Just imagine it:   you’ve built your first course, launched it, made a decent profit.  And now are ready to hear from your students about how amazing the course is.

Can you see that in your mind?  You want that, right?  You want to make a difference in your students’ lives.

I can guarantee disappointment if you follow the standard approach to creating an eCourse.

The standard approach comes from the online marketing world and goes something like this:

  1. Think of a topic,
  2. Validate it with market research,
  3. (Magically) Write the content of your course,
  4. Produce the media and build the course on a site
  5. Sell the course to customers
  6. Deliver the course

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I’ve learned lots about how to sell from online marketing pros. But they don’t know Jack about how to design a curriculum.

The biggest mistake you can make is to think of a course as “content,” (usually videos, screencasts or slide presentations. If you create a bunch of presentations (maybe a fancy video), throw it on a website, don’t call it a course.  You could call it a “series of presentations about a topic.”  But that is not an educational experience.

If you want to create a course that is transformative for your students and helps them achieve the promises you’ve given them on your sales page, then you have to break away from the marketing model that equates learning with listening to a presentation or two.


Teaching Tip:  Start at the End

The first step toward creating a course is at the end.  Imagine what the final outcome of the course will be for your students.  This should guide every choice you make while building your course.

When you clearly define what students should be able to do at the end of the course before you even consider any presentations, you are keeping the focus where it needs to be:  on student learning.  This might take several iterations and can even be a bit tedious.  Of course you’d rather jump right in to making a presentation about your topic, but don’t make that mistake.  Sure, if your launch is smart, you might get you some immediate sales.  But you won’t maximize your students’ results.

Creating the presentations for the course should be the very last thing you do in your course so that they support the actions you want your students to be able to do.  If you start with the presentations, they will just be talk – and probably too much talk.

Here’s an alternative process for developing a course.  It keeps the good parts of the marketers’ approach while adds the vital pieces to getting the curriculum right.


  1. Think of a Topic
  1. Validate the Idea
  1. Define what students should be able to do after the course
  1. Determine what actions students need to learn in order to get to the results
  1. Create strategies for students to learn these actions
  1. Decide what information students need in order to complete these strategies
  1. Create lessons/presentations that deliver the necessary information
  1. Produce the course
  1. Launch the course
  1. Deliver the course

Download the infographic so you can have the correct process at your finger tips.


If you want your to build a loyal customer base who tell all their friends about your course, your curriculum has to blow your students out of the water.  Skip #3-7 at your peril. This is really where the magic happens.