How to optimise learning goals in your online course

6-minute read

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Em Seikkanen

Knowing your course’s purpose 

What do we know about learning goals? Well, when you’re creating an online course, it’s important to start with the bigger picture: your project goals. It’s a good idea to start with why. What is the purpose of your training? Why are you are creating the course? Ideally, you should be able to explain the reason you’re creating your course in one or two clear, concise sentences.  

Knowing where you’re going is the hardest part of the journey.

These should be included in the course’s introduction and overview. For example, if you were planning a course on conflict resolution for future primary schoolteachers, your program goal might be “to provide future teachers with a practical working toolkit for guiding their pupils to effectively deal with conflict in their daily lives.” 

This statement should give you a straightforward way to describe your program’s purpose. It is an anchor for all the materials and decisions made about your delivery and study methods. This means everything you put into your course comes back to this. As you progress with developing and iterating course materials, you should periodically return to it so you can ensure all material helps you achieve your project goal. Content or activity that doesn’t uphold this should be removed, adjusted, or adapted so it supports the program goal. 

Defining the learning goals of your program  

At a glance, project goals and learning goals may seem like the same thing… but they’re a bit different. It would be a mistake to conflate the two, because while both contribute to producing a successful learning program, they have slightly different scopes. Learning goals function and behave similarly to project goals but more specific. They are concrete learning objectives which every learner should master by the end of a course.  

Better learner engagement comes from being hands on. We’re ready to take yours so your learning successfully delivers!

Referring back to our example of conflict resolution for future primary schoolteachers, learning goals might include ways to discuss emotional responses with children. Maybe they cover restorative justice techniques modified so they help kids develop self-discipline and a sense of personal responsibility. Perhaps they include group therapy techniques adapted to the needs of a schoolteacher working with rowdy kids. Like project goals, learning goals should be brief, clear statements about what learners will know after the course. They will serve as guides for modules and other specific course content.  

Does content serve learning goals? 

How do individual materials and assignments contribute to communicating necessary knowledge and reaching learning objectives? Well, they’re a North Star you can refer back to during the development stage to ensure your material is relevant and driving your learners towards their learning objectives and by extension, the project goal. One way to begin developing learning goals is to work backwards from the project goal.  

Mapping your brainstorming efforts just makes most processes easier.

You could try a brainstorming session mapping your learning goals around a broader project goal. This way, it would be easier to include things to help achieve your project goal and clarify these into specific learning goals. Pretty soon, patterns will start emerging and you’ll be able to polish the concepts into clear statements. Using these objectives to create a foundation of compelling content is a hallmark of e-learning success. 

Building engaging content  

If you’re not passionate and knowledgeable about your topic, why would your students be? This is why it’s important to think about what value your course is offering your learners, rather than just the organizational goals.  

Maybe you’re not this excited about online learning, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be.

It’s important that the course presents information from instructors who are dedicated and passionate about their topics, and that the information they’re passing on to learners is coming from an experienced source. Otherwise, learners won’t be getting as much value from the course and this will translate into their applying the information less effectively, since they won’t retain the knowledge as well. 

Knowledge and teaching ability are different assets 

Many instructors make the mistake of thinking that being an expert in their topic area also makes them good at transferring that knowledge to those who want to learn from it, but studies have shown that the opposite is often true. Highly specialised experts with a lot of knowledge often aren’t the best at teaching their knowledge.  

This roadblock can be easily mitigated by providing experts with a course design framework that helps them break down their knowledge into easily digestible pieces. That will create stronger engagement and a deeper sense of accomplishment, which will increase the value learners take away from the course. 

Claned learners are excited to put what they’ve learned to work!

The main three things you want to do achieve top-rate courses are: 

  1. Clearly articulate your course’s overall purpose 
  1. Define clear learning goals and outcomes 
  1. Make sure your content is presented in a digestible format

If you can do these things, then you’ll be offering a course that can help your learners drive the change they’ll need to. This ensures your course delivers maximal ROI for your overall organisational goals.  

This sounds challenging but you won’t have to go it alone! We’re confident that if you can take steps to deliver on the first two, Claned will present your courses’ content in the most optimal way for your learners. Easy, breezy best-in-class courses, ready to help your learners get the most out of their new knowledge. Ready to get started with learning that works? Book a demo and get started on your learning journey today! 

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