This week in the Course Design Formula® Master Course, we’re focusing on learner research.
We're exploring the questions we need to ask of ourselves and others, to find out:
Often, we start out planning to teach skills (a "how-to" course) in our area of expertise... only to discover that our target audience first needs to adopt a mind-set change (via an attitude course) in order to first be READY to learn those skills.
Why is having the right MINDSET such an important foundation
for learning new skills?
People shut down and stop learning if they feel unsafe, vulnerable or threatened.
Under conditions of threat, the body goes into fight or flight mode,
and the mental and emotional resources required for learning become luxuries we can’t afford.
So as educators, our first job is to help the people who want to learn from us
feel supported and safe enough to take the risks required for real learning to take place.
KINDNESS is one of the most important qualities needed to promote learning.
As Maya Angelou famously said:
"People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel."
How do you create a positive climate for learning online?
It's helpful to be clear on your own values as an educator and community leader.
Here are some of mine:
What do I mean by "the power of a teacher's words?"
As a teacher, your words have the power to inspire and encourage your learners to achieve more...
far beyond the time they spend with you.
A teacher of mine in a foreign language class once used my name in an example sentence, to make a grammar point.
The sentence he came up with was, "Rebecca has beautiful clothes".
It wasn't even a real statement.
It was a made-up sentence used to teach a point... but ever since then, I have thought of myself as a person who has beautiful clothes (in stark contrast to how I thought of myself before).
The converse is also true: I once worked with an adult learner who thought of herself as unable to read.
It turns out she could actually read quite well, but had been telling herself she couldn't (and depriving herself of the joys of reading) due to the unkind and harmful words an elementary teacher of hers had used many years ago.
I didn't teach her to read by teaching her phonics and decoding skills, because she already had those. Instead, I helped her adjust her mindset to a positive one where she was able to think of herself as a person who CAN read... and who deserved to enjoy doing so.
How do you create a positive classroom climate? How do you turn negatives into positives?
Here are some methods that I find effective:
Sometimes, clients and students may need and want to focus on the creation of a product, over and above the process of learning.
That's where coaching comes in.
My clients focus on their subject matter expertise, and together we create a product (their elegant online course, or whole academy).
Teaching requires a deeper level of effort and involvement, on the learner's part, than coaching does...
because in teaching, what is being changed and transformed is not a product that the learner creates, but rather, the learner themself.
How are you reaching out to your potential (or actual) learners, to find out how you can serve them better?
How are you promoting an atmosphere of kindness, caring, support and inspiration in your online community and courses?
And perhaps most important: how are you being kind to, and nurturing, yourself and your creativity,
so you have the energy and focus you need to inspire and support and guide the community you serve?