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Online Course Creation

From Fortune 500 companies to Hollywood screenwriters, I've created more than 100 digital courses that educate, entertain, and transform.

Jim Hopkinson on the course production set in Montreal.
Jim Hopkinson on the course production set in Montreal.


5 Lessons Learned About Online Course Creation


When it comes to building interactive learning programs, I have a lot of experience.

In fact, when I talk about course creation, "online learning" is a bit of a misnomer for me since the first 90 courses I built as a product manager and course developer were launched before the internet could handle such awesomeness, and thus were delivered on CD-ROM (we were pioneers in the mpeg video space).

But no matter the delivery method, we built amazing training programs for really big names:

Fortune 500 Company Logos Jim Hopkinson

What I learned is that building amazing courses follows a tried-and-true process:

1. Begin with the End in Mind

All great courses begin by looking at the goal.

What is the desired transformation that you are looking to achieve for your students?

Photo of students at Bryant University
Focus on your students

2. A Great Course Starts with a Great Script

As the author of 4 books and 400 original articles, I've put in my "10,000 hours" when it comes to sketching out a course that is going to inspire and educate students.

A great course starts with a great script (and maybe some coffee)
A great course starts with a great script (and maybe some coffee)

3. Collaborate with Subject Matter Experts

From authors and speakers to entrepreneurs and business owners, I've had the chance to learn from the best of the best. Through active listening and thorough research, I've been able to bring an SME's topic to life on screen.

One of the most fun courses I had the chance to write, produce, and direct was with world-renowned Hollywood screenwriting coach Robert McKee. Talk about a resume! His students have accomplished the following:

  • 60 Oscar wins (200 nominations)

  • 200 Emmy wins (1,000 nominations)

  • 100 Writers Guild wins (250 nominations)

Jim Hopkinson with world-renowned screenwriting coach Robert McKee

4. Involve Key Stakeholders

Great projects don't exist in a vacuum.

Communication throughout a project with key stakeholders, from the film crew to business operations, is crucial. A great product manager is able to see the overall vision of a project, get buy-in from top to bottom, keep everyone involved, and execute on the smallest details.

Involving Key Stakeholders in Course Creation
Involving Key Stakeholders in Course Creation

5. Hire the Best and Have Fun

Let's face it. At times, creating amazing online courses can be a slog.

There are many hours spent under the hot lights of a studio, flubbing lines on the teleprompter, and enough time doing production and editing that you start seeing it in your dreams at night.

But there are two things that make it all worth it:

  1. Working with amazing and talented people

  2. Bringing fun and joy to your work

What's interesting, is these things often go hand-in-hand.

When people are really good at what they do, they find joy in it. And when you bring energy and fun to a project, people give you their best work. I've had the honor of working with some amazing videographers, editors, SMEs, and actors.

Jim's amazing team on the set of the Salary Tutor shoot.
Jim's amazing team on the set of the Salary Tutor shoot.

Bringing it all Together

There's nothing more fulfilling than working with a great team and seeing a project through from initial concept to final course release.

Here are three sample trailers from courses I have created:

Excerpt from Mirasee's Course Builder's Laboratory Course


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