course and which amount of work they can expect.

Will there be a test or an assignment after every lesson? Or will there just be one big final exam at the end of the entire course after they can successfully complete the class? Maybe your student will have to create a whole project, step by step, following the due dates for the assessments.

This is also the section where you can define things like the grading scale if you have one, practice activities, late assignments, and other parts of the assessment plan.

Either way, you should consider what assessments best fit your theme and instructional methods and incorporate them into your course design.

Course Materials

Most importantly, course materials. This is the most complicated task because you need to define course contents through it, but it’s the critical element of every course outline. Here’s what you should keep in mind when creating your course structure.

Break Up Content Into Smaller Parts

Course outlines, or lesson plans, usually consist of three layers – modules, lessons, and topics. These components are an integral part of the outline. They’re used to break the materials into smaller sections, making it easier for the students to learn. Well-defined units also help students refer to the parts they want to follow through again.

This course structure method will also help you simplify the creation process by defining your next major steps.

You can look at it this way. Modules are the main themes of your course. Each subject you could cover in your course consists of different pieces. Find those themes and arrange them from begging to end.

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Course modules are further split into lessons. Lessons are there to create bite-sized knowledge for the student. They’re more defined and handle specific areas.

You can even split your content by making topics for different lessons, but they’re not always needed. Many courses don’t have topics at all.

But how many modules should you have? If you want an effective student learning mechanism, you can’t have too many. The recommended number of modules is around six or less, and every module should have three to twelve lessons.

On the course outline page, you can edit and create a detailed course outline in GroupApp.

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Outline Your Lessons

Next, you need to outline your lessons, a different story. This is where a well-structured course outline can help you immensely.

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Look at your current course outline and check whether all modules and lessons are in the right place and the proper order. Now you essentially have a to-do list for course content creation.

Cover each lesson one by one and determine what it should entail.

Outlining also depends on the media. For example, if you’re making a video-based course, you should always write a script for lessons. On GroupApp, you can easily add a lot of different media types, from PDFs to videos.

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Helpful Tools for Outlining

Creating a course outline can get complicated, but you can use various tools to simplify the course creation process.

Some people can just do this with pen and paper, but it’s easier to edit and customize your course outline digitally.

You can use anything from different note apps to to-do lists. Most people start putting their ideas in Microsoft Word or Excel, as they’re relatively simple.

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Add More Learning Resources and Bonuses

Do you have any additional learning resources, important details, and bonuses students can check out for an even more successful course outcome? Start putting them in your course.

Various types of resources, like books and videos, can even improve the learning methods of your class. On GroupApp, you can even add ebooks and video libraries from Vimeo for your students, amongst other things.

Additional Tips

We hope that this helps you create your course outline. Lastly, here are some additional tips to keep in mind when creating your course outline and courses in general.

Know Your Goals

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Before starting an online course, you need to define your goal. Creating clear learning outcomes is a must.

Is your course supposed to teach your students about budgeting and help them create their first emergency fund? Or is the end goal of it to help them write a short story? You should first define the desired learning outcomes no matter the subject.

Defining a goal isn’t only going to help you create the major steps, but a well-defined plan can also pull in more students because it will feel like the course comes with concrete results.

You can define the steps somebody would need to take to reach that goal and create an outline from this point on.

Know Your Audience

Audiences generally depend on what you’re teaching, and they come in many varieties. However, you should always know your audience if you want to sell them something.

When imagining a course, you should also imagine who it’s targeted towards. Children? College students? Older people? People with knowledge in a particular field? Is it meant for corporate training?

This will help you define the scope and complexity of your course and its learning objectives, which you can use to create your source outline.

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Be Effective

Content breakdown and creating an effective course outline are among the best steps you can take for your online course business.

This will make it easier for you to define your course structure and outcomes, stick to the theme, define learning activities, and find appropriate resources and materials.

It will also simplify the learning process for online students. According to data, 90% of students quit online classes before finishing them.

But this doesn’t mean that you should get into too much detail. Being practical also means having a limited number of modules, lessons, and topics in your courses. It’s neither good if a course is too long. This type of course content breakdown makes sense for effective learning.

Look for Examples

Don’t be afraid to look at a course outline example from other courses for your course outline template. Look for websites and classes of people you look up to or that just handle the theme of your future class well, and build on that.

Of course, you can’t just copy their courses. It’s supposed to inspire you, and then you can use it and improve on it. Just don’t completely use their work as a course outline template!

Best Course Platforms

Of course, creating online courses means nothing if you don’t choose the right online course platform to host it on. Here are some of our top picks for sites where you can create, sell and market your online courses.


GroupApp is a membership-based online platform where you can sell your courses and build communities.

You can create courses on GroupApp simply and effectively. It has all of the learning and marketing features most commonly found in online course platforms, and they’re improved to make your course even more efficient.

Most importantly, unlike most online course platforms, GroupApp creates an environment where you and all of the course takers can interact with each other. It’s also possible to create different membership tiers and groups depending on the subject.

Creating a community where users interact isn’t only crucial for online courses and developing a support system.

As mentioned before, GroupApp also comes with marketing tools that can improve your courses, like coupons, trial periods, and detailed analytics. You can also integrate it with your favorite third-party tools through Zapier.

GroupApp is also one of the most affordable options, with the pricing of as low as $29/month for a Basic plan and up to $189/month for a Premium plan.



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Podia is a website where you can create, sell and market your courses.

Establishing your course on Podia is simple, and the additional marketing features make it easy to handle your business. Podia features like memberships, and affiliate marketing can be beneficial for developing your business and reaching new clients if they’re used correctly.

We also wrote a full review of Podia, which you can check out here. To summarize, it’s a simple tool where you can customize and manage your online courses. However, the biggest downside of Podia is that it isn’t a place where you can create a community.

Podia is also pricier, with the price of the Mover plan starting at $39/month, while the most expensive plan would cost you $199/month.


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Lastly, Thinkific is an online course platform where you can create and sell courses, and it comes with many features that make it very simple to use and host your online business. Check out our full review on it.

Creating a course page is straightforward, and contacting students and managing each separate course is also done simply. Thinkific also comes with a marketing tool that you can use to improve your business and a lot of possible integrations.

Most people like Thinkific because of its sleek design and simplicity. However, just like Podia, Thinkific isn’t a platform where you can build a community with your students. A well-built community has benefits for both your business and your students.

The lowest-priced package for Thinkific creators is free, but it comes with minimal features, and it’s primarily used for testing out the platform. The Premier pack, the most expensive one, will cost you #399/month.

Final Thoughts

Establishing a well-defined course outline isn’t a simple task, but it comes with many benefits. It’s an excellent first step towards establishing your course, and it’s something that can draw in students.

We hope that this article helped you create your course outline and made it easier to make future course outline templates.

Remember that it’s essential to host your course on a platform where you’ll have all the valuable features and communicate with your audience. GroupApp is a membership-based website where you can sell online courses and create a community with your audience. Sign up for GroupApp today to try it out!


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