When we look at the very essence of a course…
we see a program that takes a learner from where they are now to where they want to be. The course is the vehicle that gets them closer to their goals and dreams.
Right now, I’m taking an online course in personal style and fashion. I’m someone who quickly grabs clothes without thought to style or fashion. Easy and functional, that’s my motto. But, the course is helping me break that rut and add more style to my wardrobe. Its content and worksheets are helping me get there one step at a time.
As a course creator, your content and activities should move learners towards the course goals.
One part of that equation is the worksheet. Worksheets are designed to give course participants an opportunity to put into action what was presented in the content. And, your worksheets should be both actionable AND beautiful!
But, what differentiates a kick-butt worksheet from busy work? Use this ultimate guide to design your next worksheet to get your participants taking action.
What’s the Point?
You should have an overall goal for your course in addition to having a goal for each worksheet you create. Thinking about the goal of your worksheet will help you create something that helps change your participants. It will get them to do something differently than they’ve done before. Do you want them to brainstorm? Think about questions? Make a list? Create a drawing or a rough sketch? Or complete a particular activity? When thinking about the goal, keep these three questions in mind:
– What should the participants care about?
– What’s the most important information they should take away?
-What should they have accomplished after completing the worksheet? What should they be able to do?
The goal should be the overall outcome you’d like your learners to achieve. After completing this worksheet, learners should be able to________. Use an action verb to complete the sentence. As an example, for a worksheet designed to help learners outline their monthly goals: After completing this worksheet, learners should be able to select three goals for the month of June and outline the tasks needed to complete that goal. ACTION STEP: Write an action-oriented goal for your next worksheet. Think of the WHY behind your worksheet!
Let’s Reach That Goal
Your worksheets and activities should move participants closer to achieving the above goal. It should move them from point A to point B. This is a great opportunity to brainstorm activities that will help them do just that. (You’ll also want to think to yourself, is a worksheet really ideal in the first place? Or, can the goal be achieved by a better suited activity. Worksheets are not always the answer.) Below, are a list of worksheet activities to get your juices flowing – mix it up depending on your niche! Remember, the activities you choose should directly relate to the topic and the goal. Get your learners to use the information!
– interview someone
-search a specific location (house, closet, etc.)
-write an outline
-listen to something and reflect
-create a list
ACTION STEP: Brainstorm a list of possible activities for your worksheet ensuring that the activities directly relate to learners achieving the goal.
It’s Okay to Make a Mess
It’s always great to start with a rough outline of what you’d like to create. You can do this with paper and pencil or just start playing around in Apple Pages or Microsoft Word. I generally start with a very simple black and white copy of what I’d like my worksheet to look like. During this process, I’m not aiming for beauty. Instead, I want to outline the placement of elements (such as boxes) and the words and activities that I’d like to include. This gives you an opportunity to play around with the elements and ensure all of the pieces are there.
Make It Look Like You
I’m really good with using Apple Pages.
My weakness, however, is design. Since I can’t trust my design skills, I’m always gathering inspiration from other places.
When thinking of colors, choose from the colors and designs of your brand. What colors appear on your website? What colors are you currently using for other offerings? What colors have you used for your previous worksheets?
Keeping the design consistent will let others quickly identify the work as being yours. It will also help you create a cohesive course with the same design elements.
The same goes for the fonts. Make sure the fonts are consistent and complement each other.
Sage Grayson does a magnificent job of keeping things consistent with her worksheets and staying on brand.
A few resources for design elements:
Color combinations (I use these to think about matching colors):
Cute Design Elements and Ideas.
To keep things simple, I work with shapes. I stick to rectangles, squares, and circles when creating my worksheets. If you think about these elements in terms of those shapes, you won’t go wrong!
I always err on keeping my worksheets simple because ultimately it’s not the design that’s going to move the participants closer to the goal, it’s the activity. So, less is always more in this case. You want your worksheets to be clean and with little clutter.
Let’s Get Dirty
This is the fun part where you design the actual worksheet. Pull your design elements (colors, fonts, designs) and create a masterpiece out of your rough draft.
A lot of the time, the design is simply figuring out what looks good. So, it’s a matter of moving pieces around seeing what fits and what doesn’t.
And, the last bit that’s an absolute must are instructions! Make sure you include instructions on how to use the worksheet. Sometimes even providing an example of the finished product is helpful.
Watch this quick video tutorial on how I create my worksheets. (I’ve also thrown in a few tips on using Pages. There’s probably something similar in Word, too!)
Make it Fillable
Some people like moi are old school. They’ll prefer to print out their worksheets and use a pencil to scribble down their ideas. Then there are others who prefer to work on the computer. Making your worksheet fillable offers the best of both worlds.
If you’d like your learners to be able to download your worksheet and type in their responses, check out this quick video tutorial here.
Voila, You’re Done
You should be proud of your masterpiece. You’ve created a worksheet that not only looks good, but also gets your learners to actually use the content you’ve presented.
Quick Summary of the Ultimate Guide to Creating Worksheets
- Write out the worksheet’s goal.
- Brainstorm a list of activities to reach that goal.
- Create a Rough Draft.
- Select your design elements.
- Create your final worksheet (and add instructions).
- And, if you’re still unsure whether or not your worksheet will help your learners, check out the Workshop on Worksheets here (you’ll be glad you did).
Need more worksheet making ideas? Check out these helpful blog posts below!
- 10 Tips Everyone Designing Worksheets Should Use
- Here’s the Secret to Making Your Course Engaging + Doable
- How to Make a Fillable PDF with PDF Escape
It’s your turn, in the comments below, let us know what worksheet you’ll be working on next. Also, if you have any questions that I can answer, feel free to add them below!