We’re being irreverent today, so let’s stand the great quote from Tolstoy on its head:

Bad courses are all alike, (and every great course is great in its own way).

We’re going to hang with the first part of that statement today. I’m just in one of those moods!

10 Ways to Create & Deliver a Course That Sucks

& Be Confusing, Boring, and Tedious…

1. Data dump. Pretend that simply knowing more leads to better performance. As if knowing everything there is to know about a widget leads automatically to better sales. And the more details you know about Twitter, the easier it is to write tweets that convert. Right?? Right?!

2. Act like more is better. Don’t curate, and don’t streamline. Make your students decide what’s important and what’s not. If you know something, include it: pretend you’re selling info by the metric ton.

3. Have only text bullets in your presentation. Forget everything you know about television and entertainment. Make your students multi-task by asking them to read AND listen at the same time.

4. …And read them to us! aka the Teleprompter Method. Slip in a few non-slide based sentences from time to time just to keep us on our toes.

5. Make students do the work of relating your information to their situation. Hey, examples can’t cover every situation, right? (And God forbid you narrow your course topic – you’d only narrow your pool of potential buyers that way). Just keep things broad and make frequent comments to urge students to do it themslves. And if skills get lost in translation, whelp…that’s on them.

6. Don’t package for retention. Forget entirely the fact that we need to remember this stuff in order to put it into action. What are you, a jingle writer? It’s just too hard.

7. Don’t organize around real-world problems. This is training, not the real-world. Divide your subject-matter into rigid topics, and cover those exhaustively. Run out of time before you get around to “integrating” things and showing how they’re linked, or how students would combine them to solve actual problems.

8. Don’t teach to their level. This is best when you combine it with a sales pitch that leaves it unclear who the course is best suited for. Assume beginners know the lingo already –  just keep using it, they’ll pick it up. And hit advanced students with mind-numbing procedures that they’ve long-mastered. Hey, reducing their will to live is just one of the free services you provide.

9. Stop when you run out of time. Times up! Didn’t get through all your info? Just conclude and sign off. We call this the “hit by a bus” closing.

10. Drone on. Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy talks about poetry so boring that the speaker’s major intestine, in an attempt to save humanity, leaps up through the speaker’s body to throttle his brain.

That’s fiction, of course, and we unfortunately cannot count on it happening to save us, no matter how many candles we light. However, this forces us to contemplate taking matters into our own hands.. You have been warned!

I hope I didn’t trigger any bad memories with this list. And don’t throw yourself under a train, if you find yourself a perpetrator of any of these. That’s in the past! We’re looking forward.. Signup below to learn how to slay these dragons, one by one. This is where we’re headed.

Comment Love: Tell us a story (funny or tragic) from your personal experience where one of these happened to you. Let’s hear it!