march 29


the lessons are all about the how

Does your course content actually deliver on the desires of your learner?

The LESSONS is the final of the 5 Pillars of Content. If the other Pillars (Dilemma, Promise, Learner, Instructor) identify WHY the learner should engage with the course, then the lessons are all about HOW you intend to deliver on the course promise for the learner. In the simplest terms, the LESSONS must answer the question:

What knowledge and skills does the learner need to become competent in for them to achieve the promise of the course?

Think broadly about the overall lessons the learner must comprehend in order to achieve the overall learning objectives of the course.  At this early stage of course development, identify 3-5 overall lessons. These could be core competencies or skills. It could be helpful to think of the lessons as if they might be the module titles of your course. Don’t worry, there will be plenty of time in the development process to really build these lessons out in detail and your final modules might be different than what’s identified in this stage.  

In the early stages of course development, it is NOT necessary to identify every single lesson or topic you believe should be taught. In fact, we typically advise against beginning the development process with a detailed syllabus before the overall course narrative has been identified. Oftentimes clients come to us with a clear sense of WHAT they want to teach but not WHY it should be taught or WHY it’s essential to the learner’s journey. This can lead to some pretty significant consequences, the most severe being a mismatch between the learner’s needs and the course content. 

Let’s take a look at an example from the course Practical Decision-Making Using No-code on AWS. This is a course we produced for AWS which is available on Coursera. 

We identified the course PROMISE as:

  • Empower learners to derive insights and make better business decisions using ML
  • Democratize the power of ML for an entire organization
  • Develop a core competency and confidence level with the SageMaker Canvas tool

We identified the overall course LESSONS as:

  • Organize data in order to ask questions of it
  • Build a model in SageMaker Canvas
  • Understand model output and gain insights
  • Identify learner (Business Analysts) use cases such as: churn prediction and delivery logistics 

The skills identified in the lesson are essential for the learner to achieve the promise of the course. Once you feel good about the lessons, and have done the work to identify the other four Pillars of Content, then you are ready for the next step in the development process: drafting a Creative Brief. Think of the Creative Brief as the North Star or guide as you move through the next phases of development into production and ultimately towards the launch of your course. 

Coming up next: The Creative Brief


The Latest

Stay up to date with the latest news and tips.