8 Tips To Create a Complete Course Outline

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Article by Gevorgyan

Content writer

Published 22 Mar 2022
9 min read
8 Tips To Create a Complete Course Outline

Have you ever wondered why you have the necessary knowledge and motivation to keep learning after taking some courses, and from others, just the disappointment because you did not get what you expected?    

Indeed, most of us experienced both feelings, and the secret is Course Outline. It is one of the most crucial aspects of any course no matter online or offline. And in this article, we are going to look at the top 8 tips to create a complete course outline, which will leave your clients amazed and satisfied!   

So, if you are ready, let’s start.    

What is a course outline?

Let's start from the very beginning with the concept of the Course Outline itself. Basically, the course outline is the aims & outcomes of the course, course requirements, textbooks, other assessment dates, etc. It is a document much like a syllabus that benefits both instructors/coaches/teachers and students. 

Because the instructor sees the material more clearly, manages time better, and sets realistic objectives, students are able to fully comprehend what they need for the course and what they will gain after it. 

Why is the course outline important?

There are several reasons why a course outline is important; let's take a look at the main ones. 

  • Makes it clear in terms of final results and expected outcomes: If you want to have a good reputation in the coaching market, you have to provide high-quality materials and take students from point A to B. So, how will you be able to do that? Suppose your students purchase a course without having a clear idea of what they need or what they will do. In that case, This will potentially decrease their motivation to study, fewer students will take the course, and some may end up disappointed because they had different expectations. Therefore, the course outline is essential in order to make things clear from the very beginning, both for students and instructors. 
  • Rules: Your students must be familiar with the in-class rules and ethics in order to avoid further quandaries with you or their peers. The Course Outline is a perfect place to share a few rules that students must follow throughout the course. For example, it can be anti-discriminatory policy, grade policy, absence policy, etc. 
  • Permanent record: A course outline can greatly benefit you in the future, especially if you decide to make some improvements. Instead of trying to recall what you covered throughout each course, what have you missed, you can just take course outlines for every course you offered, revise, add or remove materials, clear things up, and generally make it better than it was before. 
  • Effective learning tool: Some may underestimate the value of the course outline. However, it is extremely important. The course outline is something that helps students to become more efficient learners because they are clear on materials, reading, notes, and every other requirement & responsibility related to the course. Course outlines assist students in better planning of their day, week, and general goal achievement.    

Difference between course outline and curriculum

Also, sometimes people confuse the curriculum with the course outline. Actually, those are two completely different things.    

Course Outline 

Course Outline, as mentioned above, is a document consisting of instructions, learning objectives, and deadlines concerning a subject. 

Course Outline generally includes five main elements, which are:

  • Student learning objectives/outcomes
  • General policies 
  • Grading policies 
  • Reading list/learning resources
  • Assignments descriptions and deadlines 

The purpose of the course outline or otherwise called the syllabus, is to define activities, objectives, assignments dates, and everything else for the particular course. It is more narrowed down.    


Meanwhile, the curriculum is a guideline of the whole academic content covered throughout the course. It also includes the list of exact instructions of what professors or coaches must teach, why, and how they must do it. 

The curriculum is a more theoretical version of the course outline; the course outline is more of a logical continuation and set of everything that is about the practical implementation of the curriculum. 4 main elements of the curriculum are:

  • Materials and Resources 
  • Physical/Mental activities for students 
  • Assignments, tests, exams 
  • Student success evaluation methods 

The purpose of the curriculum is to define the content plan and methodology of a study program or a specific course. It tends to be less flexible and long-term oriented.   


8 tips to create an effective course outline

I guess it is time for us to share with you the top 8 easy but highly efficient tips on how to create an effective course outline. Let’s start:

Tip 1 - Use least number of steps 

To start off, you will need to have an approximate plan on what to do. Plans always do help; the challenge is to create a working one. DO not put millions of steps and substeps so that when you look at your "to do," the only thing you want to do is to procrastinate and complain about how much you have to do. Instead, make sure you have a clear outline of your further steps related to the creation of the course outline. And the very first one will be to understand your own expectations from the course. 

