3 Tips for Writing AIA Course Learning Objectives
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I’m not a fan of NASCAR, but I love people who are. I’ve had to find interesting things about it to endure watching it with them. Did you know that the cars don’t just fly around the track willy-nilly? The drivers have a strategy, much like a business plan. American racing legend Bobby Unser said, “Success is where preparation and opportunity meet.” He didn’t win the Indy 500 three times in three different decades or have an overall Championship Car career record of 35 wins because he sat around and let it all happen. He had a plan and worked hard toward the end goal. Without a strategy, you can have the best product available, but not be ready when opportunity comes knocking. Creating an AIA course is your opportunity for leads, and your plan for the course is found in the course learning objectives.
A course learning objective is a statement that explains or describes specific skills or knowledge that a student will be able to demonstrate once a course is completed. These learning objectives are important because they provide students with a clear purpose and understanding for the course. As manufacturers, your courses provide a service within the continuing education realm, but they are also a marketing tool for you. If your learning objectives don’t map out a clear plan, then your course may be overlooked. If it were a NASCAR race, you’d be missing out on Purse Money and Victory Lane!
Make Sure You’re in Pole Position in the Race
It’s not hard to be in first in line when writing course learning objectives. Use clear and concise language while ensuring they are:
- ACCURATE: If the learning objectives state that the student will be able to integrate the art of clowning into their sales strategy or demonstrate the steps for juggling knives, but the course is about fire retardant products, then that’s false advertising. Plus, it’s taking advantage of the dreams that we all have—hasn’t everyone wanted to know how to be a clown? (That’s false advertising right there! I have NEVER wanted to be a clown, they terrify me!) Be precise and honest about what the students will learn by taking your course.
- ATTAINABLE: Referencing back to the great the Bobby Unser, don’t promise the course will make students race better than a legend when it’s a Racing Basics 101 course. The students will feel like failures at the end of the course, and you will have wasted resources on an investment with little ROI. But you can say, “The student will explain five techniques used in NASCAR racing”. That is an attainable goal for every student. When stated in the learning objectives and then accomplished, it builds confidence in the student as well as increases the trust they have in the sponsor of the course. This leads to specification opportunities.
- MEASURABLE: It is important to see results from a learning activity. the Bloom’s Taxonomy is a great resource to use when creating learning objectives, so they are written in such a way that results can be measured. Bloom’s Taxonomy has six learning levels that build on each other. It was revised in 2001 to use “active” verbs as opposed to passive language. For example, instead of saying, “The student will know or understand _________”, use a verb to describe what will be learned. For example, “The student will demonstrate ______________ by___________.” A concrete measurement can come from demonstrating a specific skill or point of knowledge by actively doing something to prove that skill or knowledge. This helps both the student and the teacher. There are many examples available for this, but I used this one from Clinton Community College. They also link to a helpful the tutorial and tool to help build objectives.
Once You Have a Plan, Good Follow Through is a Must
Beyond writing a great learning objective, there are other aspects of an AIA course that contribute to its success. It is important to choose the correct delivery format, course creator and presenter. In a previous blog, the How to Create an AIA Continuing Education Course, the basics of AIA courses from an admin approach are outlined. It’s a basic 101 guide to creating an AIA course. Another blog post, the 3 Reasons Why Your AIA Continuing Education Puts People to Sleep, covers some common mistakes course creators make and how to avoid them. One last blog resource, although there are many more to choose from on The Spec Shaman blog, is the 3 Ways to Diagnose Your Dying AIA Continuing Education Course. This post discusses ROI and how to use your course as a marketing tool.
Also, following the AIA guidelines is a must. You can access the the AIA guideline manual found on their website, but you can also talk to a the professional. By writing effective course objectives, and following through with a great course, you will be prepared for opportunity when it comes racing you down.
Have you gotten specified through creating an AIA course? Do you have any tips to add on writing course objectives?
For more information or to discuss the topic of this blog, please contact Brad Blank