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Thoughts on Course Design

In this 'thought' we are going to look at an alternative method of course design.

There are many approaches to course design but one which does not seem to appear in the literature is what we term - Essential Content + Total Cost [EC + TC] course design.

Essential Content

In this approach, the starting point of Essential Content is to image what you would teach if you only had one hour with your participants. Just one hour! What would you do? This establishes the essential content baseline. Then you imagine being given a second hour - what would you now include? Then you are given a third hour, and so on, until you have enough hours to cover the essential points and nothing more is required.

Total Cost

 
thoughts
The Essential Content is prepared with the Total Cost concept in mind, which requires you to consider these costs:
  • the costs to the course designer and institution of preparing the course, in terms of time and money, including any taxes etc., as well as the opportunity cost of doing something else instead
  • the costs of marketing the course
  • the costs of running the course [including admin and trainer costs]
  • the costs to the participants of joining the course - including the time costs of the pre-course registration and the monetary costs of the course
  • the costs to the participants of attending the course, in terms of time and the opportunity cost of doing something else
  • the costs of evaluating the course for the institution, trainer and participants [e.g. end of course questionnaire]
  • the costs of certifying the course
  • the costs to the participants of integrating the new knowledge into their professional practice (or language ability), in terms of time, stress, institutional resistance and so on.
  • the costs of evaluating the long-term effectiveness of the course
  • the costs of revising the course for the trainer and institution

Obviously, successful course design under these conditions would seek to maximise the essential content within the fewest number of hours, and to minimise the costs to all involved - that is, to make the course as short as possible, with the highest quality content, at the lowest cost in terms of time and money, and with acceptable opportunity costs, and the lowest post-course costs for participant, trainer and institutions. The benefits of the quality of the course should be worth the costs.