Course design lessons from The Last Jedi

Kylo Ren, who represents the Dark Side in The Last Jedi, said “Let the past die. Kill it, if you have to. That’s the only way to become what you were meant to be.” In the Last Jedi, Disney succeeded in killing what we fans have grown to love about Star Wars. Was this their intended outcome? Is it to prove that Star Wars was meant to be something else? If yes, then I guess we had it all wrong for 40 years. Thanks Disney for straightening us out.

Online course designs can suffer the same fate as The Last Jedi if your course designs take on too much and your intended outcomes get lost in a convoluted delivery. Sure, some might say that Week 6 had a cool Kahoot!, but what is the overall outcome? True, students can manage a variety of learning tools these days, but remember they should throw all their cognitive force (I had to use that word somewhere) into learning the material, not figuring out how to complete an assignment. Luckily, Rei mastered all that is Jedi in three easy lessons, so she didn’t have to focus on how to complete an assignment (move mountains) to escape the Empire, she just did it.

Simple course design is a good start, keeping the message loud, clear and consistent throughout the course. Add a little something to freshen it up at every iteration of your course, such as a video quiz.

It’s possible to have a $200M budget and still miss your mark, The Last Jedi did. Keep your overall outcomes in mind every step of the development process. Don’t let fancy apps (parallel to tedious light-saber battles) add luster that may not lend to a learning outcome.

Ask others to review your design and ask them what their perceived outcomes for the course are. Are they the same as yours? If yes, bingo. If no, then get back to developing.  50K+ Star Wars fans are yelling at writer Rian Johnson for not asking for their opinions while writing The Last Jedi. Although Disney’s intended outcomes for the movie may have been quite different from the expected outcomes of true Star Wars fans, the fans could still have contributed so much to designing the overall outcomes of the course, sorry…movie, delivering a more effective and engaging final product that fans/students will learn and grow from.

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