Planning Your Class

Drafting Your Class Outline

Filming a Skillshare class is quick and easy when you prepare ahead of time by drafting a class outline. Outlining your class is one of the best ways to ensure your video lessons are well-organized and engaging.  

Use our outline template to map out your video lessons. The most popular classes on Skillshare include 20-60 minutes of total video content, broken down into a series of short 2-5 minute videos. 

While constructing your outline, you'll need to think about the video format you’ll use for each lesson. Here are some video formats to consider (many teachers use a combination):

Next, sketch out your main talking points for each video lesson. Some teachers prefer to write out a full script for each video, while others are comfortable with detailed bullet points. Whichever method you choose, follow these best practices to ensure your video lessons are organized and engaging: 

  • Include clear introduction and conclusion videos. In the first video of your class, set the right expectations with a quick 10-20 second overview of what your class will cover. Establish credibility by giving students a taste of your style and what they will learn to do or create in the class. Share visual examples of your work or stories from your experience. The last video of your class should clearly conclude your lesson and wrap things up.

  • Keep it simple and direct. Stick to one major concept per lesson so that students aren’t overwhelmed with too much information, and reinforce key points by repeating them throughout your lessons. Each individual video in your class should focus on one specific step, concept, example, etc.

  • Vary your visuals. Find a balance with your visual style. For example, if you’re using a talking-head format in your video, cut to an image every so often to demonstrate your points. Especially with your first video, which serves as the introduction to your class, aim to refresh what students are seeing at least every 20-30 seconds. As you outline your class, think about where you’ll cut away to example images or slides to illustrate your points. Looking for a great tool for creating visuals in your class? Canva is easy to use, and you can even check out this Skillshare class on how to use Canva! 

  • Share your unique knowledge. Let your personal expertise shine by providing tips, best practices, frameworks, concepts, theory, and/or examples (rather than simply "touring" students through a tool or website).

  • Fill the gaps. The goal of your video lessons is to give students all the skills they need to successfully complete the class project. As you go through your project demonstration, be sure to cover all the necessary steps in the process so that students are fully equipped to get started. Set students up for success by offering multiple ways to access the content. Consider including on-screen text, images, physical demonstrations of materials, and supplemental resources in the “Class Project” section.

  • Be relatable. Students prefer teachers who appear natural and conversational. Reference examples and anecdotes wherever possible to avoid dry content and keep students engaged. For example, tell students how you got into your field or about a favorite project you’ve done. Don’t be afraid to show your personality! Head here for more tips on teacher presentation.

  • Explain the why. Anticipate students misconceptions by asking yourself, “what is the most challenging part?” and narrate your creative decisions along the way. Tell students why you make particular choices with your project or use certain techniques so that they can get to know your process and style.

Once you’ve drafted your outline, feel free to email it to our Teacher Support team at [email protected], or share it with our teacher community in the Skillshare Teacher Center to get helpful feedback before you launch into filming.