Where do you start when you want to create an amazing, engaging online learning experience? With the learner of course! Today's episode helps you establish the markers of your learner's journey and how you can incorporate their unique strengths into your online course.
Where do you start when you want to create an amazing learning experience?
Today we're starting where all amazing learning experiences start... with the learner. We're going to do that by mapping out the learning journey so that we can really make sure that you are building an online learning experience that transforms your learner from where they are now to where they want to be. But before we start...
Get your Learner Profile Toolkit
To help you follow along with the exercises in this episode, I've put together a toolkit for you.
Meet your learner where they are
Your learning experience is the bridge that's going to take them from where they are now to where they want to be. The way you design that bridge is going to make them feel supported and motivated and cared for as they take those steps on their journey. So I want you to take a moment and just brainstorm.
- What does your learner look like right now?
- What do they like?
- What do they not like?
- How are they feeling?
- Where do they need more clarity,
I really encourage you to take maybe even three to five minutes. I want you to just let the words flow and just see what comes out as you talk about your learner now. Once you're done, I want you to read through that and pick three to five words that seem to stand out. What are those main feelings of where they are now?
Where will you take them?
Once you've done the first exercise, I want you to think about your learner after they've taken your online course:
- How are they feeling now?
- What are the skills they have that they didn't before?
- What's going on in their life?
- How are things different?
And again, take three to five minutes to brainstorm. Just free write until you feel like nothing more can come out and then see if you can pull out three to five main feelings.
Marking out the journey
Those feelings are going to be the markers of your learning journey. On one hand we have how they feel now and on the other side, it's how they're going to feel after they've been transformed. So ask yourself: how am I going to get my learners to feel the way they want to feel? How can I make them feel that way throughout the learning journey so that they feel like they're making progress?
How will you make your learner feel strong?
Now that you have an idea of the markers of your learning journey, let's talk about some aspects that can really help you support your learners as they take that journey. The two main things that I like to focus on are:
- What are their strengths
- What are their areas for growth
Let's talk about strengths
When I talk about strengths, it's not just talking about skills that they have or things that they're really good at. Like Marcus Buckingham says, a strength is something that makes you feel strong and we want the learner to feel strong. Whether it's through your online program, through your coaching framework, through your lead magnet... whatever it may be, we want them to feel like, "yes, I've got this. I can do this. I feel awesome."
One of the ways that you can do that is by really tuning into what some of their strengths are, what makes them feel strong. Maybe it's a skill, maybe it's connecting people. What fuels their fire and how can you incorporate that into your learning experience?
For example, if someone feels really strong when they're connected with likeminded, heart-centred entrepreneurs, maybe you need to incorporate a buddy system. Maybe they need to be accountabilibuddies or maybe they need a cohort as they're going through the course so that they have that connection to keep them on track and to keep them motivated, but also to keep them feeling strong as they go through the course.
As adults, we don't really like being in situations where we don't feel like we have a handle on all these new things that are being thrown our way. Being able to weave through things that feel familiar and draw on those strengths that are already there, will help solidify the learning when they're being asked to do things that maybe they've never done before. By tuning into their strengths, you're reminding them that they have so many amazing, awesome qualities, that they are going to be able to do this course. They're going to be able to get to that transformation. They have everything they need inside them to make this happen and you are here to guide them through their journey.
Where is there room for growth?
Now, I don't want to talk about weaknesses. I don't want to talk about flaws. I just want to talk about a strength that's actually being overused or overextended. If you have an awareness of what those strengths may be, you can help the learner relax a little bit and release a bit of that pressure that overextends that strength.
Example A: One of your learner's strengths is that they're really good at being practical, down to earth, grounded in reality, but maybe you need to give them permission to dream. So you need to build in creative little exercises at the beginning of each lesson to really wake up their right brain, to get them in that creative headspace and to lift them off of the ground from where they've been grounded in reality.
Example B: Maybe they're incredibly creative. It's one of their strengths. They can see all the possibilities, they have all the dreams, all the creative ideas. When that gets overextended, then they get overwhelmed and they don't actually save time for implementation. Maybe in your course, you need to build in some implementation time. So whether it's giving them a task and saying, "you need to go do this right now, I'm here on camera, I will wait" or encouraging them, giving them deadlines, giving them time, creating space, creating materials and recognizing that all of their creative energy and ideas just need a little bit of structure and guidance.
Being aware of the areas where the strengths are being overextended and viewing them as areas for growth should be kept in mind as you're building a learning experience to make sure that you are really creating as much support for your learner to meet them where they are and how they are.
Now it's your turn!
If you haven't already, grab your Learner Profile Toolkit and try out this process for yourself! Don't forget to share what you're working on with me on Instagram - I can be found @coursewellness or you can tag your work using #coursewellness. I want to hear what are your learner's unique strengths and how will you make them feel strong in your learning experience.
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