April 8, 2019

What do the best online courses you've taken have in common?

Louis Nicholls @louisswiss


I'm putting together an online course teaching founders how to do sales.

I'm very confident that the content is good, but this is my first time putting together a course, and I know that a successful course depends on a lot more than just awesome content.

If you've taken a course in the past and found it valuable, I'd like to hear your thoughts on...

  • Why did you finish that course (as opposed to others where you maybe gave up part way through)
  • What was the most useful/impactful part of a course for you apart from the content? (for example, was there a community, worksheets, one-on-one calls, feedback, discounts etc?)
  • Why was that feature so valuable?



  1. 4

    The online course I liked best (React tutorial) was a "learn by do" curriculum, but still included other material that spoke to different learning styles such as quizzes, bonus reading material and "extra credit". Plus, dude just had a way of breaking down complex topics into manageable, easily consumed nuggets.

    1. 1

      Awesome, thanks!

      How do you mean "learn by do"?

      1. 2

        And sometimes just the opposite! You give the exercise, let the student flail around a bit, then explain the how and the why. After a bit of struggle in the doing, the learning hits home hard and sticks.

      2. 4

        This comment was deleted 2 years ago.

  2. 3

    For me, the best ones not only give feedback or advice but also structured in a way so these kinds of inputs can be transformed into a skill (i.e. not only cognitive but also behavioral learning). Usually it means being spaced in time and involving different kinds of exercises that create context similar to the one where I would need to practice this skill afterward (e.g. different kind of simulations).

  3. 3

    The course I loved the most closed the loop quickly. It was a quick programming course.
    It didn't take a terribly long time to get something, even a little something, working. That momentum, that tiny win... kept me coming back for more.

  4. 2

    wes bos all the way.

    1. course density is ridiculous. most courses are 80% waffle and bs. A 10 minute wes video takes 30 minutes to properly unpack.
    2. pacing is superb.
    3. realness. mistakes aren't edited out. very natural. talks like your friend.
    4. fun. 24 hour long udemy courses drag so so much. wes keeps it fresh.
    5. slack help group is decent.
    6. every course feels like an album.

    genuinely the guy has it down to an artform. take one of his courses just to learn how he does it.

    He normally works on a course for 6+ months ish before putting out. But a lot of that is research. That's certainly why the quality is so high.

  5. 2

    I like quick, to the point, consumable courses that don’t ramble on without actionable info.

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