The EPower Institute

Helping People Learn, Grow, Change.

Build Winning Courses

WARNING: Only for people who want to their audience to actually learn something! 

From the initial analysis through writing test questions and evaluating the course, Build Winning Courses walks you through how to apply the proven science of instructional design to delight your customers, get more sales, and help your learners become raving fans

Learn the right questions to ask, and how to use the answers. Connect audience analysis to objectives, content and more, you'll learn the Seven Proven Steps and apply each one to an existing or new course you create as part of this program!  Videos, handouts, and a couple of hours of consulting time to help you with the nuts and bolts from three-plus decades of experience. 

Get more practical skills! Create better learning when you master Build Winning Courses! Enroll now.   

You'll learn how to:

1. Verify needs (don't build it if they don't want--or need--it!)

2. Define your Avatar (who's my learner?)

3. Create measurable objectives (after all, you're closing a known gap!).

4. Construct your content.

5. Chunk for learning (no more boring long sections).

6. Add activities (forget boring!).

7. Assess for mastery (keeps your promise to help them learn and shows them they did).

0 of 38 lessons completed in this course.

Lessons in this Course

Step 1

Define & Verify Need

What's the reason for the course? Is training the solution?  And what do you think they need to learn--and why? These questions are central to the initial analysis. They help you identify whether or not (and if now's the time) to develop your course.

Free Lesson

Well, some of us love instructional design because we're a little odd. Many of us just like to help people learn, and know that this method guarantees success when properly done. Whoa!  How would your customers feel about that?!  Selling courses is a lot easier when you can guarantee the results.

My Market

Who's your audience and what's your market?  If you're going to sell courses, don't waste your bait (it's a fishing analogy).  This lesson helps you identify the people who are most likely to buy your course and prepares you to research what they'll pay for.

Polling Potential Customers

You have an idea of who might buy--now you figure out what they need. Polling potential customers is important--it's easy to design what you want instead of what they want and need!  Creating online polls for segmented audiences is a great way to define what they want to learn (and will pay for).

SEO Search

SEO search alogrithms change often--and you still need to know a little about them. We'll give you the very very basics.

Client History

A lot of your clients may be.. former or current clients. Every organization that transfers knowledge or skill is a learning organization that needs good instructional design.  Learn how to mine your client list!


Yes, this is the catchall lesson!  There are other things relevant to analyzing your audience and their needs that you'll want to consider. We catch those here...

Step 2

The Because

Did you know that people are much more likely to respond when you give them the Because?  And that's what we do here" talk about the becauses of instructional design.

Your Learner

What you've learned about your learner should influence how you design your course. Are they outdoorsy?  What are they interested in?  What might they never want to see? Yes, knowing about your learner helps you target their interests.

Skills, Knowledge, Deficits

Kowing what deficits in skill and knowledge exist for your learners--which requires research, like polling performers and others, is important. Your goal is to identify and close performance gaps.  Performance gaps also require changes in knowledge. What do you need to know?  It's here.

Attitudes They Need To Have

Knowledge and skill close the ability gaps--and attitude is important in closing the "willingness" gap. Learn how to leverage attitude in this lesson!

Tools For Performance
Drivers and Bridges

For every training project you understake, there are barriers and bridges--things that drive the course, and things that slow it down. In this lesson, explore the drivers and bridges that can help your course be more successful.

Distractions / Fears

Just as there are drivers and bridges that support the success of a well designed course, there are distractions and fears--barriers of a sort. This lesson reviews distractions and fears as barriers to success and helps you think about how to overcome them.

Step 3

Create Effective Objectives

Creating effective objectives is an art and a science.  Each part of the objective has a purpose and drives how you measure learning, how deep the content needs to be, and the success you need.

Free Lesson
The Becuase
Three Part Objectives

I hinted at these earlier--they tell you much more than what the learner will be able to do as a result of your class.. Like what?  Dive into this lesson to learn!

Incorporating What You Know About Need and Audience

Making Objectives match the analyzed need is important.  If your audience only needs to be able to identify something, understanding is not (and never is) the correct verb. Pairing analysis to objectives increases alignment. Find out how!

Pick a Verb

Verbs drive the learning objectives--and selecting the correct one is important!  You'll learn a little about which verb to use when and why, and how the most complex one required by learners (and not the least) should drive your objectives.

