Quick Tips to Design the Course Flow for an E-learning Course

For any e-learning project, you must have a SME , who gives you the course content in the form of a PowerPoint Presentation or in a Word document.

Most often the information you get from the SME/the client is unstructured and not comprehensive. You might get a series of documents which have information scattered across the documents.

So you have the following tasks:

  • Evaluating/analyzing the content (finding out if the information given by the client is enough)
  • Designing the course flow/structuring the content

#1 Evaluating the content

While evaluating content provided by the SME/the client:

  • Read through the information given by the SME/the client thoroughly
  • If the subject is technical highlight the portions you are not able to understand and clarify with the client/SME
  • Break information into three or more broad topics. Gather information for each topic
  • Mark out irrelevant information
  • Check if the information under each topic is enough
  • If you feel the information is not enough, mark them and ask the SME/client

While evaluating content,focus on the usefulness of information.

#2 Preparing the course flow

After you have all the information you need for the e-learning course, think how you must sequence the course. Just as you design the TOC for a User Manual, you need to sequence the course topics in a logical sequence.

There are many approaches to sequencing the course.Two common approaches are Classic Approach and Task Based Approach.

Classic Approach

In a classic approach you:

  • Present the theoretical background first
  • Present the main ideas next
  • Present simple concepts prior to complex concepts
  • Introduce new concepts that is essential for understanding other ideas
  • Introduce skills that learners can immediately apply and gain value

Task Based Approach

In a Task Based Approach you might:

  • Present an activity/ problem to the learners
  • Allow Learners to gain information by performing the task/activity


You need to develop a course for Blackford waiters that

  • Introduces them to Blackford dishes, their ingredients and cooking process.
  • Helps them execute meal orders.

Evaluating the content

While evaluating the content you need to gather information such as:

  • The list of Blackford dishes
  • Their ingredients
  • Cooking process
  • Top mistakes waiters make with respect to meal queries
  • Dishes that waiters find hard to remember

( Note: The last two bullets will help you build scenarios in the course)

Course Flow

Classic Approach

The classic approach to the course outline would be:

Module 1: Blackford Dishes

Topic 1: Introduction to various dishes in terms of its taste and ingredients

Topic 2: Explanation of the cooking process of various dishes

Module 2: Solving Customer Queries

Topic 1: Answering customer queries related to a particular dish

Topic 2: Communicating the order to the Bartender

Task Based Approach

The task based approach to the course outline would be:

Module 1: Blackford Dishes

Topic 1: Activity: Choose the right ingredient

Learners will be given a series of Blackford dishes. They need to choose the right ingredients for each dish. After the exercise the learners will be introduced to the dishes.

Topic 2: Activity: Identify the cooking process

Learners will be given 15 minutes for this activity. The cooking process of each Blackford dish will be presented in a jumbled fashion. Learners need to identify the right sequence. After the activity the cooking process will be introduced.

Module 2: Solving Customer Queries

Topic 1: Activity: Real Time Scenarios

Learners will be presented scenarios where customers ask queries to a particular dish. Learners gain points for every right answer. At the end of the activity , learners will be given tips on solving customer queries.

Topic 2: Activity: Communicate the order to the Bartender

Learners will be presented with scenarios where the customer places an order and the waiter has to repeat the order to the cook/bartender. Learner gain points for every right order.

Final Words

In Instructional Designing, there is no hard and fast rule to design the course outline. Ultimately your goal is to satisfy the learners. So you are free to think out of the box.


One Response

  1. Dear Rupa,

    Your blog is manna from heaven for me! You’ve effectively demystified the jargon-laden field of ID. God bless you.

    I wish you continued success in all of your endeavors.


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