Brain Dump Your Online Course

May 5, 2022

Does this sound familiar?

You want to write a course, you have many ideas in your head, but you don’t know how to get them all out. You search the web for tips on how to begin organizing your thoughts, and you see every course writing expert talk about something called “brain dumping”.

Brain dumping is a word to describe the process of writing down every piece of knowledge you have stored deep in your memory about a topic. All course writers rely on the brain dump because it’s the most effective way to declutter thoughts and bring focus to a very daunting task.

So, how do you brain dump?
Begin when you feel energetic and inspired. Allocate 30 minutes to 1 hour to complete your first brain dump. Whenever you have an idea, add it to a master list. Avoid censoring thoughts or editing along the way (save that part for later).

Think about these 5 questions:

  • What should my audience be able to do after taking my course?
  • What should my audience be able to create and produce as a result of my course?
  • What new skills does my audience need to learn to create and produce these results?
  • What tasks do I want them to do during my course?
  • What kind of success or goal will my students reach once they finish my course?

Techniques and tools

Most people use the sticky note method (see image). I prefer using a mind map, a whiteboard or a simple google document. Some people record voice memos to themselves as they drive or go for walks.

Pitfalls to avoid

Feeling Overwhelmed – I completely understand the overwhelming feeling because I’ve been there many times. Life is busy, you have other tasks to do and many of us are distracted and short on time – sometimes our brains and our energy are just not up for it. Take a break, go for a walk and come back to it later. Do NOT let the overwhelm stop you from writing your course.

Postponing or delaying– Unfortunately, many people get stuck at the brain-dumping step and become so discouraged, that they keep putting it off and putting it off. Don’t let that happen to you. Information is always evolving and the world continues to move ahead. Waiting for 6 months or a year, will not make this process easier. In fact, it will only put you behind the information curve and you’ll likely end up regretting not starting sooner. So, start now and build as you go.

Feeling underqualified – When you google your topic, you will come across different people who also teach or coach about your topic and you may not have the same expertise as them. That’s totally okay! You don’t have to be the expert on everything. If you can talk about an idea for at least 2 minutes, then you can include it in your course.

Well begun is half done. Simply getting started on something is half the battle. Once you begin brain dumping, you will get in the flow, build momentum and see how much expertise you have to share.

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