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Using a Course Design Template to Create Actionable, Engaging Courses

By Letícia Fonseca, Oct 29, 2021

course design template

Whether you’re creating a course for university students or a training program for your colleagues, you need a course design template to keep you on the right track.

Learn what course design is, how you can create a course template and several course design templates you can customize using Venngage.

 

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What is course design?

Course design refers to the process and method of creating high quality, engaging learning environment and experience for students or trainees.

Whatever goes into your course is part of your course design, whether it’s the course objectives, student activities, course materials, the frequency of quizzes and exams, etc.

This term mostly refers to courses created for formal education, but it can also refer to professional development courses which have become a lot more popular now. Leadership skills training is an example of one:

course design templates
 

 

What is a course design template?

A course design template is a template used to help educators, marketers or trainers create their course outlines instead of having to come up with course outline content from scratch.

Here’s an example of a course template. This is a Math lesson plan template created for college professors. You’ll see that it contains most of the elements needed for a course outline, which we’ll explore further in the next section.

course design template
 

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How do you write a course template?

What you should include in your course outline may change depending on the type of courses you’re creating (whether it’s for formal education or for professional development), but you’ll get the gist of what you’ll need to include next time you create a course.

Here’s what typically goes into a course design template:

Course name, number, credits and description

Of course, if you’re not creating a course for universities or the like, there’ll be no need to include course number or credits.

Make sure you choose a name that clearly conveys what the course is about and provide a holistic course description. There’s no need to go into too much detail for the description—the course outline aims to that anyway—but it should say what the course will cover and/or course learning assessment.

Prerequisites/Co-requisites

Students taking more advanced courses are better off with a prerequisite (a course that must be completed prior) or a co-requisite (a course that must be taken at the same time). 

If you’re creating an online course for your organization, this part may be unnecessary. Instead, you can point out who the course is for and whether they need some experience or knowledge related to the topic covered in the course prior to taking it.

For instance, for our course Becoming an Infographic Design Pro, Lydia Hooper included a section elaborating on who the course is for:

becoming an infographic design pro

Instructor(s) information

Always include information about the instructor(s) like their name, contact information and a brief bio. Students should know who’s teaching them and whether the instructor has the right experience to provide a quality teaching and learning environment. 

Course schedule

Include the date, time and/or location of each lesson. As the number of online and hybrid courses increases, there’s less of a need to include the location of the course—but always make sure students know when your lesson is happening and when there’s a recording if you’re teaching live.

Learning objectives

Having actionable learning objectives for your courses is essential, as it helps you set your desired instructional goals and also helps you measure the success of your course i.e. whether students get what they want out of the course.

Let’s say you want your employees to take phishing training. The course can look like this:

course design templates
 

Based on this method, here are some learning objective examples for this course:

  • After the course, employees will be able to explain the characteristics of a phishing email.
  • After the course, employees who have fallen for a scam will successfully take the four actions required to deal with that situation.

Want to learn how you can write actionable learning outcomes for your courses? Check out our post (learning objective examples included).

Course curriculum

Include a detailed outline of what goes into each course session. You can also list the date and time of each lesson in this outline and if you do, there’s no need to include a separate, detailed section on course schedule.

Here’s an example of how it could look like in a course design template:

course content outline

Or if you host your courses online, you can still create a rough outline and add it to the course curriculum, like how it looks in our Becoming an Infographic Design Pro course:

becoming an infographic design pro course curriculum

Want to learn all about infographic design but not interested in video content? Check out The Infographic Book.

the infographic book by venngage

Teaching and learning strategies

Unless it’s too obvious (an online training with just video content, for example), you should also include your teaching strategies.

Will it be just lecture, or a combination of lecture, quizzes and group assignment?

course design template

Customize this template if you’re thinking of creating a group assignment handout.


Will there be in-class discussions? Will your students or trainees need to present to an audience or will they need to sit an exam to complete the course?

Course evaluation guidelines

Having clear learning assessment guidelines will help set students’ expectation and help them plan their own study process to finish the course. Make sure you include all assessment tools you plan to use for the course, as well as how each of them makes up to the final grade.

Here’s an example of a simple Assessment/Evaluation section (2nd page) on a course design template:

course design template


Of course, for courses that involve more tests or learning activities, you should provide the details your students need to plan their study.

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How can you create an effective course?

There are several tips for creating an effective course that can have off-the-charts student engagement and feedback. Here’s the basic breakdown of them:

Choose the right course topic

Create a course about something you’re knowledgeable and passionate about. Your expertise provides credibility to the course, and your passion will affect the way you deliver it.

Make sure your course aims to solve a pain point

Whether you’re creating courses for school or for work, make sure they are effective by digging deep into the problems your target audience (students) is facing. 

Always look for what makes your course unique and valuable to your students as well. As long as you have something to offer that others don’t, you’re already one step ahead of your competitors.

Always create actionable learning objectives

Learning objectives guide both the educator and the learner in their teaching and learning process.

They answer the million-dollar question: “What’s in it for me?” for every course or training program and they help your students have a clear idea of what they can achieve after completing the course. They also help you know what to do to help your students achieve those objectives.

Report on learnings and feedback

Always ask for your students’ feedback on what’s working, what’s not working and how you can improve your course to improve the next course you’re planning to create. You can ask for feedback on the course content, your delivery methods, whether the pacing is good enough for your students, and more.

You should also come up with a plan to implement these learnings and think of how the changes will affect your course. Gather data before and after the changes to see if what you’re implementing is working or not, and repeat the process.

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Course design templates and examples

Online Learning Template: Simple Lesson Plan

course design template


This is a variation of the lesson plan example in the previous section. It’s a simple template that contains the most basic part of a course outline, but you can always make it your own by adding more sections as needed.

Blank Course Design Template/Lesson Plan

course design template


Have your course information all ready and just want to transfer them into a prettier template? This blank lesson plan template is perfect for you. Swap out the icons or change the template colors as you like.

Basic Elementary Course Template: Science Lesson Plan

course design template


This is a simple lesson plan for elementary students. The Reflection part is meant to help students think of their project outcome, but you can always duplicate it and add a Reflection part for yourself to learn how your lesson goes and how you can improve it. 

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In summary: Use these course design templates to guarantee students’ and trainees’ success

We hope these templates and our course design guidelines inspired you to create your lesson plans and course templates effectively.

Want to add some fun to your course templates but have no design experience? No worries. Use Venngage’s professional, fully customizable templates and our easy-to-use editor to create your plan, or even your own template.

About Letícia Fonseca

Letícia is a Content Marketing Specialist, and she is responsible for the International strategy at Venngage.

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