Faster, Better, Cheaper and More Effective Course Design

Tying learning into real organizational results

I always love to hear course design guru Thiagi speak. He consistently gets away with saying things that no other keynote in the world can. At the International Alliance of Learning I had the privilege once again in hearing his ‘pearls of wisdom’. Strangely enough, it was not just what he said that intrigued but the hand-out. He put together a list of principles and procedures that in my opinion provide a very good basis for course design and that we have applied in our courses. Below are his 12 principles for faster, better, and cheaper course design.

12 principles for faster, better, cheaper course design:

1. Let the inmates run the asylum. Invite participants to generate learning content and conduct the training activities. This works closely with Dave Meier’s dictum on accelerated learning that if you are tired after a training event, you have worked too hard and the learners have not worked hard enough.

2. Content is abundant. Incorporate existing content in your training.

3. It’s the activity, stupid. Don’t waste your time in designing content. Invest it in designing training activities.

4. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Use templates for presenting content, designing activities, and structuring learning events.

5. It isn’t over – ever. Use feedback from every training session to continuously improve the training package.

6. Show me the cash. Use external results as the only way to evaluate training.

7. Face reality. Use authentic assessment for your final test, authentic activities for practice exercises, and authentic examples for illustrating content.

8. Open minds with open questions. Require and reward higher-order thinking.

9. Walk in all directions. Design your training concurrently and iteratively.

10. Avoid analysis paralysis. Don’t spend more than 5 minutes for the initial analysis.

11. Build the airplane while flying it. Design training while delivering it.

12. Think outside the box. Use creative approaches to your training and creative responses from your participants.


Click here to read Thiagi's list of procedures for creating learning courses.