In a counseling skills course, the stated outcome might be for students to learn active listening. However, we know that what a student is learning to do might be changing lives through conversation and/or improving the quality of personal relationships through better communication.
When we design the program or course, we give students opportunities;
- to reflect on their current experience and the change they want to achieve;
- to learn about the skills that might help make a change; and
- to experiment with applying these skills in conversation.
We can then build opportunities to share new experiences and lessons with others. We can build tangible hope by hooking participants into the course, giving them opportunities to experience that hope as part of the course, and opportunities to share achievements along the way.
All students are motivated by hopes and dreams. All students are prospectors. All students benefit from expecting and then experiencing the tangible benefits of the courses they invest their time and money into. All good prospectors take their energy and resources elsewhere when they do not find the treasure they are looking for.
Let us take the time to think beyond the wisdom outcomes of the courses we create and communicate the life impact. Let us make space for experiencing that impact within the course. Let us hardcode opportunities for concrete change and celebration into the courses we build so that we know that it isn’t a byproduct of good instruction but the core of the learning.