Make Sense of Modern Learning with Course Maps

Posted by Katelind Hays on Jul 20, 2017 1:15:00 PM
Katelind Hays

Training Magazine Network Recap

2017 July Week3 The Modern Learner Course Map_NEWS.jpgBlended learning, a once sufficient term, no longer describes the responsibility of our training programs. No live formal learning event will stand alone ever again. And tacking on additional “homework” after the lesson ends doesn’t count as blended learning. Our modern learners and organizations expect more.

How do we bring together all of the lessons, activities, and resources included in our modern learning instructional designs? More importantly, though, how do we bring these elements together in a way that clearly defines the program for our learners?

Jennifer Hofmann shared her solution during Training Magazine Network’s live online Masters Series. In the spirit of perpetual learning, this blog will detail her proven approach.

The Crux of the Issue: Personalized Learning

The freedom to choose is the cornerstone of personalized learning. Jennifer explained:

“Learners want (and should have the power) to select which segments of a training program they complete, what tools they use in their moments of learning need, and when they assess their progress.”

Before signing up for a course, it’s reasonable for learners to understand what level of participation is required of them.

This personalized learning mindset does not mean that formal training is going away. Rather, we need to create formal learning experiences that allow learners to build on existing knowledge, and leverage proven resources as performance support when they need it.

Empowering Our Learners with Course Maps

Course maps allow learners to navigate a learning campaign and select the lessons, activities, and resources most pertinent to their needs. A learner may register for a course and say, “I think I need to participate in Lesson One, but I don’t need to access these three introductory resources, since I work in the software they’re covering every day.” A course map allows learners to make those decisions in an informed way.

As Jennifer explained:

“A course map takes all of the resources available in a learning campaign (which lives in the learning hub) and organizes them into a succinct path.”

Using this map allows learners to make choices about their time, while also understanding how all pieces of the program connect to one another. Course maps eliminate confusion and help to set expectations.

What to Include in Your Course Map

A course map, Jennifer argued, must include all of the lessons, activities, and resources available during a learning campaign. List the resources in the optimal level of consumption – if a learner were to follow the course map exactly as prescribed, in what order would they advance to gain the most effective and efficient skill building?

On the course map, also provide timing for the completion of each step. At the most basic level, define the order. It’s even more advantageous to include estimated completion times. For example, “Blog Post: 'The Future of Instructional Design.' Read time: 5 minutes.”

List guiding questions on the course map as well. Learners can use these questions, which usually speak to learning objectives of the overarching program, to understand the context of their learning and collaborate with their peers (an added bonus!).

Curious about course maps in action? Try the experience as a modern learner in the Blended Learning Hub for free until September 3, 2017.

Special thanks to Training Magazine Network for inviting Jennifer to participate in the Masters Series event, and to the learners who attended and asked questions that sparked thoughtful conversation.

Topics: Modern Learning, Modern Blended Learning, Course Maps