Tag Archives for " teaching online "

Thankfulness through the lens of learning

Thank You note text on a sticky note placed on a keyboard.

Learning means adapting our behavior in ways that promote survival.

This past year has been a massive, forced, global learning experience of the most profound, and often heart-wrenching kind.

Our literal survival on a personal and societal level has been and continues to be at stake.

It’s amazing that in the swirling maelstrom of chaos we’ve all been exposed to, teaching online has emerged as one of the most positive and helpful things we can do.

Giving thanks with pumpkin assortment still life and thankful message


Being able to help the people we care about and are here to serve, learn and get smarter in ways that make life better for them, is a tremendous blessing. Being able to do meaningful work in ways that don’t endanger our own health or that of our learners, is wonderful.

The pandemic has pushed online learning as a global communal experience, forward exponentially.

People are exploring new and creative ways to connect, learn, create and grow using online platforms and media.

 It’s also exposed challenges, weaknesses and drawbacks of those systems…from physical problems caused by too much sitting, to the social and emotional ravages of isolation and loneliness.

What is your role in all of this? What do you personally and specifically want to teach online, and how will that make the world a better place?

As you start thinking ahead to 2021 (YES!), what are your goals to uplevel your online teaching practice?

If you want to be a transformational global educator who truly makes a difference in peoples’ lives, I invite you to consider joining the January 2021 cohort of the Course Design Formula® Master Course.

Admission is by private interview -- so if you’re interested, connect with me now to schedule a time to talk.

Join the January 2021 cohort

of the Course Design Formula® Master Course

Space is limited.

Enrollment is via private interview only.

My mission is to support you in YOUR mission of helping people survive and thrive by teaching online. My goal is to make online learning the most dynamic, engaging, interactive experience it can be… taking the whole person on the other side of the computer or phone screen, into account. My goal is to help you get your expertise out of your head and into the world where it can help people improve their lives and also help you improve yours through safe, meaningful, and rewarding work.

Photo of two generations males drinking coffee near fire in nature


We’re all in this together, learning and growing as a global community. 

Not everything we try works out. Sometimes we run into walls, come to a dead end, have to pivot.

 It hurts and it’s hard. This past week I’ve spoken with several entrepreneurs who are succeeding brilliantly at teaching online…they have eager students and are earning good money.

 But this comes at the price of working 14 hour days seven days a week, which is neither balanced nor sustainable.

 I haven’t solved this problem, I have it too. I’ve been working 18 hour days without a break for the past 12 years, and it’s an honor and a privilege to do it… but we all need rest and balance in our lives if we are going to make online teaching work effectively in the long run.

So the first thing I will ask you is: what are you planning and building into your life, to get some rest and some time away from the screen, over the holidays? 

I know that’s easier said than done when our main way of connecting with loved ones involves MORE online meetings.

And those are important.

But take some time this week to connect with nature, and your own inner self, as well.  

Take some time to reflect on this mind-boggling year in the history of the world, and what it has meant for you.

Falling Autumn leaves before sunset


What have you learned this year that has helped you survive and thrive? 

The most important thing I’ve learned is the power of connection, the power of community.

The most amazing process I’ve observed, through the Learn and Get Smarter community meetings, in the  Course Design Formula® Master Course, and elsewhere, is the synergy that happens when mission-driven, service oriented experts who have spent their whole lives developing their unique expertise, come together in the service of a common cause.

Shift Key

My job is to be the stone in the Stone Soup.. the catalyst that inspires and encourages everyone to contribute what they can to a group endeavor that becomes much more than the sum of its parts.

In the community meeting over the past six months, we have learned about:

  • systems thinking
  • how to deal with chaos and complexity
  • human motivation and behavior
  •  how to improve memory and concentration
  • how to uplevel our online presence
  • and of course, how to teach anything to anyone online.

We learned that gratitude is the most important driver of success in powering our online learning programs.

Through it all, the thing that has been most sustaining is knowing that there is a group of people who truly care about each other, who provide each other with wise guidance under difficult conditions, and who have each other’s back.

I want to take this moment to express my profound thanks to my students, mentors, colleagues, and peers, and to everyone who has attended the Master Course and  the Learn and Get Smarter community meetings, and to invite you to join us if you haven’t already.



Come to the community meeting

Saturday, November 28th, 2020

9 AM Pacific/ 12 Noon Eastern

many people online in a conference call

Three steps to take WHILE presenting instruction

blackboard with drawn checked boxes. Text next to boxes reads: Present the instruction/ Provide guided practice/ promote independent performance

You've warmed up your audience.

You've gotten their attention.

You've told them what they're about to learn, and you've reminded them of their prior related knowledge.  

It's time to start actually teaching....this is the exciting part!

"Actually teaching" is a three-step process, if you want your course participants to actually REMEMBER and be able to use what you teach.

Robert M. Gagné's "nine events of instruction" include not just presenting the instruction, but also providing learners with guided practice in APPLYING what they've just learned, with your direct guidance and help.  And once they can do what you're teaching them to do with your help, the next step is to structure in some way for them to do it on their own.

This three step process takes your learners past the point of passively absorbing YOUR expertise, and helps them begin to internalize and develop their own competencies and skill sets, based on what you have shared with them. 

Create a course that teaches beautifully

Make your online course highly effective and engaging!

We'll show you how.

The next cohort of the Course Design Formula® Master Course launches in June.

Any time you plan to present instruction, it's critical to consider how you will include guided practice, and how you will help your learners implement what you're teaching on their own.

This is what makes the difference between effective teaching and simply exposing people to information.

Over the next three weeks, I'll write blog posts that go into each of these steps in depth:

PRESENT

INSTRUCTION

Present the instruction the way that works best for the specific TYPE of learning the lesson contains. 

