Which Topic to Build Your Online Course About?

If you’ve decided to build an online course, it can be hard to know where to start. Which topic should you choose? Asking yourself three main questions will help you figure out where to start and what course to build first (yes, many of us have too many ideas!)

#1. Consider Your Learner’s Biggest Challenge

The very first thing to do is think about the biggest challenge that your learners face. If you can build an online course that addresses their biggest challenge, you will be on your way to success. After all, learners will want to take your course to overcome that challenge. 

While you want to focus on the biggest challenge learners face, it’s smart to make a list of other challenges as well. This will help you in the next steps when you start creating learner objectives for your online course

#2. Consider What Content You Have

Next, think about the content and expertise you have. You shouldn’t create a course about a topic that you and your team aren’t knowledgeable about. This simply won’t go well, and you won’t be able to provide content to your learners. Instead, make sure to choose a topic that you can answer. Ideally, you will already be viewed as a subject matter expert for the topic in question. 

This is where your list of secondary challenges comes into play. Be realistic with yourself and see if you have the knowledge and content to create a course about the number one challenge. If you don’t, move on to the second challenge and ask the same question. If necessary, move to the third. The idea is to find the biggest challenge for your audience that you can effectively answer. 

#3. Keep It Broad 

While you want to focus on a specific challenge your learners face, you also don’t want to make the topic too niche. Remember that your first course will serve as most people’s introduction to your offerings. If you make it too specific, you will miss out on an entire segment of your audience. Then, you would have to start from scratch when marketing to them in the future for additional lessons. 

Instead, take a broader topic within your niche. Later, you can add more specific courses that target specific segments of your audience. 

Here’s an Example From Our Experience

Our strategy follows this advice. We know that one of the biggest challenges for people with external courses is marketing them. But we didn’t want our first course to focus on selling courses as this would only be relevant to our clients who have external courses they sell. It would not be relevant to those with internal courses, such as for employee training. With that in mind, we decided to make our initial course broader. And we are creating additional courses that are more focused, including lessons on selling your course. 


There are three things to keep in mind when you decide to build an online course. In your first course, you should address your audience’s biggest challenge. It should be something you have enough content or knowledge to teach, and be broad enough to be relevant to your entire audience. 

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