Tip 2 - Use simple language and ideas in your outline 

When writing a course outline, make sure that you use simple language understandable by a wide range of audiences. Avoid "super-niche specific" terminology because, most likely, your students came to learn that and do not have a practical understanding of those terms. However, also make sure you use some professional terminology so that it is clear what they are going to learn.    

Also, you need to express simple ideas in your course outline rather than complicated outcomes. 

Tip 3 - Set Learning Objectives for your students 

Objectives and goals tend to automatically make everything purposeful and force the inner motivation to drive us further. Therefore, make sure to set learning objectives and differentiate those from the learning outcomes.    

Successful courses do have a separate section of "learning outcomes" and to create your own, try to answer the following questions:

  • What is the main purpose of this course from my perspective? (then answer the same questions from your student's perspective)
  • Who is my potential client?
  • What are the needs, wants, and expectations of students purchasing this course?

If you answer those simple questions, you will have a better idea of who your clients are; you will also be able to meet their needs and expectations throughout the course and formulate learning objectives in a way that will be more appealing to the student. 

Tip 4 - Description 

The description of the course should be short and to the point. Believe me, using catchy words is important. Read a few articles about the powerful words as well; however, keep in mind that descriptive literate language to describe the course won't help you attract anyone. In this dynamic market, everyone cares about one thing "What is in it for me" just make sure while describing the course, you answer that question for your client. 

Tip 5 - Breakdown the content

Surely, your course includes all the necessary materials, and you are indeed sure that students will gain most of it. I am not saying they won't, but if your content is a mess, they probably won't, which will leave you with bad reviews.    

So, make sure you break down the content by days, weeks, or hours, depending on what type of courses you are holding; it is very individual. We recommend referring to each session as ""day 1, 2, 3…"" or ""week 1, 2, 3…"". 

Tip 6 - Course Evaluation 

This tip is related to course evaluation, which is one of the most crucial aspects of your course. Students who take your course are indeed quite interested in how their grades will be evaluated and how learning objectives will be met. So, to increase the trust factor, we recommend sharing the evaluation methods, practices, or tools you will use. 

Tip 7 - Determine further steps

Your goal as a coach is to take the learner from where they already are to the point where you are promising them to be after the course. To do so, you need to have an action plan in mind. First of all, create a clear lesson plan distributed by weeks. E.g., your course lasts four weeks, for each week you write down the topics, readings and everything that is going to be covered. If you have tests and exams, also mention deadlines, do not forget to mention homework, under each week. 

Tip 8 - Revise 

After you are done with everything above, which means:

  • You know who your target audience is 
  • You are aware of what are their expectations
  • You have an action plan of a course, and it is designed to meet the potential expectations of your students 
  • You have clear learning objectives and learning outcomes for the course
  • You finally have the drafted version of the course outline 

Then, I believe it is time for you to revise everything you did to make sure that the information you grabbed is accurate, and of course, proofread and edit the draft so that students will be provided with a high-quality final version of the course outline. 

Course Outline Examples

Finally, we are at the point where we will share with you some examples of successful course outlines, which will assist you in the creation of your own. 

Here is the basic example, under which you will also be able to find links to many other templates depending on the purpose and format of your course.   

  • Introduction 

This usually includes a few points 

  • Welcome 
  • Description 
  • Learning objectives of the course
  • Course participation policy/grading policy (other policies as well)   
  • Schedule (weekly/daily)

This part includes:

  • Outline of the weeks and readings, tasks, or homework required for the week 
  • Assignment dates


  • Resources 

This part must include:

  • Links, PDFs, or anything on what the course is based on, and what will provide students with a more fundamental understanding of the material    
  • Summary 

This part includes:

  • Exam date (if applicable)
  • Learning outcomes of the course
  • Final words
  • Instruction on when or how certification will be provided (if applicable) 


Do you want to get a course outline example?


Keep in mind that it won't always be easy, but you will eventually succeed if you commit to what you love. In our blog, you can read many interesting and useful articles related to course creation, including video contentbest coaches' websites, and general tips on how to succeed in the coaching business



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