By Kristina Talarek
So you created your course, launched it, and you’ve seen it work for your students. You go Glen Coco!
Buuuuut if you’re being honest, it was full of messy action. Sometimes you find yourself wondering if you’re communicating your message in the best way, and if your students are getting the best results possible. You’re ready to relaunch, but first you want to upgrade the whole shebang so you feel 100% confident and proud to promote it.
Here’s a little crash course (hah, get it?) on how to revamp before you relaunch your course.
There are three main components: (1) evaluate your student experience and results, (2) audit your existing content (3) and create an action plan for your revamp.
Go to the Source
Start by talking to your past and current students. Why? Because the perspective you have as a course designer, is undoubtedly different than the perspective your students have as course takers. And surprisingly, this is the most underutilized source of juicy insights.
You might be thinking, “of course I use feedback from my students- I have testimonials!” And yes, you bring up a fair point. However, testimonials are a marketing tool. They have a pretty narrow focus: showcasing student results to get more sales.
Which means they can’t provide you with the kind of depth you need to make meaningful changes to your course.
Grab your magnifying glass and channel your inner Sherlock, because we’re diggin’ deeper.
Ask for Feedback
There are two categories of feedback you need from your students: information about both their experience with your course and their results.
You can gather these insights using surveys, one on one interviews, and exploring what your students are talking about in your course community Facebook group.
To learn about student experience, some examples of topics to explore are : lessons or materials that were most helpful, the most valuable thing they learned, course structure and flow, course format, areas of confusion, and unresolved questions.
To learn more about your students’ results, you’ll need to measure what results they actually got compared to the results you intended them to get.
If you need help figuring out what specific results to ask your students about, head to your sales page for a refresher on your selling points and the advertised transformation.
Keep in mind, you may have both tangible results you can directly observe (more sales, a different career, a new meditation habit) and intangible results (a changed perspective, outlook, or feeling). You’ll want to ask your students questions about both types for a complete picture on how your course impacted them.
If I Only Had a Brain
A common misconception about courses is that your job is to give people information.
That’s only partially true.
More importantly, courses are about creating a learning experience. This hinges on the ability to teach people how to implement the information they’re receiving.
For a good learning experience and maximum impact, your content needs to align with how the brain learns.
There’s a whole field dedicated solely to learning psychology, but here are three of my favorite ways to create brain-based content.
If I had a dollar for every time I saw a *ahem* less than stellar slide… I would be as rich as Taylor Swift.
Ineffective slides are hands down the biggest issue I see with courses.
Our brains can only hold so many pieces of information at a time. This is called our working memory. There’s some debate over how much it can hold, but the general consensus is somewhere between 4 and 7 pieces of information. It’s why if I asked you to remember a number and repeat it back to me in a minute, it would be easier to do it with 347 than with 964,839,578.
What’s this have to do with slides?
The more words you have jammed on your slides, the less cognitive energy your students have to understand the important stuff. Your students simultaneously listening to everything you’re saying, reading walls of text, and processing pretty (but meaningless) design elements is not a recipe for success.
Your slides should be clean, simple, and complement what you are saying (NOT repeat it). Hint: if your students can fully understand a lesson just by reading the slides, there’s too much information on them.
The solution? Use more photos, diagrams, icons, and other visuals to illustrate concepts. Our brains are much more likely to remember information if it’s paired with pictures instead of words.
Adults learn differently than kids. We have years of life, education, and experience already under our belts. So when we take in new information, our brains make meaning of it by relating it back to what we already know and understand.
For example, if I were to ask you to picture something 1,250 feet tall, you might have a hard time conceptualizing that.
Now if you’re from the US and I told you something was 1,250 feet tall, which is the same height as the Empire State Building, you’d have a better idea on how tall it actually is. If you’re from Europe, I’d say it’s about as tall as the Eiffel Tower.
Moral of the story? Use examples and metaphors to relate new concepts to your students. It can mean the difference between your content actually being stored in their brains, and it going in one ear and out the other.
The best way to RETAIN information is through quizzing. Sounds unsexy, I know. But it doesn’t have to be!
Most courses follow a linear format and use presentations to teach the information, and give workbooks for students to apply the information.
Here’s a secret: application doesn’t have to *only* be in workbook format. It can be built into the presentation itself by asking meaningful quiz-like questions. Get creative with it, we aren’t taking the SAT’s here!
The result? Active learning that increases the odds of your content actually being absorbed and retained. Keep this one in your back pocket if you have a lot of binge watchers!
Bring it Home
So you’ve got meaningful feedback from students, and you’ve gone through your course content to see how it can be optimized for learning.
From your detective work, create a list of allllllll of the pieces of your course that you COULD update. Most likely, you’ll start to see some common trends emerge that you can group together.
Then, from this list, pick your top priorities based on what makes the most sense for you, your students, and your course.
This will vary greatly based on student feedback and your content audit, but examples of things you can update include: slides, workbooks, adding content to clarify common questions, adding resources for where students are most likely to get stuck, and taking away content that doesn’t add to student results.
Course creation is half science half art, so don’t be afraid to tap into your intuition as you’re determining where you want to focus your revamp efforts.
Now you’re ready to revamp and relaunch with confidence!
Revamp your course or build a new one with Kristina: http://kristinatalarek.com/application
Grab the No Fluff Course Checklist here: http://kristinatalarek.com/course-creation-checklist
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