Is Course Design Ever Really Complete?

Is Course Design Ever Really Complete?

Anke Audenaert Anke Audenaert
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I believe curiosity is a necessary and beneficial trait for all educators. It’s often our own curiosity about a topic that leads us to design courses that engage students through instruction and activities. We define learning objectives for mastery of the content. We meticulously prepare a journey for them to explore concepts and ask their own questions. But once we deliver the course, are we finished? I say no. We should always be curious about the impact of our course on our students. 

Sometimes we learn that our instruction isn’t quite hitting the mark. We might notice some students aren’t progressing in the course, and others might seem disengaged. If we’re lucky, students will tell us directly about what caused them to stumble. These observations and feedback are crucial for us, as educators. The information allows us to revisit our course design and refine or enhance elements to achieve student success—our ultimate goal. 

Recently, Aptly released a new version of the Meta Marketing Analytics Professional Certificate. This program, developed jointly by Aptly and Meta, has been available on Coursera since 2021 and has been successfully completed by many learners. It has earned strong feedback, with an overall rating of 4.7—happy students, right? But what did those students really have to say?

As we looked more closely at student progress and specific course feedback, we noticed a pain point in the Data Analytics component of the program. There was a strong division between those learners who loved it and those who found it exceedingly difficult. As we kept reading, we understood that some learners entered the course with a solid understanding of spreadsheets, SQL, and Python—and others did not. For those unfamiliar with these foundational elements of data analytics, they were frustrated, and we needed to fix it. 

The team at Aptly got to work on a course redesign to address the hurdles in the program. They recognized the need to introduce the fundamental concepts of data analytics before moving into detailed instruction about spreadsheets, SQL, and Python. To ensure success for beginner learners, they developed three new courses that offer a step-by-step approach to these topics. These additional courses are now included in the course sequence for all learners in the Meta Marketing Analytics Professional Certificate.

We’re grateful to the students who took the time to share their honest feedback about the course so we can revise, refine, and update material to support their success! We’ll monitor outcomes in this new version of the certificate program to ensure we’re meeting their needs and won’t hesitate to evolve this program as necessary. 

I don’t think we can ever consider a course design “complete.” There are always new discoveries, approaches, and motivations that require us to adjust and enhance our courses for the benefit of our learners. We must use our curiosity to our advantage to inquire and identify the best way forward!

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