Build your course curriculum
Updated over a week ago

This guide will explain best-practices to keep in mind when building your Heartbeat course curriculum. From evergreen to cohort-based courses, learn how to maximize engagement and increase revenue with these learnings.

In this guide

How to write effective lessons

1. Less is more

Do the work to pare down your course content into the core skills needed to achieve a tangible outcome for your students. Being decisive about the content that's included and not included will lead to higher completion rates for the course while still achieving the necessary learning outcomes.

2. Limit one thought per lesson

When creating lessons, it's important to provide a balance of theory and examples. This not only helps to reinforce the concepts being taught, but also makes it easier for learners to understand and apply the information.

Without examples, learners may struggle to fully grasp the concepts being taught and may have a harder time applying them in real-world situations.

When including examples in your lessons, it's important to choose relevant and relatable ones. Here are some tips to help you effectively incorporate examples:

For example, if you are teaching a course on marketing mastery and discussing the evolution of paid advertising, it would be helpful to include screenshots of how advertising on various platforms looks today compared to years ago. This not only provides a visual representation of the concept, but also helps learners see the changes and advancements in the industry.

Include a feedback opportunity in your course

As an instructor, it's important to gather feedback from your students to improve your course and ensure their satisfaction. One way to do this is by including a feedback opportunity halfway through your course.

1. Creating the Feedback Assignment

To include a feedback opportunity in your course, you can create an assignment at the halfway point. This can be done easily through your course platform's assignment feature. Make sure to clearly label the assignment as "Feedback Opportunity" or something similar, so students know what it is for.

For the submission type, you can choose to make it external and provide a link to your feedback form. This can be a Google Form, SurveyMonkey, or any other online form tool that allows you to collect responses.

It's also a good idea to provide some instructions or prompts for students to guide their feedback. This can include questions about their overall experience, what they found most helpful, and any suggestions for improvement.

2. The Value of Student Feedback

By including a feedback opportunity in your course, you are showing your students that their opinions and experiences matter to you. Their responses can provide valuable insights and help you make adjustments to increase engagement, reach learning outcomes, and improve completion rates.

For live cohort-based courses, this feedback can also be used to make last minute adjustments to the remaining lesson content. This can help ensure that the course is meeting the needs and expectations of the current cohort.

Use the course to pull people into other parts of your community

By providing social opportunities within your course, you are making it easy for students to engage with your community and connect with other members. This not only enhances their learning experience but also creates a sense of belonging and encourages them to continue their journey with your community.

1. The Power of Community Embeds

Community embeds are a powerful tool for bringing your course and community together. By embedding community features directly into your course, you can seamlessly integrate the two and encourage students to become more involved in your community. You can create opportunities for students to connect with instructors, engage in discussions, opt into peer matchups, and attend community events.

2. The Impact on Completion Rates

Courses with strong social components have completion rates of 85-90% on average. By incorporating community embeds into your course, you are not only creating a more engaging learning experience but also increasing the likelihood of students completing your course.

Why is this important? Well, increasing your course completion rates is the best way to increase revenue. Think about it - someone who completes course #1 is much more likely to purchase course #2.

Structure your content based on your course type

Depending on the type of course you're creating, there are best practices to follow for how to structure your course to maximize learning outcomes.

1. Evergreen Courses

These courses are typically self-paced and allow learners to access the material at any time. Here are the key components of an evergreen course:

Modules: Each module of the course should be a self-contained skill. This means that the content within each module should be focused on a specific topic or skill that learners can master. For example, if you are creating a course on web design, one module could be focused on HTML, another on CSS, and so on.

Events: It is important to include events in your evergreen course. These events can take the form of weekly office hours or feedback opportunities for members to attend. This allows learners to interact with the course creator and ask any questions they may have. It also provides a sense of community and support for learners.

Lessons: It is recommended to have 2-3 lessons per module that are drip released one day at a time. This allows learners to focus on one topic at a time and prevents them from feeling overwhelmed with too much information at once.

Assignments: These help learners demonstrate their understanding of the self-contained skill taught in each module. Include just 1 assignment in each module. Assignments can take various forms, such as quizzes, essays, or hands-on projects. They are a great way to check for learning and provide feedback to learners.

By incorporating these key components into your evergreen course, you can create a comprehensive and engaging learning experience for your students.

2. Cohort-Based Courses

These courses are designed to run in groups and have a fixed start and end date. They are typically facilitated by an instructor who guides the group through a combination of live sessions and asynchronous lessons. Here are the key components of a cohort-based course:

Modules: Each module, should represent a specific period of time in the course (ex: Week 1). These modules are typically locked until the week starts (usually on a Monday). This helps to control overwhelm and prevents learners from starting lessons too soon.

Events: Events are an important part of cohort-based courses. These are live sessions that are scheduled throughout the course and are led by the instructor. For short term courses (1-3 months), there are usually 2-3 events per week. For longer courses (3+ months), there is typically 1 event per week.

Lessons: In addition to live events, cohort-based courses also include asynchronous lessons. These are pre-recorded videos or written materials that can be accessed at any time. The number of lessons per week may vary depending on how many live events are scheduled.

Assignments: These are an important part of the learning process in cohort-based courses. These are tasks or projects that are assigned to students to help them apply what they have learned. Typically, there is 1 assignment per week, but there should not be less than 2 assignments per month.

Incorporate these key components in your cohort-based course to create an engaging learning experience for your students.

Next Step: Create assignments and lessons

Move to the next step in building your course on Heartbeat:

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