Should your online course resemble a ‘map’ or a ‘sat nav’?


Over the years, we’ve seen far too many online courses focus on the ‘what’ and the ‘why’.

They focus on convincing you why you should do something and provide some vague instructions on what you need to do to achieve this. So often they miss out the crucial step-by-step guidance on how to implement this.

People are then left feeling “I get it, but what specifically do I need to do?

Take, for example, a course on how to identify a new business idea. A crucial step in this process is to speak to your target customer, ask them questions and find out more so that, in turn, you can identify a viable business opportunity.

This is a good start, but not as useful as it could be.

The person still needs to work out:

  • How do I find an audience to speak to?
  • How do I conduct any interviews?
  • How do I record any insights?
  • What are the specific questions I could ask?
  • How do I assess the feedback I receive?
  • How do I validate any potential ideas?

A course that resembles a map provides a loose destination but relies on the person to figure out how to get there themselves. This approach may absolutely suit some types of learning experiences. This approach is common in academia.

On the flip side, a course that resembles a sat nav understands the destination, but also understands where the person currently is. It also provides a step-by-step guide on how to get there, in a way that adapts as the person’s journey progresses.

Remember that an online course should deliver a transformation. Your job – as a course creator – is to understand the desired outcome and trace back the steps to get them there.

In essence, your course should act as a shortcut to this new state. It’s up to you to decide whether a map or sat nav is the best way to deliver this new state.

Andy Jack

Andy Jack

Andy loves helping subject experts, authors, speakers, coaches and key persons of influence to monetise their expertise with online learning. When not on his laptop, he'll usually be found up a mountain!

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