Date: June 17, 2021

I was jealous of a puppet

When I was a kid, my favourite TV programme was Joe 90, about a 9-year old schoolboy called Joe McClaine who was also a… special agent!

Joe’s dad had invented a machine that could transfer the knowledge and experience from the world’s greatest experts directly into his son’s brain.

So within a few seconds Joe could become an astronaut, or a neurosurgeon or an explosives expert.

(Joe 90 was created by Gerry Anderson, the genius behind Thunderbirds and Stingray. Joe 90 wasn’t as popular as those other puppet series, but I loved it.)

After all, what young boy wouldn’t be mesmerised by the idea of gaining all those cool skills and being sent on exciting undercover missions?

To be honest, even as an adult I still find it pretty exciting!

But let’s face it, if there really were such a machine, we’d be out of a job as course creators.

People could just plug themselves in and become experts at anything they wanted to without any study or practice.

And deep down, I think that’s what most students really want.

Maximum result, minimum effort.

That’s why I think it’s a still great goal to aim for with your own courses.

Firstly, reduce the work required of students to a minimum. Teach them only the essential concepts. Give them the “minimum viable dose” of homework.

And secondly, make the work that is required feel as effortless as possible. Make your lessons entertaining instead of just instructional. Make the homework clear and purposeful.

Because until someone invents that amazing mind machine, an online course is still one of the most efficient ways to download your knowledge and experience into the brain of someone else.

(For a reasonable fee of course.)

Keep creating and see you soon,

Glen

P.S. Fun coincidence. While checking my memory of everything Joe 90-related via Wikipedia I discovered that Joe and his dad apparently lived on the Dorset coast. Which, as it happens, is exactly where I now call home. :-)

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