Course Creation Tools


Short, Sweet, and Successful: The Ideal Online Course Length

creating an online course lesson planning promise Jun 24, 2024
How long should my online course be?

How Long Should Your Online Course Be? 

Hello, and welcome to the Scaling Therapy Practice! I’m James Marland, your host. Today, I’m thrilled to talk about a crucial topic for anyone looking to create a successful online course: optimizing your course length for maximum impact.

You might wonder, “How long should my online course be?” This is a common question, especially for experts in their field. Whether you’ve studied your subject extensively or gained expertise through experience, breaking down your knowledge into a course can be challenging. Let’s dive into how you can make this process smoother and more effective.


The Promise of Your Course

First, let’s talk about why people take online courses. It’s not because they love the idea of sitting through hours of content. People enroll in courses because of the promise they offer. They’re looking for solutions to their problems or ways to achieve their goals. This promise could be anything from career advancement to acquiring a new skill.


For example, when I needed to improve my interviewing skills, I didn’t want to watch endless videos. I wanted a concise course that would help me land a better job quickly. Similarly, when I needed to improve the lighting and audio for my courses, I sought out specific information to solve that problem.

Focus on the Promise and Results Your Student Wants

When creating your online course, focus on the promise you’re making to your students. What problem are you helping them solve? Your course should be just long enough to deliver on this promise and no longer. Imagine you’re a movie director. Directors often cut scenes to keep the story moving and engaging. Likewise, you might need to trim content that doesn’t directly contribute to your course’s main goal.

Practical Tips for Course Creation

Here are some practical tips to keep your course concise and effective:

  1.  Outline the Core Content: Start by outlining the essential content needed to achieve the course’s goal. Avoid unnecessary details that don’t add value. 
  1.  Engage with Anecdotes and Examples: Use real-life examples and stories to illustrate your points. This not only makes your content more relatable but also helps in keeping it concise.   
  1.  Use Short Modules: Break your course into short, manageable modules. This helps maintain students’ attention and makes it easier for them to digest the information.
  1.  Incorporate Interactive Elements: Add checklists, quizzes, and worksheets to reinforce learning. Gamification, like points and rewards, can also keep students motivated.
  1.  Regular Check-ins: For more comprehensive courses, include regular check-ins, cohort meetings, and emails to keep students on track.

The Ideal Course Length

The perfect course length is one that is efficient and concise, balancing depth with time investment. Your goal is to deliver the promised results in the shortest time possible while maintaining the quality of content. Remember, students are looking for shortcuts and practical solutions, not an exhaustive lecture series. Your course should be just longe enough to deliver on the promise and no longer. That means you will need to cut things that are great but do not benefit the client. 

Get Feedback and Iterate

Finally, continuously seek feedback from your students. Ask them what worked, what didn’t, and where they needed more help. Use this feedback to refine your course. As a course creator, think of yourself as a scientist running experiments. Test different approaches and improve based on the results.


Creating an online course that effectively solves your students’ problems doesn’t require endless content. Focus on delivering value through concise, well-organized modules. Engage your students with stories and interactive elements, and keep refining your content based on feedback.

Thank you for tuning in to the Scaling Therapy Practice. If you found this content helpful, please like and review us on Apple Podcasts. Your support helps others find the show and benefit from our content. This is James Marland. I hope you put your mission in motion. 

Remember, your course should be just long enough to achieve the promise and no longer. Keep it engaging, concise, and focused on delivering results. Happy course creating!



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