Does you course have a good GPS?

When you start out on a road trip to a place you have never been before, what is one of the things you do? Do you check out a map? Or may put the location of the destination in your GPS and get directions?

Do you follow those directions and get where you are going? Even if you make a wrong turn or decide to stop at a little road-side attraction, the GPS probably quickly reroutes you and sets you back on course to your destination. RIght?

Why wouldn't we do the same thing for our learners as we have them set out on new adventures in uncharted territories?

Do your learners have a clear pathway to follow? Can they see both where they are going and how far they have come? Do you have ways to help them correct course if they get off track? The clearer you make the pathway for the learners to follow, the more likely they will be to follow it. And being able to backtrack can be helpful at times, both to remind learners how far they have come but also to let them revisit places they have been with a fresh and hopefully more knowledgeable perspective.

Of course, like any good road trip, it's good to build in the opportunity to take a few side trips and explore a little. There can be road-side attractions which could be fun activities to help them take a break between difficult portions of the lesson. Or they could be quick little side projects or activities that are related to the overall theme of the course but are discrete mini units.

Maybe you offer them alternate routes to take. Just like a real road trip, maybe they can take a faster roadway with tolls to speed up their progress. What would that look like in a learning program? Maybe they have to accept a higher risk challenge or choose a more creative approach to completing the activity and they are rewarded with skipping a repetitive activity that is more suited to learners that are still mastering the basics of a topic.

The possibilities are endless, but the main thing is to keep the pathway clear so the learners can focus on learning the new information and skills rather then struggling to make sure they know where they are going.