With a number of successful e-Courses under my belt, I’ve tried many tools and resources to help with the process to brainstorm the content, develop the outline, write the content and gather ideas. I’m finally revealing my absolute fave tools to design your e-Course.
Tools to Get the ideas out of your head
Before you start structuring or writing your content, you’re going to want a good brainstorm to help you get all of those ideas out of your head and onto paper.
Mind mapping is an extremely effective way to brainstorm the content you want to cover in your e-Course. I personally use mind maps as a visual representation of all the ideas and concepts that I could integrate into an e-Course. You can do this process with pen or paper or you can take it online with the following tool.
iMindMap is a program available for both Windows and Mac and allows you to capture, organise and develop ideas in a similar way to the traditional mind map method. It has a range of symbols and visual cues to make your ideas pop and integrates with other platforms so that you can share your ideas with others. No more pen and paper necessary but all the fun still included!
Tools to Structure the content
Once you have all of your ideas out of your head, it’s time to structure your content!
I have to admit, the post-it note method is one of my favourites and allows you to get clear on each topic and sub-topic, keywords, ideas, delivery methods and anything else you can think of on individual post-it notes. All you need is a large table or wall and you can start sorting different ideas into modules and move them around until you’re happy with the structure.
If you prefer to do your structuring online then these two tools allow you to use the post-it note method in an online space.
Trello is a website that allows you to create ‘lists’ and ‘cards’ that you can move and arrange similar to post-it notes. I use ‘lists’ to name the topic of each module and then create ‘cards’ for different ideas and sub-topics that I might like to talk about. The ‘lists’ and ‘cards’ can then be moved around and allow you to find a good flow with your content.
Asana is a similar project management system that has just launched the use of ‘boards’ that are quite similar to Trello. It allows you to create ‘columns’ which can be named with the topic or title of your module and you can then add ‘tasks’ for each topic or idea.
Once you’ve mapped out your modules and structured them in a way that you’re happy with then you can use my Module Planner to get clear on the topic, learning objectives and main ideas of the e-Course. I still use this planner every time I create an e-Course and it hasn’t failed me yet!
Tools to write your e-Course
Once you have an e-Course structure then it’s time to write your modules.
There are lots of tools you can use to create content for your modules but my personal favourite is Google Drive.
4. Google Drive
Google Drive is perfect for writing your e-Course modules, allowing you to create ‘folders’ for your modules and separate ‘documents’ for workbooks, worksheets or guides. Keeping it in the cloud is a great way to ensure nothing gets lost and you have access to your content anywhere there is an internet connection. It’s also great for sharing and collaborating. For example, perhaps you and a team member are collaborating on a specific module. Google Docs allow you to work from the same document and see each other’s progress and changes. Or maybe you want to easily share your modules with your team? Google Drive makes all your content available at a click of a button!
Tools to gather inspiration
Finally, you’ll want to set up a system for researching and gathering ideas that are appropriate to your e-Course.
Evernote is an app that allows you to capture notes and file them in relevant ‘notebooks’. It can be used on your computer and phone which allows you to sync notes from all devices and have your notes available to you at the click of a button.
You can use Evernote to store articles, screenshots, written notes or even images that inspire you. The Evernote Web Clipper easily allows you to save articles from the internet and store them in your Evernote ‘notebook’ or you can write notes directly into the app.
For example, you might want to create a ‘notebook’ dedicated specifically to ideas and inspiration for you e-Course. So when you see an article or idea that you might want to include, you can use the Evernote Web Clipper to save it to the ‘notebook’ to come back to later. This also works well for sales pages and Facebook ads that you like. Alternatively, you can use Evernote to store the bundles of screenshots you have on your phone and sync it to your computer or you can write notes directly into Evernote too!
Or, like me, you might want to stick with your Structuring Tool (Trello or Asana) as these tools are also a great place to store links to useful resources and you can even turn emails into tasks or notes with these programs.
So there we go – you now have five trusty tools that you can use to brainstorm, structure, write and gather content for your e-Course.
Now that you have all the tools you need to build your e-Course idea, it’s time to refine your e-Course idea!
The e-Course Idea Generator is a proven system to help you hone in on a profitable idea for your e-Course.
If you’ve got no idea, it will help you brainstorm a bunch of viable options. (Like a shot of jet fuel for your creativity, it will get your juices flowing and your cogs cranking like nothing else.)
And if you’ve got too many ideas (Hello, Ms Multipassionate!), it will help you discern which one you should focus on.