The best courses are designed before they are built. By planning carefully before starting to create content, courses will have a coherent look and feel, with clear outcomes and progression from step to step, activity to activity, and week to week.
To support you in building a great course, we are supplying you with the Course Outline Resource that we use in-house.
Preparing a course outline is also a good way to ensure that you’re incorporating FutureLearn’s four pedagogical pillars:
The Course Outline document will also be used during the Quality Assurance process, which is why it contains tabs for overall course information, and course criteria.
You can see an example of the course outline used for the How to Create a Great FutureLearn course below:
What are the most important things to remember when creating my course outline?
- Start with the Big Questions
- ‘Big Questions’ capture the essence of the course and help to focus the learning. One overall ‘Big Question’ that a course aims to answer can be broken down into smaller ‘Big Questions’ for each course week. The course’s learning outcomes should help learners to answer these questions. Well-written Big Questions and precise learning outcomes help to focus course design and keep learners’ minds on the knowledge, attitudes, skills, and behaviours you want them to gain by the end of the course.
- Use a variety of steps
- The most effective courses combine different media within a strong linear narrative. Whilst videos can be great for certain purposes, overusing them can produce a passive learning experience. When planning your course, try to break up long runs of video or article steps with opportunities to reflect, discuss or recall knowledge gained.
- Course length and flow
- It’s important to step back and check that each week of your course builds on the last, contains a consistent amount of work and strikes a balance between feeling too light and too dense
You may also find this article useful from our Learning Design Team.