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10 Examples of Online Course Design To Inspire You

Are you someone that people turn to for advice, or for home cooking recipes, or even to troubleshoot an Excel sheet error?

If you’ve ever considered creating an online course to share your unique expertise with the world —now’s the time! Take some inspiration from these 10 course creators who have used OpenLearning’s course authoring tools to teach online and make an impact for thousands of learners worldwide. 

No matter which online course platform you choose, it might be useful to audit some, or all of these courses, and incorporate your favourite elements into your own learning community.

1. Bahasa Isyarat Malaysia (Malaysian Sign Language)

This course on Malaysian Sign Language by instructors at the Malaysian Federation of the Deaf makes a positive social impact by teaching learners how to communicate effectively and to be more inclusive towards the Deaf community. 


Why it’s great: Online alternative to face-to-face classes

This online learning community provides an alternative for those who are unable to physically attend classes. The course is based on their existing 7-week programme that teaches 250 basic signs in Malaysian Sign Language as well as essential knowledge of Deaf culture.

So far, they have attracted over 260 learners and the course is priced at RM100. They have continued to build more courses on OpenLearning, including a course on Islamic Knowledge in Malaysian Sign Language.

Sign Language Landing PageSign Language Activity

The ‘Bahasa Isyarat Malaysia’ (Malaysian Sign Language) course landing page (left) and an activity gallery showcasing video responses from learners in the course (right).

2. What Does Facebook Know About You?

What Does Facebook Know About You? is a free taster course offered by Dr Simon Knight and Dr Kirsty Kitto which forms part of a suite of taster versions of full-time courses at the University of Technology Sydney. 

Why it’s great: Try-before-you-buy taster courses

This course provides step-by-step activities and free tools for learners to study data privacy in their own lives. It’s a great way to show potential students what to expect in terms of teaching quality, should they enrol full-time at the university. 

Facebook Landing PageFacebook Course Homepage

The ‘What Does Facebook Know About You’ course landing page (left) and an introductory video by the course facilitators (right).

3. Build Your Own Viral Lens! AR with Snapchat’s Lens Studio

Build Your Own Viral Lens! AR with Snapchat’s Lens Studio is a free course by Snapchat which provides step-by-step video tutorials and activities for learners to create their own augmented reality filters in Lens Studio. 

Why it’s great: Scaffolded learning with hands-on projects

The course is scaffolded in a way that lets learners practice using templates, then take on the final challenge to create and publish their own Snapchat Lens within the course. Scaffolding is said to prevent information overload and encourage independence within the learner.

Snapchat Landing PageSnapchat Lens Activity

The ‘Build Your Own Viral Lens! AR with Snapchat’s Lens Studio’ course landing page (left) and an activity gallery showcasing the ‘Snapcodes’ generated by each learner (right).


4. Mastering Your Personal and Professional Growth

Mastering Your Personal and Professional Growth is a short course by Charles Sturt University. Through a series of reflection activities and worksheets, learners gain skills in time management, mentorship, and problem solving as a way of coping with stress and maintaining work-life balance.

Why it’s great: Student-led learning experience

To encourage learning through discussion and reflection, this course asks open-ended questions based on a selection of videos and articles. Curating Open Educational Resources (OERs) in this way is one of our top tips for online course creators.

Mastering Growth Landing PageMastering Growth Activity

The ‘Mastering Your Personal and Professional Growth’ course landing page (left) and a warm-up activity that uses a TED-Ed video as a stimulus (right).


5. Interpersonal and Human Relations

This Interpersonal and Human Relations course is part of a series of soft skill courses in Bahasa Malaysia by Norizan Sharif for his personalised OpenLearning portal, Skorlah Online.

Why it’s great: Word-of-mouth marketing via personal channels and professional networks

This course attracted over 2,000 enrolments in its first month on OpenLearning. Beyond email marketing and search engine optimisation, the course was widely shared through learners’ personal channels and professional networks, with some learners posting their completion certificates on social media and encouraging others to enrol.

Skorlah PortalSkorlah Course

The ‘Interpersonal and Human Relations’ course landing page (left) and course homepage (right).

6. Mindful Emotion Coaching

In this course, Dr Sarah Temple provides free training resources around Mindful Emotion Coaching using techniques such as Dan Siegel’s Hand Model and John Gottman’s Five Steps of Emotion Coaching. 

