Course Design…Ninja Style

Most course design looks like this:

  1. Introduction
  2. Read/Watch/Listen
  3. Assignment
  4. Assessment

Repeat steps 2-4 a couple of more times and, voila!, you have a course. Unfortunately, you also have a course that is yawn inducing, boring, and plebeian.

We need a bit more excitement, engagement, and interest. What we really need is course design…ninja style.

The ninja is known for stealthy movements, camouflage, and awesome martial arts skills. You can use these same skills to develop engaging courses that will keep your studentscoming back for more.

Ninja Skill #1: Stealth

Ninjas are stealthy. They can move with extreme care and quietness to avoid detection. To use this skill, be subtle but deliberate with course design. Navigation, text, images, audio, purpose, activities should flow easily and not be barriers to learning.

Ninja Skill #2: Espionage

Ninjas are spies. They watch, gather information, and report back. Use this skill to observe students in class, research how other facilitators design their courses, and keep tabs on your subject area. Keep all this information in one place, like Evernote, and then analyze it to determine the common threads to use in your own course.

Ninja Skill #3: Assassination

Ninjas are assassins. They kill quickly and without remorse. Assassinate anything in your course that gets in the way of learning. By removing the extraneous bits, your course will be easier to navigate, read, and understand.

Ninja Skill #4: Martial Arts

Ninjas are martial arts experts. They know exactly how to perform a flying kick or a horse stance. Your students need to know how to do things too. It takes practice and engaged action for it to be memorable. Focus on the do, follow up with critical information.

Now the course might look like this (results may vary):

  • Let them know what they’re going to do
  • Practice activity
    • Critical information (if necessary)
  • Practice activity
    • Critical information (if necessary)
  • Practice activity
  • Application of skills/knowledge

Using ninja skills for course design will make your courses engaging and memorable. Students will walk away being able to do, not just know, and you can sit back, satisfied, that your ninja skills have saved the world.

Okay, maybe not saved the world, but maybe saved a student from disengaging.


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