This article is for all those therapeutic and healing practitioners who want to deliver a workshop or create an online course but get overwhelmed with all of the information they want to share. You probably have so many tools, tricks, and tips to share and so much wisdom to offer that by now feels second nature to you, that it’s understandable if you procrastinate when it comes to actually putting your work out into the world.
Where would you even begin? How do you inventory your vast amount of knowledge and experience and turn it into easily digestible portions for a new learner to take in?
Here’s a simple way to edit and structure your content developed by adult learning experts, Conrad Gottfredson and Bob Mosher.
Before You Start Organizing Your Content
Naturally, you’ll need to start with a strong focus so your target audience and deliverable goals are clear:
What does (who) have to KNOW and DO in order to (achieve what)?
This defines the content that makes it into your course. If it doesn’t help your target audience (who) accomplish their goal (achieve what) then it’s not something they need to KNOW or DO. In other words, if it’s not critical that they KNOW it or DO it in order to accomplish their goal, it could be nice bonus material, but it should not be core content.
Editing, Organizing and Delivering Your Content
Learning happens on a spectrum, from knowledge to application.
According to Dr.Conrad Gottfredson and Bob Mosher, there are five different Moments Of Need on the learning spectrum.
At each Moment Of Need, students will find different kinds of content and delivery mechanisms to be helpful.
The amount of time there is to reach for a support resource depends on where in the application process the Need occurs.
Is it five minutes before a client is arriving and you need a quick refresh on a specific relaxation technique? Then skimming through a 30 minute video to find the right excerpt is impractical and annoying.
Are you wanting some training to go deeper in your work with trauma survivors? Then reading books and internet articles isn’t going to give you the depth and nuance required – you need an experiential component to the learning.
See what we’re getting at here?
The Five Moments Of Need
Learning Something New
If you’re teaching a new concept to someone, they’ll probably need an introduction, overview, and an explanation of frameworks about to be introduced. I like to use the framework of Principles & Techniques – principles are why you do, techniques are what you do.
Then comes extended exposure to key concepts. This is the process-oriented part of the learning experience.
At this Moment you need some (or a combination of):
- classroom learning (online or in-person, live or pre-recorded)
- audio lecture
- live events
Learning Something More
Here you have the same needs as above, plus you might also include related resources of interest for niching down, mastery, or discovery/exploration. We’re still in a process-oriented part of the learning experience, so this is a great place to embellish, expand upon and extrapolate from the core body of work.
You might consider offering:
- a glossary
- book or product reviews
- a brief presentation drilling down into a specialty area
- links to relevant topics of interest
- links to other experts in related topics or recent research
The Moment of Apply
Ok, now the student is going to test their knowledge by giving it a go. Consider how much time they might have to prepare in the moments immediately leading up to application. Usually it’s just a few minutes. You’ll need to create resources that are within arm’s reach, easily searchable, or visually interpreted so they can be posted on the wall or quickly scanned.
Resources in this Moment should be results-oriented:
- brief audio/video (ideally 2 minutes max.)
The Moment of Change
Alright, they know the material and are usually able to successfully complete the task, but now the context has changed or the materials are different. This is like a mechanic in the midst of fixing a car realizing the supplier shipped the wrong sized part. Can it be modified?
What are the work-arounds, substitutions, or adaptations you can offer the student that will still give similar or acceptable results?
- longer videos
- microblogging or social media (Twitter/Facebook/pop-up chat support)
- text support
- links to wikis
- links to forums
The Moment of Trouble
They did what they were supposed to do but didn’t get the intended result. This is similar to the Moment Of Change but here we recognize that there are certain points in the application process where there’s a higher risk of making mistakes or things going off the rails.
Now it’s helpful to review the basic principles – the concepts behind why and how this usually works – so that students can wisely adapt to conditions and create their own solutions.
- Principles & Techniques recap
- Common Mistakes documentation
- microblogging or social media (Twitter/Facebook/ chat pop-up support)
- text support
Put yourself in the student’s shoes.
Identify the Five Moments Of Need that your students will encounter on their learning journey with you.
Look over all your concepts and activities. Look at them through the lenses of New, More, Apply, Change and Trouble.
Take some time to either make lists, or colour code, or draw a flow chart to map out the Five Moment Of Need in your course content.
Consider varied learning styles and disabilities.
Most people have a sense of what “kind” of learner they are and have heard of the primary learning styles – verbal, visual, kinesthetic, etc.
What most people don’t know is that learning styles are not fixed. We might be rather auditory in some situations and more visual in others. We all have a mix of learning styles and there are most than just a few. So having a mix of delivery formats is a great idea, especially if you’re teaching online.
Here are a few learning styles to consider as you create your teaching materials:
- Visual/Spatial: learners remember and integrate best when content includes pictures, images, and spatial understanding.
- Auditory/Musical: sound and music
- Verbal: words, both in speech and writing
- Kinesthetic: using the body, hands or sense of touch
- Logical/Mathematical: reasoning and systems
- Social: learn best in groups or with other people
- Solitary: prefer to work alone and use self-study
When it comes to disabilities, something I’m personally becoming more sensitive to is how difficult it is to learn online for people with hearing impairments if you don’t offer transcripts with your videos. Because of this awareness, I’m now keeping my videos to a minimum, and ensuring that the content I share in them is complementary, rather than core. If I ever do a video-based course again, I’ll look into hiring a transciption service through a freelance site like UpWork and work that expense into my pricing model.
There are many different kinds of disabilities to consider and it’s understandable that if you’re an abled person, you’ve been conditioned to ignore folks with disabilities. Understandable, but not acceptable. We can educate ourselves about ableism and how to unlearn it with help from Michelle Kaplan’s YouTube channel or tumblr feed or Zach Anner’s painfully hilarious videos.
Putting It All Together
Obviously, there are many more things to consider when you design a program or course.
But this is the first layer of Quality Control for your course – now you’re not just talking at people, you’re designing a caring learning environment.
Having created and delivered over a dozen full-day workshop programs, and three successful online program launches earning four to five figures per launch, with formats ranging from simple evergreen information products to full-year coaching programs, I’ve learned a lot about adult learning in both live and online settings.
But the content truly is king!
I’ve sat through many hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars on rambling, unstructured, poorly integrated learning environments and it’s a terrible, terrible experience and waste of time.
If you start with a strong thesis or intention statement, give attention to these five critical Moments Of Need, and offer enough Help Lines, you’ll be well ahead of most in your field.