Course Incubator

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How To Craft Magnetic & Compelling Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes Are Critical Because:

Any content that doesn’t directly take students to achieve a learning outcome must be kept out or saved for another course, and thus saves you from ‘course creation overwhelm’. If you are creating courses for formal tenders, businesses, corporates or Government clients, you will not win contracts without having proper learning outcomes or a curriculum plan – it is an expected professional standard and will ensure that you meet that standard. Surely you want to create an engaging course that inspires, transforms, and captivates your learners – your learning outcomes help you do that.

Leave Them Better Than You Found Them

When you start creating a course and commence your learning outcome creation, the first step is to ask yourself “How will my course make my learners and their lives better?”.Your primary goal as an educator is to leave people better than you found them. If you were to ‘leave them better than you found them’, what would that look like?As educators, our effectiveness is not measured by how much money we make (although that is very important), but instead by how much better people are after they’ve engaged with us. How will you do this? Will your students leave you:HappierMore confidentWiserMore skilledMore independentWith new perspectivesInspired and motivatedWhat else?Now we are going to build this out further into learning outcomes to really help you illustrate the benefits, outcomes, transformations, and rewards that your students will get if they take your course.

The Difference Between Course Aims, Objectives, and Outcomes:

You may have heard about course aims, objectives, and outcomes, but until you become a course creator, might not have thought much about what they are. They help you form the skeleton of your entire course creation process. Here is the difference between them:

What are course ‘aims’?

Course ‘aims’ are more ‘instructor-centered’; as in, they state what YOU as the course facilitator intend to accomplish for your learners as a result of your program.

-What you hope your course will do for your students, your overall intention of the course.
-What and where you aspire your students to be by the end
-What you want them to ultimately have learned/done/achieved by the end of your program
-It is broad and a higher-level overview of the general content and direction of the learning experience
-It is ambitious, but not beyond possibility.

What are course ‘objectives’?

Objectives are still more instructor or training organization-centered and serve to help you define how you will take your learners from where they are now, to where they will be at the end of your course. Your objectives will guide YOU in the development of your program. The specific steps you as the instructor will take to achieve your aimDefine HOW the learning outcomes you set will be attained and how the ‘success’ of your course will be measured.

What are course ‘outcomes’?

These may feel very similar to the objectives of your course, however must be STUDENT-centered. The intended learning outcomes should be placed on your course sales page to show the learners what they will get from your training – outcomes are all about THEM.Imagine that you are talking to your prospective students face to face and you say “By the end of this course you will be able to… ”, and you’ll be on your way to crafting a learning outcome. They describe with clear, measurable verbs – precisely what the learner will be able to do by the end of the course, what they will know by the end of the course, and how they will feel/behave by the end of the courseThey are all about what the students skills, knowledge, and emotional results will be by the end of your course in explicit detail

Decide What You Are Trying To Teach

Now, decide for each ‘learning outcome’ what you are trying to achieve for your learners.

TAKE ACTION: Start Crafting Your Learning Outcomes

Let’s begin drafting your learning outcomes. We are going to do this in stages as there is a very specific WAY to write them, which we will go into next. But for now, complete the questions below in bullet point form: What will they (your students) be able to DO by the end of your course?This is about their practical SKILLS. Things they will physically be able to demonstrate. What emotions will they have more or less of? What fears or pleasures will they have less or more of?By the end of this program, you will feel/not feel…

Get ‘Verby’

For this next step, you might like to download this FREE Learning Outcomes Cheat Sheet to help you. The most important thing to know about creating excellent learning outcomes is that they MUST be explicitly measurable. This means that they must state how many, how much, how long, etc to achieve what you promise. You should also use a VERB in every learning outcome (an action/doing word) as this clearly says WHAT they will do and makes your outcomes much more specific. Below are some learning outcome examples where the verb is highlighted in red to help you with this.

What NOT To Do

When creating your learning outcomes, do NOT use vague and indefinite words like ‘understand’ and ‘learn’ in your learning outcomes – they could be interpreted in endless ways and cannot be measured. From this moment on, the words ‘understand’ and ‘learn’ are banned from your learning outcomes statements. They CAN however be used in your course aims and objectives, as these are broader statements about the overall intentions of your course. Below are some examples of learning outcomes from some of my own courses so that you can get an idea of what a good learning outcome looks like. Note that they all follow a pattern, as there is a FORMULA for creating magnetic learning outcomes.

The Learning Outcome Creation Formula

Here is my formula for creating amazing learning outcomes. Use this structure when creating your own:VERB + What they will do (with a measurement where possible) + how they will do it. Read the examples below and tweak yours again to meet the same structure.

They then follow with what the learner will do, to what level, and how they will do it. Note that I did not use the word ‘understand’ or ‘learn’.You can use the Learning Outcomes Cheat Sheet OR a thesaurus to come up with other words that you can use instead. My learning outcomes above state how and what the outcome of the course will be for my student in a way that could be measured and assessed at the end. Where possible, ensure that you add in numbers to denote how long, how much, how many – to further specify what your students will get from your course. For more information on the steps of creating and selling an online course, check out my article here: The 10 Steps to Creating a Wildly Successful Online Course.

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