Recognizing the Power of the Verb

I've said it before, I'll say it again: the proper verb is the "secret sauce." The verb tells you so much!  How deep, how far, and how much content.. how to test.. what to measure.  Get in on the action now in this lesson!

Activities and Objectives

And yes, there's more!  The verb you choose actually tells you what activities to use as you teach to fulfill the objectives. This lesson explores that and helps you match activities to verbs and the learner's need.

Assessment and Objectives

Is it or is it not...? The verb you use tells you how to assess the training for the objective.  No need to present a problem to solve if your learners need only identify something.  Assessment is driven by the verbs, and this lesson shows you how to use that knowledge.

Step 4

Create Content

Here's where you spend the bulk of your design time--in crafting the content after you've confirmed the objectives--this is a short lesson followed by long hours of research, matching content to objectives, and then crafting the content you need in your course. Get the coffee (or beverage of your choice) ready!

Step 5

Chunk for Learning

Yay!! Another short lesson--well, not really. Again the work is on you.  If you've crafted your content according to your objectives, you can go back in and break into short, topic-driven segments that allow your learners to master a piece of content in less than 20 minutes (the maximum time to go on about anything).  This lesson? A little more about how to do that chunking.  

Step 6

Add Activities

Learners have short attention spans.  And if they don't do something with the content you're helping them master, they don't learn much. Activities are a must, because "telling isn't training." This lesson?  More about activities and which ones to use when.

Project / Discovery

In some ways, this lesson might be presented earlier--or not.  The activities you chose to go with the objectives may lend as a group to two types of learning that can be more fun: project-based or discovery-based learning.  This lesson helps you know the difference and explores when to use which type.


Modeling is a great tool in social or soft-skills training, and it can be helpful in technical training. It's a style that has you demonstrate through your teaching how others should perform, and helps them master the same behaviors and features. 


Simulation is another type of activity--you might consider a role play a simulation, or using any method that allows to to imitate human-machine interaction. In simulation, there are some criteria to consider that we cover in this lesson!  It can be great fun (and expensive) to set up mock human-machine interfaces, and people often dislike role play, and htis lesson helps you learn how to use both.

Chat Room

Every videoconferencing platform that allows you to deliver content online includes a chatroom, and it's a great place to drive engagement. How to do that? Ideas abound here.


Polling is a tool you can use in instructor led or videoconferenced training. How to help people vote to give you information? There are lots of ways, and this lesson explores only some of them!

Guided Completion

You know the fill in the ______ workbooks?  That's a form of guided completion, which is the focus of this lesson. Learn what it is, when to use it, and how it works in this quick lesson!

Step 7

Assess for Mastery

Do you need to test to see if people learned anything? It's a great way to build credibility in your course design.. and it proves your training works. Learn about how to assess for mastery in this lesson!

Weigh Assessment Type Against Content

Here's where you go back to your verbs... and your learner needs. Is it a certification course? Assessment is in order, and the type should match the learning required. Is your content conceptual?  How will you measure that?  You'll know more than you can imagine about how these relate once you complete this lesson...

How Many Questions

How many questions?  When should you have more than one per objective?  How do you decide?  These are key questions this lesson helps you answer.


Competence, the gold standard of success, is something you test.  But does it always mean you need to score 100% on every question? Find out in this lesson!

Paper or Online?

Any time you're assessing learning, you need either a paper or online assessment tool. Whether you need "low-stakes" or "high-stakes" assessment, thinking it through is critical.  We'll help you in this lesson.


Using webinars can be tricky--how do you know people are paying attention?  And how do you check to see if they've learned anyting?  This lesson helps you think about these issues.

Software Usage Simulations

Creating software simulations is a special type of training development that relies on screen captures, dummy data bases, and proven tested instructions. Learn more about creating these tools in this step!

Elizabeth Power

Learning Geek
Elizabeth Power, M.Ed. is a successful 30 year veteran of the instructional design and adult learning world. She has developed over 347 courses in every arena from Self-help and Personal Development to How to Assemble the Dashboard of a car. She's considered an expert in designing training that relies on the most current research about how we learn, and applies that knowledge in courses for herself and others. Besides her extensive chops in training and adult learning, Elizabeth is a gardener who raises most of her own food. A proud Nashvillian, her roots are in Appalachia. Power has been on numerous TV and radio shows, and in print media for her work in trauma-informed care, helping people with dissociative disorders learn team development strategies, and generally agitating for change.