Discover more from Monica D.T. Rysavy, Ph.D., Ed.D.
Introducing the GROWTH Framework
A Proven Process for Creating Successful Online Courses
Have you ever searched for tips on how to create an online course and ended up feeling overwhelmed and underwhelmed at the same time? You're not alone. With so many self-proclaimed online course experts out there, it's tough to know who to trust. The truth is, most of these so-called “experts” aren't actually experts in teaching and learning. They may have created a course or two, but they're missing the foundational principles that make online courses truly effective. A lot of these tips are simply hot garbage.
That's why I created the GROWTH Framework - to provide a simple, yet comprehensive roadmap for designing and delivering online courses that really work. As an experienced teacher with over 20 years of experience teaching students of all ages, I've seen firsthand how powerful well-designed courses can be in fostering real learning outcomes. But I've also seen too many courses fail because they lack the right instructional design principles, community-building strategies, or effective assessments.
With the GROWTH Framework, you'll have everything you need to create online courses that truly engage learners and drive real transformation. In this post, we'll take a closer look at each of the five components of the GROWTH Framework and explore the common challenges that online course creators face in each area.
By the end of this post, you'll have a better understanding of why the GROWTH Framework is so important and how it can help you create online courses that truly make a difference in your students' lives. And stay tuned - over the next month, I'll be walking you through how to use the GROWTH Framework to create courses that deliver real results for your students.
About the GROWTH Framework
My framework is designed to empower course creators to overcome common obstacles and achieve their goals, and its unique structure highlights the key components that are essential for creating an effective and successful online course. Each letter in the acronym GROWTH represents a crucial part of the framework:
G stands for "Goal-Driven Learning Objectives," which emphasizes the importance of setting clear and measurable learning objectives that are tailored to the needs, preferences, and goals of the target audience.
R stands for "Relevant and Engaging Instructional Design," which emphasizes the need to use active learning techniques, organize content effectively, provide feedback and reinforcement, and use multimedia to enhance the learning experience.
O stands for "Online Communities that Foster Learning," which emphasizes the need to create a supportive and collaborative learning environment, encourage participation and provide support, and continuously evaluate and improve the community.
W stands for "Well-designed Assessments that Measure Progress," which emphasizes the importance of defining student transformation, identifying transformational outcomes, and using a variety of assessment methods to accurately measure progress and track learning outcomes.
T stands for "Timely Updating and Monitoring of Course Content and Community," which emphasizes the importance of continuously updating and monitoring course content and the online community to keep them relevant and engaging.
H stands for "Helping Students Achieve their Learning Goals," which emphasizes the need to provide personalized feedback, facilitate interaction, create relevant activities and assessments, offer additional resources, and monitor learner progress to help them achieve their goals.
Now that you know what each letter in GROWTH stands for, let's dive into the framework and explore each component in more detail. By the end of this post, you'll have a solid understanding of how to create effective online courses that engage your learners, foster real transformational learning, and deliver measurable results. Let's get started with the first component of the GROWTH framework: goal-driven learning objectives.
G: Goal-Driven Learning Objectives
Are you struggling to create objectives for your online course that are both measurable and relevant to your content? Or do you worry that being too specific with your objectives will stifle creativity and exploration in your course? These are common fears and frustrations among course creators, but with the GROWTH framework, you can overcome these obstacles and create courses that engage learners and foster real transformational learning.
The GROWTH framework addresses these issues by emphasizing the importance of establishing clear and measurable learning objectives for the course, analyzing the needs, preferences, and goals of the target learners, and creating learner personas to guide course design. By following these principles, you can create a course that meets the unique needs of your learners and delivers real learning outcomes.
R: Relevant and Engaging Instructional Design
Are you struggling to create an online course that captures your students' attention and delivers real learning outcomes? Are you finding it difficult to keep your students engaged and motivated throughout their learning journey? If you're experiencing these challenges, you're not alone. Many course creators struggle to design relevant and engaging instructional experiences that foster meaningful learning. But with the GROWTH framework, you can overcome these obstacles and create a course that truly delivers.
