When I ask soon-to-be course creators, What’s the point of your course? I typically hear things like, “I really want to find some good, new clients” and “I want to make money while I sleep.” These are the kinds of reasons that often motivate an entrepreneur to go through all the hassle to create an online course.
There’s definitely a place for thinking through those kinds of course goals. I characterize them as business goals and I’ll go more into this in a future post. But for now, let’s suspend thinking about your business goals – just for the time being. In this post let’s just focus on the point of your course for the people who will buy it and take it.
It’s helpful, to think of these kinds of course goals as your…. wait for it…..
* Student Learning Goals *
Oh no? One more thing, really? What the heck are they?
Student Learning Goals are what your students will be able to do differently or better
after they complete your course.
It’s how your course is really going to make a difference to them.
You know this. You’ve got this. You may just not have sat down and articulated it because you feel you’ve got the gist of it, and isn’t that enough? Well listen. If you can stop and force yourself to hammer out a really good, really clear learning goal (or 2 or 3) it’s going to be worth every minute of your time. Promise.
Just think about all the many, many choices that you will have to make when creating your course:
- What modules will you include?
- What modules will you save for another product or another aspect of your business?
- What will you cover in each module?
All these decisions are colored by your student learning goals.
But there’s more:
- What are you going to promise your learners if they complete your course and do it all from beginning to end?
- What will your course tag-line be?
- What language are you going to use on your launch pages and in your launch sequence and other marketing materials?
The answer is…. drum roll…..
Your Student Learning Goals!
Woot Woot Woot!
Do it! Do it Do it! And by the time you finish this blog post YOU WILL BE DONE! Seriously, half hour tops.
[Do time it and tell me in the comments if you would how long it takes you in real life.]
But wait! Before you hit that timer there are just a few things that I want to make sure you’ve done first:
Have you validated your course idea?
- If not, read Creating a New eCourse: The 3 Things you Need to Do First to Set Yourself Up for Massive Success
Have you honed down to your ideal student?
If you don’t yet have these things covered, please stop and come back to this article once you’re ready. But if you do, start your timers!
So, here’s the thing:
Each of your student learner goals needs to be expressed as something your students will achieve. They are not what you’re going to be doing as the teacher.
So what does that mean? Let’s give it a go.
Which of these do you think are learner-focused goals?
- Give the student a step-by-step instructions for setting up the infrastructure to receive payments for the student’s yoga classes.
- Set up the infrastructure to receive payments for the student’s yoga classes.
The first option is what you would be doing. It’s teacher-focused. So avoid that. Instead, create goals that are focused on what you students will be able to achieve after your course.
Your Student Learning Goals should be observable. So, in this case, would someone be able to observe your student setting up their payment infrastructure or not? Yes. (Uh, if you really wanted to :-)). It’s both learner-focused and observable, so congratulations, it passes the test! Woot!
To help you ensure that your goals are observable, stay away from words and phrases like “know” or “understand” or “be aware of” because these things describe behavior that you can’t see – it’s not observable.
First, you’re going to start out just by brainstorming. Get out a blank piece of paper or open a blank doc and begin jotting down the concepts, topics, important skills, and key areas of learning related to your course. Keep writing. You should have a lot on that paper or screen.
For now, look for the course level ideas. Think about what you can realistically teach and what can your students realistically learn in an online course. Winnow it down.
Does what’s left over answer the question, “What do I want my students to know or be able to do by the end of this course?” Yes, okay good. Keep going!
Next, polish up what’s left. Use strong words like:
How many do you have? How specific are they?
At this point if you’re a detailed type person you might start to see that some would really fall under specific modules.
For example, if you’re a health coach and you end up with “Make a green breakfast smoothie that fuels you for the entire morning,” you may be standing back at this point thinking that this really is more appropriate under a specific module, that it’s just not high level enough. No problem. Then we’re going to call it an objective and have you put that under your “Eat a healthy breakfast” module.
You notice that you also have “Create a gluten free dinner that tastes delicious.” Hmmm, that sounds like it also belongs under a specific module. Again, you got yourself a nice learning objective for one of your modules. Great.
But you still need a course goal…. You reflect back on your course that you think is going to be something like, “boost your immunity and wiz through this winter cold-free.” One of the things on your list is, “Cook immune boosting meals that even your children will love” – that’s looking more like a student learning goal so you’d keep that as a strong possibility.
At this point your Student Learning Goals should fulfill 2 criteria. They should be:
- Behaviorally based (not about what the student will know or understand or realize)
- Visual (you could see the goal being met)
They should also be important to your learners.
[You honed in on our ideal student in What you Need to Know about your Audience *Before* Creating Your eCourse. And you already validated your idea in Creating a New eCourse: The 3 Things you Need to Do First to Set Yourself Up for Massive Success so you should be set, right?!]
Next, finish off the process of putting those Student Learning Goals that are module specific under their respective modules. What’s left should be 1 or 2 or 3 high-level learning goals.
These are your promises to your students….
Cook immune boosting meals that even your children will love
You’re starting to wonder if that shouldn’t be the course title, aren’t you? Or maybe part of your sales page? That’s what’s so rich about this process.
This is great copy!
You can use these goals all over your launch process:
- On your sales pages
- In your videos
- In your webinars
You might even have a great tag-line for your course. And yes, you might even have a better title for your course.
And you’re starting to see what fits into your course and what doesn’t. Have a module that doesn’t meet a Student Learning Goal? Still think it’s important? Maybe it’s a bonus… Or maybe it’s more appropriate for another product…
Have a Student Learning Goal that won’t be entirely met by the modules you’re thinking of now? Well, looks like you have some additional topics to add to your ecourse.
* * * * * * * *
It sounds a little magical, doesn’t it? That’s why it’s worth the time and effort. Who wouldn’t love a little magic in their lives, anyway?!
So, what are your student learning goals?