What Makes A Great Online Course?

Anyone can produce an online course, but not everyone can create a successful one!

There are so many elements that contribute to the success of a course – from the structure and content to the marketing and surrounding community.

Creating an online course takes a lot of effort, so if you’re going to do it, you may as well do it with finesse!

While no two courses are the same, the very best courses have some key elements in common.

In today’s blog, we’ll delve into exactly what these elements are so you can discover what makes a great online course. Let’s get to it!

Structure, Flow And Order

The structure of your course will ultimately dictate how students experience your content. Online course builders can differ, but the bones of how your course is presented will be similar regardless.

When creating your course, you’ll be able to split your content into modules, which are further broken down into lessons.

It’s vital to organise your content in a logical way so that the subject matter builds and flows along the learning journey. Make sure you guide your students through a process of beginning, middle and end in a way that makes sense.

Creating learning outcomes can be helpful, not just for the overall course, but for individual lessons, so you can ensure you stay on track.

Varied Content

What makes a great online course? Is it one mostly presented via video, or should it be more text-based? Should you include a ton of content or just the bare bones?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer, but generally, a variety of different content types is best. Some people are visual learners and will get more from watching videos, while others absorb information better by reading or doing.

Including various content types ensures you cater to those different learning styles.

Engaging Content

Regardless of the content type, it must always be engaging. That means being creative, telling stories, gamifying certain aspects, hosting live lessons, including fun quizzes, and keeping your lessons short and to the point.

Balance the passive delivery of information with active tasks to keep your audience engaged and entertained. While content is usually absorbed by watching videos or reading text for knowledge, implementation of knowledge isn’t just about absorbing. You must have tasks or action steps for your students to undertake to cement what they are learning throughout your course.

And remember, longer isn’t necessarily better. According to an article by Thinkific, “the ideal length of your online course is the shortest amount of time to get your students from A to B. (The shorter the path, the better.)”.

Your Presence

One thing that can separate a good course from a great course is the support and connection that comes with it. Online courses can be delivered fully complete, with minimal interaction between you and your students, but if you want to build your brand and develop loyal customers and raving fans, you need to connect with your students.

This could be via one-on-one support, group coaching, live sessions, or even just making yourself available via email if your students want to reach out. Of course, your time is valuable, so how available you are will be decided by the price point of your course.

Building a community can also be a fantastic way to immerse your students in the learning environment and help them enjoy the journey. Consider setting up a Facebook group or other online forum where they can chat, exchange info, and bond – with you and each other.


What makes a course awesome? Ongoing evolution. You should aspire to improve your course regularly by tweaking it here and there. One of the best ways to know how to improve it is to ask your students for feedback. What do they love about your course? How could it be better? What would make it even more valuable?

Feedback is especially vital as you create and test-drive your course on your first students, but it never stops being important. Commit to continually improving your content, and you’ll soon learn exactly what makes a great online course.

Need some help creating your online course masterpiece? Then, get in touch with me, Debbie at Task Diva today. Creating engaging online courses is my speciality and I’d love to help you!

Book a free 20 minute call to speak with me now.

If you’re interested in setting up a course or want to know more about how it all works, sign up for your FREE four-page online course planning checklist.

Perhaps you just want to get started on your online course, then my 90 min Zoom Online Course Planning Session might be just what you need.

Checkout my Online Course Creation Packages:

Would you like to check out my preferred online course platform, here's a one month free trial of Thinkific (note this is an affiliate link).


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Debbie Mills Robertson
Online Course Creation | Email Marketing | Website Design
027 345 7000


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