I’ve been working on a project where we’re reviewing the curriculum before we design the learning outcome. The level of detail is admirable: courses are defined by objectives, which then drive learning objectives, from which are extracted key concepts to present. And I’m finding one approach that’s making this go really well.
There are problems with the existing content. Some of the learning objectives are too specific, leading to an interpretation that won’t lead to transfer beyond the classroom. Some of the coverage in objectives or concepts is biased, so some topics are not covered enough, and others too much. Some of the learning objectives are focused on tasks that were clearly designed to incite learner interest, but not in an intrinsic way. And I’m not a domain expert, but I can still apply enough real world knowledge to make this determination (and we’ll review with SMEs).
What’s providing a very useful lever in identifying these gaps, even prior to remedying them, is a rabid focus on ‘do‘. That is: “what will the learner be able to do with this after the class”. Implied are two things: 1) that the learner will care about , and 2) that will let them have an impact somewhere.
This focus is letting me see that some things are so specific that they won’t generalize anywhere interesting; to identify that some of the goals are not really relevant anywhere else (e.g. a focus on ‘celebrity’ examples). That the coverage is spotty and some topics that have applicability have been skipped.
Such a focus will, I think, help in the discussions with the SMEs, and provide a way to work with them to get good outcomes for the learning and the learners. It’s a learning-centered approach (I think that’s a better phrase than learner-centric) that helps us meet the client’s goals in ways they understand.
What do you think?