november 30


how to identify your course dilemma

  • Identifying the Dilemma

If you’ve failed to pinpoint the challenges your course addresses for the learner, how can you, as a course developer, effectively articulate the course’s promise or learning outcomes? In other words, if you can’t empathize with where the learner is when they begin your course, how can you paint a picture of where the learner will be at the end of the course?

THE DILEMMA is the second of the 5 Pillars of Content.  Identifying the dilemma is essential to crafting a course narrative that authentically connects with your learner.  Think of the dilemma as the status quo, or where your learner is at the beginning of the learning journey. 

In order to identify the course dilemma you need to answer the following two questions.

  1. What dilemma does this course solve for your learner?
  2. How does the learner FEEL about the dilemma this course is trying to solve for?

Why is it important to understand how the learner feels about their status quo?  We, as humans, are often driven to action because of (or as a result of) our emotions.  In order to authentically connect with your learner then you must clearly understand their emotional state at the start AND the completion of the course.  If your learner is anxious or frustrated at the start of your course, then you want them to feel confident and empowered at the course completion. 

Here are a few additional questions that may help you identify the dilemma your course helps solve.

  • What are some misconceptions or myths when it comes to the topic of your course?
  • What are the most common questions you get asked when it comes to the overall topic of the course?

Maybe you are developing a course to upskill learners and prepare them for in-demand roles in the fast growing discipline of Artificial Intelligence/ Machine Learning.  What dilemma is your course solving for?  Maybe the dilemma is that there just  aren’t a ton of existing courses in AI/ML that are geared towards professionals already working in the Data Science field?  Maybe a lot of the existing content available is theoretical and not practical.  Maybe the learner is interested in advancing their career in an in-demand field, but they are frustrated that they lack the specific skills to qualify for an open position?  

Take the time to capture all the potential dilemmas that your course solves for the learner.  Then group all the various points you’ve captured into 3-4 overall categories. Identifying these overall categories will make the next step in the course narrative development promise much easier, identifying the course PROMISE.

Coming up next: Understanding the promise your course will deliver 


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