Are you ready? Ready to transform your whirlwind of ideas?

Let’s do it.

Let’s structure them, make them digital.

The process I am going to present to you has been tested multiple times.

As someone who has created dozens of online courses, this technique is the best and most proven.

Are you excited?

Shall we proceed?

Mindmap the course

Why mindmaps?

Ever felt like your thoughts are racing faster than you can type?

That’s where mind maps come in.

They allow for a fluid, frictionless transfer of ideas, making reordering and restructuring a breeze.

No more getting stuck with rigid outlines or cumbersome text documents.

Take this course, for example.

The entire structure, from the broad modules down to the specific lessons, was initially laid out in a mind map.

This approach provided a clear, visual representation of the course’s framework, making it easy to navigate and refine the content.

Unlike traditional note-taking or slide-making, mind maps align with the speed of your thoughts.

They enable you to capture your ideas quickly and intuitively, ensuring that none of those brilliant insights slip through the cracks.

How mind mapping works for course content?

Mind mapping caters to both abstract and concrete thinkers.

If you’re an abstract thinker, you can start with a big-picture view and drill down to specifics.

For concrete thinkers, just pour out all your ideas, no matter how random, and organize them later.

Depending on your preference and operating system, tools like MindNode for Mac, XMind, MindMeister, or Miro for web-based mapping offer great functionality.

These applications make the process of organizing and visualizing your course content straightforward and enjoyable.

Understanding the hierarchy of nodes in a mind map is key.

Mindmap explained2x 1

The top level typically represents your modules, the second level could be your lesson titles, and the third level might include specific headings or key points.

The goal is to lay out your course with scan-ability in mind, making it easy for you and your students to follow.

Where do you find content ideas?

Sometimes, you will be stuck and need that initial inspiration to get started putting all your ideas on a mind map.

This is especially true if you have done a poor job of analyzing the market and doing analysis of the type of content that other course providers are covering.

Look no further than Udemy curriculums, the table of contents in relevant books, or comprehensive articles.

These resources can spark ideas and help you flesh out your course content.

Now, let’s take a sneak peek at the mind map created for this very course.


It showcases a clear hierarchy from modules to lessons and subtopics.

This visual organization is not just a planning tool; it’s a reflection of the course’s educational journey, helping you ensure no stone is left unturned in your content creation.f

Creating course structure in Notion

Once the mind mapping has been finished, I use an app called Notion to paste my mindmap.

Here’s how to copy-paste your mindmap into Notion:

  1. Select and Copy: In your mind mapping tool, select the entire structure or the specific parts you want to transfer. Copy these elements.
  2. Paste into Notion: Open a new page in Notion and paste your copied mind map content. Notion will retain the basic structure, turning each node of your mind map into a line item indented one below the other.

Notion allows me to further finalize the course curriculum and create an organized and actionable course layout.

Turning mindmap items into Notion pages

To do this, hover over an item, click on the ‘Turn into’ option (the six dots on the left), and select ‘Page.’ This is particularly useful for turning lesson titles into individual pages.

CleanShot 2024 01 04 at 18.02.15

As you convert items into pages, you’ll start to see the hierarchy of your course taking shape.

As the next step, you should create a database in Notion to organize all the lessons.

Then, drag and drop the lesson pages you created in the previous step into the database as individual database items.

You can now assign each lesson to its corresponding module.

This helps in creating a clear and logical flow for the course content.

Now, since all of your course content is stored in a database for easier tracking and to give your course curriculum a structured format, you can add various columns:

  1. Status columns: Add columns to track the status of each lesson (e.g., ‘Planned,’ ‘Recorded,’ ‘Edited’). This helps in managing the course creation process efficiently.
  2. Module names and tags: Assign module names and tags for easy categorization and retrieval. This also aids in navigating through the course content seamlessly.
  3. Include links to resources: Include links to relevant resources, slides, or external content directly within each lesson or module page.

By following these steps, you transform your dynamic mind map into a structured course.

This not only provides you with a clear roadmap for your course creation but also offers an engaging and organized learning experience for your students.

Wrap up

And that’s it.

This is by far the most productive workflow I have found.

It allows you to translate your ideas onto the screen with minimal friction, allowing you to easily convert them into a complete curriculum on the fly.