The GROWTH framework emphasizes using active learning techniques to engage learners, organizing content effectively, providing feedback and reinforcement, and using multimedia to enhance the learning experience. By applying these principles, you can create a course that keeps your learners engaged and motivated throughout their learning journey.
O: Online Communities that Foster Learning
Do you feel like your online community of learners isn't as active and engaging as you would like it to be? Perhaps you share some of these fears and frustrations:
"I worry that my online community will be deserted and my course will be a failure."
"I'm frustrated that my students seem disengaged and uninterested in participating in the community."
If so, the GROWTH framework can help you create an online community that fosters meaningful engagement and collaboration among your learners. By following the principles of the framework, you can create a supportive and interactive learning environment that encourages participation and discussion. This includes creating a community space for learners to interact and engage, setting clear community guidelines, encouraging participation and providing support, fostering a sense of belonging within the community, and continuously evaluating and improving the community to meet the needs of your learners.
W: Well-Designed Assessments that Measure Progress
Assessing student progress and tracking learning outcomes can be a challenge for online course creators. But effective assessments are crucial for ensuring that your students are learning and progressing towards their goals. Do you struggle to know if your students are learning? Perhaps you've had thoughts like this:
“I'm afraid that my assessments won't accurately measure my students' learning and progress.”
“I'm frustrated that my assessments aren't aligned with my learning objectives, making them confusing and irrelevant for my students.”
The GROWTH framework provides you with a solution. By teaching you how to design effective assessments, you can accurately measure progress and track learning outcomes. This starts with defining student transformation and identifying transformational outcomes. From there, you'll use formative and summative assessments to evaluate student learning and align them with learning outcomes, as well as using a variety of assessment methods.
T: Timely Updating and Monitoring of Course Content and Community
Are you struggling to keep your course content up-to-date and relevant, or feel frustrated that you don't have a good system in place for updating your course content and community? Or maybe you fear that your course content will become outdated quickly, and that your students will lose interest and stop participating in the course community?
The GROWTH framework provides you with a proven process for monitoring and updating your course content and community. This includes establishing a content review process, identifying outdated or irrelevant content, refreshing existing content, adding new content, communicating updates to learners, establishing metrics for community engagement, monitoring learner activity and participation levels in the community, and continuously analyzing feedback from learners to improve the community. With these tools, you can keep your course content and community engaging and relevant for your learners over time.
H: Helping Students Achieve their Learning Goals
If you're struggling with keeping your students motivated and engaged in your online course, you're not alone. Here are some common fears and frustrations that I’ve heard from course creators just like you:
I fear that my students won't be motivated to learn and won't complete the course.
I'm frustrated that my students don't seem to understand the material and are struggling to complete assignments.
As an online course creator, your ultimate goal is to help your students achieve their learning objectives. To do this, the GROWTH framework emphasizes the importance of providing personalized feedback, facilitating interaction, creating relevant activities and assessments, offering additional resources, and monitoring learner progress. By following these principles, you can create a supportive and engaging learning environment that fosters student success and helps them reach their learning goals.
Creating effective online courses can be a daunting task, but with the GROWTH Framework, it doesn't have to be. By applying the principles of goal-driven learning objectives, relevant and engaging instructional design, online communities that foster learning, well-designed assessments that measure progress, timely updating and monitoring of course content and community, and helping students achieve their learning goals, you can create courses that truly make a difference in your students' lives.
Don't let the process of creating high quality and engaging online courses overwhelm you; use the GROWTH Framework to create courses that engage your learners, foster real transformational learning, and deliver measurable results. Over the next month, I'll be walking you through how to use the GROWTH Framework in more detail, providing practical tips and insights on each step. From setting clear learning objectives to fostering a supportive community and everything in between, you'll have everything you need to create a course that truly makes an impact.
So, are you ready to dive in and start creating a course that will engage and transform your learners? Let's get started with the GROWTH Framework!
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