When you’re building a course, do you know what it is your audience wants to learn, or know how to do, at the end? The more clear you are about learning outcomes (objectives for your course), the easier it will be to build a course, and the more streamlined the learning will be for the learner.
One of the easiest ways to create an effective online course is to constantly keep your goals and learning objectives in mind. Your goals are the big outcomes that students walk away with while your objectives are the measurable outcomes and behaviors your students can demonstrate after learning.
But don’t confuse objectives with the tasks that learners need to do to get to the end goal. (Whew! A lot to know, isn’t it? Watch this video about the difference between a task and an objective.)
Know who’s learning
Before you start teaching anything, you need to know who your audience is and where they’re starting from. What do they already know about the topic? How do they learn best? What do they want to get out of the course or program?
Some of these questions you’ve already answered when you validated your idea, before you started building your course. But these are also questions you should address when someone enrolls. Each learner will bring their own unique challenges, knowledge and goals to the table and you’ll want to know what those are–especially if the course is something you’re teaching live. Then you can customize some of the instruction to those enrolled, bringing them even more value.
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Know how motivated they are to learn
In a business setting, learners are pretty motivated. After all, they’re spending valuable time and money to take a course. And they know that the knowledge or skills they gain will be able to help them move their business further (or help their audience).
Most likely your audience is going to be motivated to learn from you. And they probably already know your learning style. But keep your eye out for frustrated students and give them the tools they need to redirect and be more successful.
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Know what they will be able to do or know
This is where you start building your objectives, or learning outcomes. You’re taking the skills and knowledge that the learner already has, adding in some additional learning and have the students perform a task so they can do something at the end, eventually leading them to the end goal of the course or program. Let’s look at a couple of examples:
You’re an editor and you’re teaching a group of students how to develop a book from beginning to end. Your learners are already experts in what they do and they’ve probably already written some articles or blog posts about the topic (skills and knowledge). You teach them how to outline their book (task) so they can have an effective starting point for their book (objective). Eventually, they’ll have a finished book that you’ll edit for them (goal).
You’re a business coach, working with students on developing a positive mindset around money. Your learners already have some knowledge about money and how the lack of it can hinder their business or how budgeting properly can help them invest where they need to (skills and knowledge). You have them create a list of feelings they have surrounding money (task) so they can gain more clarity about their feelings (objective). Eventually, they’ll be able to put that new knowledge to use to develop a positive mindset around money (goal).
In a course or program, everything ties together. You start where your audience is, teach them something, have them do something to reach an objective and all of this will eventually lead them to their goal.
In the above examples, the one task and objective won’t get learners to the end goal. It’s a combination of these, in the right order, at the right time, that will help you guide your learners to the goal. Think about how you learn and how one objective builds upon the previous one to help you get to where you want to be, and build that out effectively for your learners.
Questions about how to do this? Let me know!