What are the different possible types of learning, and how do you know which one your lesson contains? I'll explain  in next week's blog post, so stay tuned!

GUIDED

PRACTICE

Provide ways for your learners to implement the instruction themselves, with your guidance, support, and help.

 This is one of the MOST important things you can do to ensure your instruction really gets learned.

INDEPENDENT

PERFORMANCE

It's not enough to just tell learners to do something...we must build structures into our courses that help them do the right thing, on their own, in the right way...

.. and to demonstrate that they know it, through their own actions.


As you think about content that you want to include in your online course, it's helpful to start brainstorming about how you can help your course participants play an active role in learning the materials... at first with your direct guidance and help, and then on their own. 

If you'd like to learn more about how to do this, check out my book, Course Design Formula: How to Teach Anything to Anyone Online.

If you'd like to talk about it, send me an email to Rebecca@learnandgetsmarter.com, or join us on Facebook!

Love and Learning

Illustration of hands raised in the air enthusiastically

Love is the greatest motivator for learning, that there is.  We're biologically hard-wired to make it so. When we are newborn and helpless, our parents...the people who (hopefully!) love us most in the whole wide world, are our first teachers.

Incredible amounts of learning take place in early childhood. A baby dropping the spoon over and over from the edge of the high chair is learning about gravity. Does it work EVERY time? It DOES!!!! 

A crawling toddler who puts everything in their mouth is learning about how the world feels, smells, and tastes.

(Have you ever asked yourself if you somehow "know" how rubber tastes? How metal tastes? How the sidewalk tastes? I think most of us DO know how those things taste, and I shudder to think how we learned that, lol!).

A toddler's healthy interest in exploring the world is supported by the safety and security they feel in their parents' love.

Create learning people LOVE

Make your content DELICIOUS and enticing!

Love and learning go hand in hand at every stage of our lives.


If you think back to the most positive learning experiences you've had, can you see how love was involved?


Maybe you loved the subject matter and it held deep fascination for you.


 We are much more likely to persist in a learning task, even a very difficult one, if we are strongly motivated to do so by a deep love of the topic.


Or perhaps you were inspired by a teacher who clearly loved the subject, or loved teaching itself. 

Or perhaps (admit it...because I think we've all done this...) you were trying to impress that special someone with your amazing knowledge of ... whatever topic would impress them.

As educators, we want our course participants to LOVE our courses! It's an amazing feeling to see people all over the world engaged and motivated to learn what you've created for them based on your knowledge and expertise.

I do not advocate the view of online courses as a source of "passive" income. If you create your course right, in the way that will make people love it, there's nothing passive about it.  

A more accurate term for the income you make from an online course is "asynchronous" income. That  means, you get paid at one time for work you did (creating the course) at another time.

Teaching online in a way that inspires deep love for the subject matter and for the learning experience you create, requires a lot of hard active work. But it's work that is well worth it.

Teaching online is one of the most profound ways you can share what you know with people all over the world.

Learning how to teach online in ways that optimize engagement and promote learner motivation, will enable you to create deep impact and leave a lasting legacy.

Most importantly, taking the time and putting in the effort required to learn how to teach beautifully, online, is a demonstration of the caring and appreciation you have for the people you are here to serve: your course participants.

What do you love to learn, and teach, about? 

What learning experiences stand out to you as being connected to love, whether for parents, teachers, peers, or that special someone?

I'd love to hear about it! 

Write to Rebecca@learnandgetsmarter.com and let me know!

Happy Valentine's Day -- may it be a time for you to express love and caring to everyone in your life who could benefit from knowing that they are truly loved and appreciated. 

Here are some virtual Valentine's Day chocolates for you to enjoy. These are made from pure pixels of light. All the calories have been removed.(You're welcome! 💖)

Valentine's Day (or any day!) is the perfect time to think about how you can create luscious morsels of learning in your online course!

luscious Valentine's chocolates

Teaching vs. exposing people to information

Sign in page on computer screen. Desktop computer with login form and sign in button. User account. Modern concept. Creative flat design vector illustration

We’ve talked about the difference between being exposed to information (especially online), and actually learning it.

But what about teaching?

What’s the difference between simply presenting information online, and actually teaching it?

You heard right: presenting information is not the same as teaching it.

Just because you’ve said something (using text, video, or audio) doesn’t mean you’ve taught it.

In order to learn new material, people have to go beyond simply being exposed to it.

They have to:

  • focus on it
  • take it in
  •  process it
  •  label it, and
  • store it in long term memory for easy retrieval.

Now wait just a minute”, I hear you saying. “How can I control what someone else does with the information I present online, after I’ve presented it?”

You can’t.

Frustrated teacher standing in front of a chalkboard screaming

Unless you’re teaching online in an academic or corporate setting where learners are required to show up for your course and pass it in order to fulfill a requirement, you have little if any control over whether and how learners consume and process your course material.

As an online course creator working with independent adults, your responsibility for teaching the material ends once you’ve put it out there for people to consume.

So teaching online (as opposed to just exposing people to information) involves putting the material out there for people to consume, in ways that promote learning.

That means you have to present the material in ways that allow your audience to:

  • focus on it
  • take it in
  •  process it
  •  label it, and
  • store it in long term memory for easy retrieval.


In this type of online teaching context, presenting the material is not the first step; it’s the last. If you want to teach online in an effective and engaging way, presenting the material should be the final step in a carefully planned series of steps. That series of steps will guide you in knowing exactly what material to present, and how to present it.

So.. what are the steps you should take in order to present your material online, in order to teach it effectively?

Stay tuned for the next blog post to find out! (Can you stand the suspense? It's a real cliffhanger....)

rock climber hanging on to the edge of a cliff with bare hands (it's a real "cliff-hanger"!)

(If you just can't wait to find out how to teach effectively online, go here.)