3 Rules for Making Goals that Count

Let’s talk about goals shall we. 

Do you really know why people are taking or will take your course?

Course goals drive your course content

Photo from Flickr. By: Raider of Gin

It’s not to spend loads of money and collect fancy pants courses….

Your course participants will take your course in order to solve a problem or move past a roadblock that they’re having. So, your course content, activities, and feedback are the vehicles that move them away from that problem towards a solution.

But, what’s the gas that moves that vehicle? (Okay, enough of the metaphors).

Course Goals. Having learning goals for your course will help you not only organize your thoughts, but create content and the activities that support that content.  Goals help ensure that you’re creating something helpful and worthwhile.

Really, it’s all about beginning with the end.

Your course is about the journey you’re taking your participants on.

It’s the end result you want your participants to have after they finish the last module of your course.

Ask yourself some questions:

  • What should your participants know or be able to do by the end of your course?
  • What should they care most about? What can they immediately use?
  • What should they be able to do better than they did before?

Your course goals set the stage for the design of your entire course.

What’s In a Goal?

#1; Your goals should be ACTIONABLE, meaning that they require learners to do something rather than know or understand. The best way to do that is with some good ‘ol fashioned Verbs. (Yup, you heard right.) Use verbs that describe the behavior or action you want participants to take.

#2; Goals are everything we like them to be — Understandable, Specific, and Informative. It explains exactly what needs to be done. 

Example:  By the end of the WordPress Course, participants will be able to build a WordPress site with a theme and 3 pages. 

Notice I didn’t say KNOW  how to build a site. We need to move our learners past knowing to doing (that’s when change happens!). 

#3: Minor Goals. Now that we’ve got our Major Course Goal set in stone. Let’s talk about the minor goals. Obviously, leaners can’t jump from not knowing how to build a website to having a website up with 3 pages!! (Boy, wouldn’t that be nice, though!)

Obviously, there are steps in between to move them towards that. 

That’s where the minor goals come into play! It’s like the steps you’ll need to take in order to get the gas into that vehicle we’ve been talking about! Drive to the pump, punch in your credit card, select the grade, and fill ‘er up. 

Same for your course. What minor goals do they need to accomplish to get to that main goal? These minor goals could potentially become your modules/lessons in your course. 

As an example for our sample course above:

Course Goal: By the end of this WordPress course, participants will be able to build a WordPress site with a theme and 3 pages.

Minor Goals (the baby steps that will lead to the Goal above):

  • Buy a domain name and a hosting plan. 
  • Install WordPress
  • Set Up the WordPress Settings
  • Install the WordPress Theme
  • Create a Post
  • Create a Page

When you’re creating your course, make sure everything you create moves your learners towards these goals. The goals will help you decide what content and activities should be included in your course.  If it doesn’t help them out, keep it out!

So, it’s over to you now. Use the worksheet below to outline your course goals. Click the image to download. 

Click to download your course goals worksheet.

It’s Your Turn, in the comments below, 

  1. Let us know your dream car? 
  2. What one thing you want your participants to get out of taking your course?

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