Quick Primer: Course learning objectives are for your learners (aka students aka customers aka clients). They are the “learning outcomes” that graduates of your course can expect to have mastered. And they answer the question: what should my learners expect to be able to do (or know) as a result of this course?
Now, you might be wondering: do learning objectives have value outside of learner-focused activity?
Why yes, thanks for asking, yes they do.
Not only do they give shape to your course, learning objectives give shape to the whole project: design, delivery, promotion strategy, launch, marketing, and revenue model.
Yeah, just those few things.
Given their importance, you can see that short-changing this step can lead to muddled thinking, flubbed launches, and misaligned strategies.
But still, many folks try to come at course objectives by reverse-angle, or some such: waiting until a lot of other larger project components are in play before backing-in to a List of Topics (a poor-girl’s version of learning objectives) that make sense, given what’s already going on.
Meh, I suppose. But I’m here to make things easy for you, and – believe me – it’s easier to put first things first, and work strategically from there.
1. Good learning objectives will give you clear marching orders for content.
Should you cover this? What about that? When learning objectives are well-crafted and tight, making content decisions should be easy. When they are not, you will agonize over what’s in and what’s out. Doing this early in the process is often tolerable, but accommodating the many Gah, what about this?!‘s when you’re further down the road can sap your will to live.
If you have articulated a clear purpose to your course, most content decisions will be quick and decisive. And you can focus your energies instead on arranging it coherently and delivering it well (as well as all the other tasks associated with the launch).
2. Good learning objectives make your course easy to sell.
And I mean to sell and to sell. Easy to list the benefits that graduates will enjoy, easy to contrast this course with others in your portfolio, and easy to differentiate between you and your competition.
And easy for prospective students to rule themselves in or out, based on what the expected gain is, and get excited about opening their wallets for what you’re offering.
3. Good learning objectives inspire marketing messages & promotion strategies that just about craft themselves.
A well-focused course means the benefits are honed, sharp and geared towards a very specific audience. That means you already know (a) who they are and (b) what to tell them! Because of this, the final steps of (c) where they are and (d) how to talk to them end up becoming very specific tasks to complete, instead of the existential voyages that they all-to-often can be.
4. Good learning objectives drive logistics and delivery, and make those decisions easier, too.
Knowing specifically what your learners need to be able to do upon graduation helps bring questions of timing and course duration into clear focus. You should be able to immediately rule a few of them out, and prioitize others based on how well they support your needs. (That is how you make biz decisions, right?) Should the course be DIY, or live, or a combination? Well, which choices best serve your worthy objectives?
Developing sound learning objectives isn’t a pedantic exercise. They are the foundation of your content and your whole project, and are worthy of your time & focus.
Want some help making sure yours are pitch-perfect for you and your business? Check out my resource for getting crystal-clear learning objectives that you need to start your course.