Learning Goals for Your Course

In a perfect scenario, the instructor and the student have the same education goals. The answer to the instructor’s question What do I want to teach? is the same as the answer to the student’s question What do I want to learn?

By learning how to set learning goals for your course and define audience, you will make sure that these questions will have the same answer.

The Achievements section of your course description reflects what kind of students should enroll in it and what will they learn. In other words, this section answers two questions.

Who Is Your Intended Audience?

Your course is not for everyone. There is no such topic that interests every single person on the planet. 

People not only have different interests (programming, business, marketing, etc.), but also a varying set of skills and knowledge. A course that teaches the core JavaScript functions and concepts is not meant for someone who is an advanced JavaScript developer.

If you trick a student to take a course that is not really for her or him, you might get negative feedback, even if your course is amazing. So be honest and be specific. The ancient Greek philosophers said, “Know thyself,” which is a great advice. And yet, to be a successful instructor, you must also Know thy student. 

My target audience is a student who is:

  1. a beginner
  2. advanced
  3. a master
  4. other (for example beginner to advanced)

My target audience is a student who wants to:

  1. Learn what?
  2. To accomplish what?

Take a look at these educational goals examples:

My target student is an absolute beginner at writing who wants to learn how to write informative articles in an engaging and insightful way in order to become a successful business blogger.

My target student is an experienced copywriter, who wants to hone his craft and learn how to write copy that sells and work for an ad agency.

Take notice of how specific the target student sounds. You immediately know where he is coming from, what skills he is missing to achieve his goal and what he wants to do with them. 

What Will the Students Gain When They Complete Your Course?

Be specific when thinking of teaching goals (or learning goals, if you want to look at it from the student's perspective). What is the result of having taken your course? What is the difference between a student who is about to enroll in your course and a student who has just completed it. If you cannot think of a clear difference between these two students, you do not have clear teaching goals in mind. You need to rethink your strategy. 

Writing down the learning goals of your course helps to define your vision and settle your thoughts into their place. 

Writing Down the Learning Goals

Your goals will be the metric by which you will measure your every lesson. That’s why your goals have to be tangible, measurable (if possible) and directed towards the student.

Now you know your target student. How can you help the student achieve her education goals? What does she need to learn to become what she wants to become? 

Be Specific in Your Answers

Instead of “You will get the basics of SEO” write down what are those basics that you will teach. Here are some educational goals examples:

  • The core concepts of SEO
  • The best way to use backlinks
  • How the search algorithms work and how to make them work for you 

Write down as many points as you can think of. However, avoid empty, self-evident bullet points that hardly say anything about the value of your course, for example:

What Will I Learn? 

  • JavaScript language

Now, when you have those goals written down, you can begin creating your course. And whenever you get stuck, just look up these goals and you will know where to go next. That's why you list the learning goals and define the audience - to not get lost on your path. That's what makes a great teacher. 

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