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I'm Mara — I help creatives create and launch digital courses and profitable products. I love chatting about online marketing, design and goal setting!

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Want Your Students to See Better Results? This ONE Thing Can Make a Big Difference

Today, I’m sharing a really simple online course creation tip that will make your online course easier for students to take (and will also make people excited to buy your course). This course creation hack is so simple, but it’s so effective if you want to help your students to see better results from your course! Every time we implement it for a client, it really improves the entire course experience. The hack? Make a checklist for people to follow along with your course.

All you need to do is make a checklist (ideally something that’s pretty and well-designed in Canva or Photoshop), or a very simple checklist on Google Docs or using a spreadsheet like Google Sheets. 

There are many different ways that you can make a step-by-step checklist of everything people need to do to go through your online course. And as a course design expert, I can tell you that people really love having clear steps of exactly what they are supposed to do to achieve a result. Having a very specific list that you can print out and check off is so powerful for so many of us (I shared more about this productivity hack here too).

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This online course creation tip works for “basic” courses too

I know you might be thinking Mara, but my course is really obvious. To go through the course, you just go in order and watch every lesson. Trust me when I say, people still get confused. Their brain still wants a roadmap of how to go through the course. Having a step-by-step checklist is really powerful for people.

It’s also something you can put on your sales page by the way, either in the FAQ section (where you answer, how will you help me implement the course?), or even higher up on the page. I’m always a big fan of showing people accountability strategies on your sales page. 

Then, before people buy the course, you’re indirectly addressing their objection that they’re not going to have time to go through your online course. You need to let them know about the different features you have to help them implement the work. And YES, having a step-by-step checklist counts as a feature that will help them stay accountable and implement the work. This really does help students to see better results.

Two Different Ways to Create a Checklist for Your Course

First, the easiest way is to just have a list of every single lesson in your course that people can go through and watch or read the lesson and then check off. That is the easiest checklist to create, and that’s something that I recommend every single person has inside of their online course. 

The other way you can do this is instead of making it all of the lessons they check off, you make a list of all of the actions that they need to take. So for example, last year I set up an online course for someone who was teaching about how to build websites on Squarespace. And so she had a checklist of all of the different tasks you would do to set up your website on Squarespace. So that wasn’t a checklist of the lessons inside of the course, but instead, it was a checklist of all of the action steps that you need to take to achieve the desired goal. 

Either one works! Making a list of all of the lessons is obviously a lot easier than writing out all of the action steps, but both are very powerful. Either way, they give people a roadmap to follow so that they know what to do inside of the course. 

creating a checklist for your online course

Keep Your Course Checklist Simple

My biggest piece of advice? Keep it simple to help your students to see better results. You can always rebrand and make a prettier, more gorgeous checklist down the road, but giving people any sort of checklist is very helpful and is worth doing sooner rather than later. Once you have created it, make sure to add it to the introduction module to your course. Ideally in the very first lesson!

You’re also going to want to make sure you email it out to students (and potentially even consider including it in every student email that you send). Often with online course emails, we will create a special student footer at the bottom of the email that has the login link to the course and the coaching call schedule (if applicable). You can also link to your checklist in the footer of every single email so that every time you’re emailing students, they can see that checklist, and it’s a good reminder to start using it. This in turn, helps your students to see better results.

BONUS: They May Even Share Your Online Course Checklist On Social Media 

I’ve shared about how a checklist improves the student experience, but another bonus is when you have a pretty printable checklist, students will often print it out and then share it on social media and tag you!

I have several different clients where we made a checklist and it has the course name at the top so it’s very clear and easy to read what the title of the course is. Then, students will often print it off and they’ll put stickers on it or they’ll cross off things as they do them and then tag the client in the picture. As you can imagine, that’s a really good way to continue promoting your course because you can reshare those images on social media and it provides social proof that people are doing the work (and seeing the results!).

Making a Checklist is a Quick Way to Create a Better Course

I told you this hack would be simple and it’s probably something you could do in 30 minutes or less. Take time to just sit down and start writing out all of the lessons in your course and then create a checklist with boxes or circles that people can fill in as they’re doing the work. Trust me – it’s going to create a better experience for everyone. 

As an added benefit to help your students to see better results, this can really help with customer service too because if someone is stuck inside of your course (or if the customer service person inside of your online business isn’t sure what lessons to recommend when people get stuck), they can use that checklist internally to help support them as well. 

I also want to encourage you that if you’re listening to this and you do not have an online course, you can use this hack for other digital products too. If you have a workshop or an ebook, a checklist is very helpful. Plus, you can include it in follow up emails, the initial welcome email, and on the thank you page, so that people know exactly what to do after they buy your product, which ultimately leads to a much higher satisfaction rate. 

online course strategist writing tips to help your students to see better results

This WILL Help Your Students to See Better Results From Your Online Course!

This is kind of nerdy of me, but this is actually something I personally do for ALL the courses that I am taking. So when I buy a course, if they don’t have a checklist (which most don’t!), I will often make my own because it really helps me do the work and stay accountable to myself. Then, I will hang it up or even make it the screensaver on my computer. That way, I don’t have to remember to keep going through all of the lessons (or think about what I have done and what is coming up next). 

That’s it! That is my super duper simple course creation hack which you could probably add to your to-do list and implement this week (like I said – it will take you less than 30 minutes) and create a better experience for everyone!

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