Course Creation Tools


Finding Your Perfect Course Topic: Passion, Expertise, and Student Needs

course topic passion student needs Jul 08, 2024
Finding Your Perfect Course Topic: Passion, Expertise, and Student Needs

Hello, and welcome to the Scaling Therapy Practice podcast. I’m James Marland, and I’m thrilled you’re here. We are all about empowering mission-driven helpers and leaders to launch life-changing online courses. Today, we’re diving into a key question: What content should you include in your course? And more importantly, will people buy it?

Uncover Your Passion and Purpose for Your Online Course Business

Finding your passion and purpose is the first step to creating a successful online course. When you teach something you’re passionate about, you radiate authenticity, which attracts others. Here’s a simple exercise to help you identify what content to include in your course: draw three circles like a Venn diagram. 

  • Circle One: Expertise – What are you good at?
  • Circle Two: Passion – What do you love doing?
  • Circle Three: Student Needs – What do your students need? 


Where these circles overlap is your perfect course topic.

Mapping Your Expertise

Start with your expertise. What are you skilled at? I, for example, am good at PowerPoint presentations. I love the design, animations, and the way I can create engaging slides. Another area of expertise for me is Canva. I enjoy its automation, AI features, and pro version capabilities. Your expertise might be in therapy, accounting, or helping parents. Draw lines from your expertise circle and brainstorm ideas.

Reflect on times when you were so absorbed in an activity that you lost track of time. What were you doing? Who were you with? This flow state is a clue to your expertise. What topics can you discuss for hours without preparation? These are likely areas of deep knowledge and passion.

Identifying Your Passions

Next, think about your passions. What activities bring you joy? For instance, I’m passionate about movies, particularly Godzilla movies and science fiction. Although few people get paid to talk about these subjects, they reveal what excites me. On the other hand, I’m also passionate about leadership, team building, and course creation. 

Ask yourself what brings you joy. Is it starting a project? Finishing it? Helping others? Write down four or five things you’re passionate about and map them out. This will help you connect your passions with your expertise.

Understanding Student Needs

Finally, consider your students' needs. What problems are they facing? In my case, many people need help with course creation. They struggle with video production, email marketing, choosing the right platforms, and finding students. 

Draw lines from the student needs circle and list their problems. For example, under tech needs, I listed lighting, audio, video, recording programs, and email services. Understanding these needs will help you create a course that addresses real problems and offers valuable solutions.

The Magic Overlap is Your Course Topic

The real magic happens where your expertise, passion, and student needs intersect. This sweet spot is where you’ll find a course topic that you’re passionate about, knowledgeable in, and that meets your students’ needs. This is where you can start creating valuable content and conducting further research to refine your course idea.

Remember, it’s important to choose a topic that you’re both passionate about and have expertise in. If you chase trends without genuine interest or knowledge, your course will lack authenticity and you’ll struggle to connect with your audience.

Moving Forward

We live in an amazing time where tools like artificial intelligence can help refine your course topic. If you’re stuck, input your lists of passions and expertise into an AI tool and ask for overlapping topics. This can provide fresh insights and help you find that perfect course idea.

In the show notes, I’ve included an example of a Venn diagram to help you start your own. You can find it at in the progress notes blog. Just draw the three circles: passion, expertise, and student needs, and see where they intersect.


Thanks for tuning in! I love helping people advance in their journey. While I might not reach your audience directly, I can help you make a bigger impact. If you found this episode helpful, please share it and give it a like. It helps me reach more people and support more mission-driven leaders like you.

This is James Marland for Course Creation Studio. Go put your mission in motion.

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