Content alone doesn’t make a learning experience

Many offerings which are described as ‘courses’ or ‘learning experiences’ are in fact simply content – or information products. What’s the difference between a learning experience and learning content?

  • A learning experience is active. Its purpose is to effect a change in what you do or how you behave.
  • A learning experience includes substantial practice over time.

Content with no activity or practice certainly can lead to learning (we’ve all learned plenty from books!), but more often it’s simply consumed and very little sticks.

We know that new information is rapidly forgotten unless it’s deeply meaningful to us or it’s tested repeatedly over time. Without providing any kind of meaningful experience, content or information alone will struggle to provide those things.

An information product masquerading as a course will probably consist of a series of video lectures and written explanations. It may include ‘exercises’ which can easily be skipped. A good rule of thumb is to ask “Would this work just as well (or better) as a book or a YouTube video?” If so, then it’s not a course.