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How to Decide What Content to Use in The eCourse

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One of the more enjoyable aspects of creating an eCourse is creating and collecting great content. It’s exciting to create something that you know will engage your audience and drive home an important concept. When you stumble across a video or great infographic that is ideal for a course you're developing, that’s always a good thing.

The downside comes when you realize that you’ve collected way more material than you’ll ever use. Unless you want to overwhelm your students, or create the longest eCourse in the history of online learning, you’ll have to pare things down. The biggest challenge is figuring out what content should make the cut.

Content That Helps Meet Course Objectives Should be Prioritized

When deciding what content should stay and what should go, the best place to start is at the end. Basically, what do you want your students to understand? What do new skills do you want them to have and be able to successfully apply?

Any content that contributes directly to meeting your learning objectives should be prioritized. Anything else should be considered supplemental. However, that doesn’t mean you should discard it. You simply want to establish your ‘must have’ content. Once you know that, you can begin estimating how much time it will take to teach that content, and how intellectually rigorous covering that material will be.

Once you know this, you can start adding supplemental content. This is the content that will keep students engaged and encourage relevant discussions. It may help to place content into different categories. These might include:

  • Content to further enhance understanding.
  • Stories and examples to promote dialogue and thought.
  • Trivia or humor to keep classes engaged and entertained.

Then, add that additional content as time allows while also maintaining the desired course intensity.

Edit Content For Brevity And Impact

It isn’t always a matter of determining whether or not to include content or keep it out. There may be a middle ground. If you can edit or summarize content, you may be able to include it without disrupting the flow of your course. For example, videos can be edited to only show the most relevant part. If you’ve written a unit that’s simply too long to include as is, pull out the most important points. Turn long paragraphs into lists and bullet points. Use a tool to turn text into charts or infographics.

Consider Breaking Courses Down

Having an excess of content can be a blessing. Your issue may not be that you have too much material for one course. Instead, what you may  have is a single course that needs to be divided into multiple courses that you can offer over time. By creating a suite of courses, you can entice students to come back over a period of time. You can even sweeten the deal by offering special prices for those willing to sign up for more than one class.

Find Other Uses For Extra Content

What do you do with the content that simply won’t fit into the course you’re developing? Don’t throw it out. Take the time to consider other uses. Perhaps you could use it as informational content to share with your social media audiences. You might even be able to create a whitepaper, or add it to your email newsletters. Just be sure to use a solution like Templafy. This will ensure that what you create and curate is always on-brand and consistent with other course documents you have created.

Create an Organized Content Repository

There’s no such thing as having too much content on hand for current and future courses. You know what you’re teaching goals are, and what the needs of your students are. The problem comes when you realize that all of this content has been thrown into various folders, and you have no way to track the podcasts, videos, infographics, articles, interviews, and white papers you have collected along the way.

This is why it’s important to keep organized from the beginning. Here are a few tips:

  • Create a spreadsheet or database logging all of the content gather. It should contain file and folder name, type of content (video, article, etc.), data collected, and subject matter.
  • If you create courses covering multiple subjects, create a set of folders for each subject. Then add subfolders to further subdivide content and make it easier to find and review content later.
  • Take notes on potential uses for content when you find or create it. It’s of no use to you if you look at it six months from now and have no idea what you intended to do with it.

Course content is a wonderful thing. The key is to manage it carefully is to select the content that best meets students’ needs, and then find creative ways to use the rest. This will help you create great courses today and into the future.

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