Course syllabus


How to Set Your Online Course Syllabus

Check out how these guidelines influence the credibility of your online course!


09/21/2022 | By Hotmart

With the growth not only of the distance learning market but also the audience interested in learning about subject matters online, people who have something to teach online can take this advantage to start working with online classes.

However, for your audience to receive well your content, and for it to be different from what everyone else is doing in the market, you need to set clear goals and structure it clearly.

In today’s post, we’ll show you how to design a complete course syllabus that will help put together your online lessons!

To make it even easier, we’ve set aside the steps to design your syllabus:


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How to define the content of your course

The first step towards creating an online course is planning the content.

To set the subjects you’ll approach, it’s important to keep some details in mind.

1. Recognize your skills

Before you start, it’s important to recognize your main skills and how they can help you in your course.

If you’re already a school teacher, and you teach subjects such as Spanish, History or Math, for example, you can use your expertise and knowledge to teach online lessons.

However, you don’t need to have a B.A. or be an experienced teacher to start in the digital market. You can also use your artistic and creative skills or your previous knowledge in a subject to put together your course, as long as it is useful to other people.

Think of your hobby, that activity you do well in your free time.

Would you be able to teach other people what you already do? If you answered ‘yes’ to that question, you already have your idea of your online course.

Try to understand if you have other skills that can help you have good performance or set you apart from your competitors in your online lessons, such as:

  • the clearness in communicating;
  • quick to create and edit videos;
  • charisma and cheerfulness, among others.


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2. Study the market

If you wish to achieve good results teaching online, knowing all you can about the market you intend to act in is a must.

Watch out for trends to learn exactly what people want to learn and the most searched topics. Google Trends is a great tool to identify the most searched topics at the moment while showing you the search volume for that term in the past 12 months.

Studying the market will help you learn about your competitors and what you need to offer your users to set yourself apart and attract more students.

3. DYK?

After you define the subject matter you’ll teach, look for the main curiosities about it that can’t be found in other courses about the same topic.

The more information you have, the easier it will be to design a complete, interesting, and attractive course syllabus for your students.

“Did you know?” explanations are a way to make your lessons more dynamic, call your students’ attention and show them that you really understand every minutia of what you’re teaching.


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How to structure your course syllabus

If you already know the content you’ll teach, it’s time to design your course syllabus and organize all the steps that need to be taken to put your online course on the Internet.

1. Create your course’s value proposition

One of the greatest difficulties most entrepreneurs face is pricing their product or service.

For people to be interested and willing to pay for what you’re offering it’s essential they identify your business as the ideal solution for your problems.

To charge a fair price for your course, both for you and your student, you should make it clear what the buyer will learn with that content. This means showing them the solutions you’re offering when teaching what you know.

This is why it’s important to know your market really well. After identifying your audience’s pains and problems, you get to design precious and attractive content at a fair price.

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2. Set a logical learning sequence

When planning the content of your online lessons, you should consider a logical learning sequence, so your students can guide themselves and notice they’re evolving throughout the course.

For example, if you’re creating a cooking course for beginners, you should have 101 classes giving tips on how to slice food, basic kitchen apparel, spices, and basic knowledge every cook should have.

If you start the course with recipes, you run the risk of having students who can’t understand your proposal because they didn’t have that prior knowledge.


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3. Divide your classes into modules

Creating modules within your course syllabus and dividing your lessons into common topics creates a clear idea of progression, which is useful to keep your students engaged with the content of your next classes.

With well-defined modules, the students can also identify the stage of the course they’re in and what will be taught in those lessons.

By completing a module and starting the next one, the users can take in the content and they know exactly where to find it if they need it later on, which counts points towards usability.


4. Record the lessons chronologically

By recording the lessons chronologically, you keep a train of thought, you don’t forget any important piece of information, and ensure that your students understand the evolutionary sequence.

And this doesn’t have an impact on the way the students watch your lessons.

Users will still have the freedom to access the modules in the order they think it’s best, you’ll just guide them about the lessons that complement each other.

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5. Choose a platform to host your content

It’s time to choose the ideal platform to host your online lessons

There are several online environments, and each one of them has its advantages and disadvantages for the teacher-entrepreneur.

You’ll find paid and free options with several features to customize. Put your user experience first, to ensure their browsing will be intuitive and they’ll be able to watch your lessons on any device.

How to improve your user’s experience with your content

All these tips will help you come up with the content of your online course but there are some details that can make your lessons even better and enrich your students’ experience.

We’ll mention some of these items so you can decide which ones adjust to your courses’ needs.

1. Make your lessons connect to each other

This is one of the strategies you can use to make your course more attractive.

Try to resume topics you approached in previous lessons, use examples that connect to each other, and make reference to the content you’ve previously worked with, etc.

By making these connections, you reinforce important information and make it easier for people to absorb that knowledge.

Besides, you show your students that your lessons are a whole, which justifies the engagement in all modules of the course.

2. Provide supplementary material

We know it’s not always possible, or even recommended, to get into details of every topic you approach during the course.

Getting back to the example of the cooking course, you may mention the “low carb diet” in a few of your lessons. In order not to have to get into details about the topic and lose focus of your lesson, you can just mention the term and define it quickly.

By providing supplementary material, you enable your students to have access to more details about the subject thus contributing to a broader learning experience.

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3. Suggest reading material

In your online classes, you can recommend texts, articles, and books that talk about the information you’re presenting that help expand your students’ knowledge.

By recommending a bibliography, you instigate people to keep on searching for knowledge about the subject and engage with the content you share.

Besides being able to recommend the materials you used as a base for that specific lesson, you can suggest students read a given content before the next lesson, so they can better understand it and take part in the discussion.

4. Provide the content of the lesson in different formats

Video has become the preferred format for people who search for knowledge because it is accessible, practical, dynamic, and easy to consume.

However, if people have been looking for practicality, providing the content of your lesson in other formats can also be a good strategy.

By writing ebooks or recording podcasts, you offer another learning possibility for your students and increase the reach of your content. By doing so, your users can choose the format they think is best.


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5. Send reminders of the lesson by email

It may seem old-fashioned, but email is still one of the most used online communication channels.

Knowing that people find it difficult to organize among so many duties and tasks, forwarding a reminder of your classes is one way to show you value your students and care about them.

By setting those reminders, you ensure your students’ engagement in classes.

Just make sure your messages don’t become inconvenient for your recipients. Be objective when writing the content and follow the best email marketing practices.

6. Delivery of certificates

Regardless of the topic you’ve chosen to approach on your course, you can be sure there will be people interested in proving they took your course.

Whether to put on their resumé or to keep a recollection, certificates are highly valued and can make the difference to attract the attention of your audience.

By handing out certificates for people who complete your course, you reinforce that the content you share adds value for students and can open doors to the job market.

It’s important that these certificates can be featured on social media such as LinkedIn. So, make sure the distance learning platform you choose has this integration platform?

7. Teach live lessons

A good way to engage the audience is by teaching live lessons. This format enables students to interact with the teacher and makes passing on knowledge lighter and more dynamic.

During the live class, you can answer questions to show your knowledge and pass on confidence and credibility to your students.


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Hands-on: start working on your online course syllabus

Just like in any other business model, teaching online requires planning so you can offer a complete experience for your clients. That’s why, before thinking about the promotion and sales stage, it’s important to dedicate yourself to creating a product that meets your audience’s expectations.

Don’t worry, you’ll only discover the perfect model for your audience by making failed attempts and using the feedback you receive to constantly improve.

So, are you ready to set your course syllabus and start making money on the internet? You can also check out our complete guide on how to create online courses in video.