Why it’s great: Building a learning community with consistent facilitation

The facilitators of this course consistently respond to learner comments and post regular course announcements which keep learners in the loop, even after they have completed the course. This is a great way to build a learning community, and it’s exactly what OpenLearning is all about. Learners can access all learning communities that they’re part of via their OpenLearning profile. 

Mindful Emotion Landing PageMindful Emotion Announcements Page

The ‘Mindful Emotion Coaching’ course landing page (left) and the course announcements page which is regularly updated by facilitators (right).

7. CPR, AED, & First Aid

This CPR, AED, & First Aid course by National Health Care Providers Solutions provides free, comprehensive resources for learning how to respond in an emergency situation.

Why it’s great: Free to learn, certification available

This course doesn’t offer a certificate of completion, but it acts as a free content library for learners to access in their own time. When they are ready, learners can also sign up on the course provider’s website to get certified for specific skills.

CPR Landing PageCPR Modules

The ‘CPR, AED, & First Aid’ course landing page (left) and list of course modules (right).

8. Introductory Japanese Language (Level 1)

This Introductory Japanese Language course is one of the Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) created by Universiti Teknologi MARA. It teaches the basics of the Japanese language, ranging from Hiragana writing practice to vocabulary and grammar.

Why it’s great: Contains activities in a variety of learning styles

This course uses several OpenLearning widgets to keep the activities interesting for learners. For example, one activity asks learners to share a video recording of themselves practising their writing and reading out loud what they have written.

Japanese Landing PageJapanese Video Activity

The ‘Introductory Japanese Language (Level 1)’ course landing page (left) and a writing activity gallery showcasing video responses from each learner (right).

9. A Beginner’s Guide to Coffee

In A Beginner’s Guide to Coffee by Sunway University, learners discover what goes into a good cup of coffee, from the history of the coffee bean to roasting techniques used around the world.

Why it’s great: Outcome-based learning

This course features a final activity which brings everything together for the “ultimate challenge”: to review your favourite coffee shop on a social media platform of your choice. As one of the first courses to be listed on the OpenLearning Marketplace, it continues to be an example that we reach for to explain outcome-based learning and incorporating real-world experiences into an online course.

Coffee Landing PageCoffee Homepage

The ‘A Beginner’s Guide to Coffee’ course landing page (left) and final activity page (right).

10. Developing Data-driven Marketing Campaigns

This Developing Data-driven Marketing Campaigns course by DeakinCo. is an OpenCreds course worth 2.5 hours of professional learning, which is recorded in the learner’s OpenLearning Portfolio.

Why it’s great: Micro-credentials that demonstrate specific skills

As an OpenCreds course, this course is the newest one on the list. It is also slightly different from other online courses as it is recognised by an accreditation body, but it’s still a good one to highlight. 

This course is the result of a collaboration between experts in the field of digital marketing and learning design, and it is accredited by DeakinCo. We want to highlight that course collaborations like these are a possibility—and if you are interested, you can learn more about OpenCreds here.

Deakin Landing PageDeakin Homepage

The ‘Developing Data-driven Marketing Campaigns’ course landing page (left) and course homepage (right).

11. Social and Emotional Learning on

We promised you 10 example courses, but we’re mentioning this one as a bonus because it’s too good to be left out! The Social and Emotional Learning course by is part of a suite of OpenCreds courses for teachers’ continuous professional development.

Why it’s great: Professional development with an online community of practice

This OpenCreds course, along with the growing suite of courses on the portal, are developed by current and former educators. With a monthly subscription, teachers can join as many courses as they need, and interact with other teachers in meaningful ways towards fulfilling their professional development goals. Landing Activity Page

The ‘Social and Emotional Learning’ course landing page (left) and a sharing activity within the course (right).



What do all of these courses have in common? There are two answers:

The main answer, which is baked into the DNA of the OpenLearning platform, is that all of these courses are home to a learning community. They provide a safe space for everyone in the course to collaborate, co-create experiences, express themselves, and be social as they learn with one another.

The other answer is that these courses are built upon clear learning outcomes, which are the “goals” of the course. We’ve already written about learning outcomes here (what they are, how to write one, and how to use them on OpenLearning)—but the important thing is that they are a promise to learners that by taking your course, they are going to be able to achieve these goals.

So, are you ready to start sharing your knowledge and skills online? Now that you have an idea of the strategies and styles that you may want to incorporate in your online course, we can start to look at the other aspects like making sure the learning outcomes are aligned, building your course, facilitation, and marketing. Click here to read the next post on how to outline your online course with our planning template.


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Topics: Course Design Tips

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