Category Archives for Service

How does your course help others?

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As educators, we are here to help people learn and grow. As entrepreneurs, we are here to provide products and services that solve problems and meet needs.

In a recent blog post, I shared a parable about long forks, in which people feeding each other across the table provided a metaphor for creating a heavenly experience.

It feels profoundly good not only to get one's own needs met, but also to help others meet theirs.

Let's take that metaphor a step further now and consider the specific benefit your course will provide to those you are here to serve.

What's the difference your course will make in the world?


How will it make life better for your students, clients, and customers?


Answering this question gives you the key to designing your course in the most effective way.

The transformation your course provides is called the course learning goal,

 and it determines the best way to structure your course.



How do you know the best way to structure your course, based on its learning goal?


Educational researcher and theorist Robert M. Gagné discovered that people best learn different types of material in different ways.

He divided learning up into five major areas, which he called "The Five Domains of Learning". His research showed that different approaches work best to achieve effective learning in each of these five domains.  

If you're interested in exploring this topic more deeply, you can learn more about Gagné 's five domains of learning in my book and course.

Understanding the specific transformation your course will provide, the difference it will make in people's lives, is the KEY to designing the entire course.

Once you understand the type of learning needed to achieve your course learning goal, everything else falls into place.

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Many experts set out to create an online course without ever thinking about the transformation they want their course to deliver.

They think of their course from their OWN perspective: as a way to share their expertise, to convey what they know.

That's a reasonable and important starting place for thinking about creating an online course.

But in order to design a powerfully effective course, it's essential to go farther:  to see the course from the LEARNER's perspective.

How will sharing your expertise, and teaching what you know, make others' lives better?


How will your course help others?

Will it promote:

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Survival


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Connection


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Fulfillment



At the Learn and Get Smarter community meeting on Saturday, July 4th, 2020, we will continue our exploration of systems thinking, guided by several community members, -- including Rob Ruder,  Adjunct Faculty Member in Gonzaga University’s School of Business Administration -- who are experts in the subject (and who are graciously making all of our lives better by helping us learn how to think about complex issues in nuanced and flexible ways).

We'll  be starting to explore INFORMATION SYSTEMS as they relate to both systems theory and online course creation.

Come participate in the discussion as we explore how we can help ourselves and each other learn and get smarter online, in service-oriented, meaningful ways.

Come to the community meeting

Saturday, July 4th, 2020

9 AM Pacific/ 12 Noon Eastern

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Click on the green button to register for the meeting.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Who are you here to serve?

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In honor of Father's Day, which just passed, I'd like to send a note of appreciation to all members of the Learn and Get Smarter community who are Dads.

Fathers are powerful teachers, not only in their own children's lives but for the community as a whole, and I'd like to share some wisdom that I learned from my own father, that is relevant to the endeavor we are all engaged in: creating effective and engaging online courses that really teach, at a deep level.

My father had a reservoir of stories and anecdotes, many of which were passed down from HIS father in the form of wisdom tales, and I'd like to share one with you now. It goes like this (and please keep in mind that this is intended purely as a humorous teaching story, and not as a theological treatise or commentary of any kind).

Once upon a time in a faraway land, there was a man who, unlike all of you, did not lead an exemplary life. He wasn't like you at all, because he wasn't kind, he wasn't caring, and he didn't do good things to help others. So, unfortunately, after he passed away he ended up in... well, let's just put it politely by saying, he didn't get to go to a very nice place.

Instead,  he found himself in the nether regions being greeted by a guide who offered to give him a tour of the facilities.  

The man, however, was very surprised by what he saw there! He was expecting to see all kinds of punishments... but instead he saw a lush banquet table piled to the brim with delectable goodies.

How could this be? People were seated on both sides of the table, and in front of them was every kind of delicacy imaginable!

"I'm confused", the man said to his tour guide. "I thought that being down here was supposed to be a punishment?"

"Look closer," his guide admonished, and when he did, the man saw  that the people at the table had been given extra long forks... forks that were longer than their own arms.

Even though all sorts of delicious food was right in front of them, the people were not able get it into their mouths.

"Would you like to see what it's like upstairs?" his kind guide  asked. "You can't stay there, but you can get a quick glimpse of what you're missing."

The man was very curious, so he jumped at the chance to see what the reward of a virtuous life would have been like.  When they got there for the tour, though, he was even more surprised.

At first glance, it looked JUST like what he'd seen downstairs! He saw the same banquet table, piled high with the same delectable treats! And he even saw... the same long forks!

"Now wait just one minute," the man exclaimed in confusion. "How is this any different than what we just saw downstairs?"

"Look closer" his wise guide told him.  

And when the man looked closer, he realized in a flash what the difference was.

Here, the people were not trying (and failing) to feed themselves using those extra long forks.

Instead, they were using the long forks to feed each other across the table."

And that one difference in perspective, the perspective of focusing on serving others, was what made all the difference .


At the Learn and Get Smarter community meetings, and in this blog, we've considered how our own missions and businesses can contribute to overcoming inequities and creating a better world for all.

When I think of the people who make up this learning and teaching community, one thing stands out:

 This is a community focused on using online courses as a way of serving others. 

The courses we are working so hard to create, are our own "long forks". 

At last week's community meeting, we touched on the issue of leadership as an important factor that determines whether individuals, families, communities, nations, and our planet as a whole, can survive and thrive.

The pandemic throws these issues into high relief, creating a learning opportunity--a learning NECESSITY--for our planet as a whole.

When leadership at any level is focused in self-serving ways (trying to feed ITSELF with those long forks), not only is the result unsatisfying, but everyone ends up feeling terrible.

Enlightened leadership, on the other hand, is focused on SERVICE.


Service can include:

  • Promoting physical health and well-being for oneself and others
  • Strengthening positive relationships between individuals and among groups
  • Developing business practices that support the good of all
  • Creating opportunities for others to learn and grow
  • Building communities that enhance the well-being of all their members
  • Working towards local and global economies that sustainably meet everyone's needs

Online learning is at the epicenter of the shakeup that is happening in the pandemic's wake. Creating online learning that truly serves the communities we are called to work with, is not just a job, a profession, or a role.

Transformative online teaching is a calling, and if you're reading this, you have heard, and answered, that call.

In the Course Design Formula® Master Course this week, we will be delving into market research. One can think of market research as a way of learning more about the people we are here to serve, and how we can best serve them. Who are they? What are they dealing with? What help do they need that we are able to provide?

Whether you are in the course, or are able to come to the community meeting next Saturday, or not, let's all take some time this week to reflect on the people sitting across from us at the long banquet table of life. What can we provide them with, to make their lives better? How can we promote perspectives of service in our courses, our businesses, and in the world?

We'll continue to explore these ideas together, at the community meeting next Saturday. I hope you can join us and share your thoughts.

Come to the community meeting

Saturday, June 27th, 2020

9 AM Pacific/ 12 Noon Eastern

many people online in a conference call

Click on the green button to register for the meeting.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

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