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Why you should design your course with Intelligence in mind

Digital learning is fast becoming the conduit for professional and self-development, and a tool for those in the business of transformation to reach a larger audience and extend their influence. The intellectual integrity of an online course is one key differentiator in how experts can create lasting learning and an enduring impact on their audience. In this post I’ll address what the Intelligence Quotient (IQ) is, and why it’s so important for your online course.

What is IQ, and why does it matter?

IQ stands for the Intelligence Quotient, and for over one hundred years it was considered one of the strongest indicators of intelligence. Now, the measures of intelligence have broadened and multiple intelligences are recognised such as emotional intelligence, linguistic intelligence, musical intelligence, intrapersonal intelligence to name a few. 

In short, IQ is the measure of one’s ability to reason – how they use logic to interpret and apply learned information. Though IQ has been moved aside by recognition of other forms of intelligence, it still has an important part to play in learning and how learning is designed

What does IQ have to do with your online course?

Designing a course that is high in IQ means creating and delivering content that allows learners to understand, evaluate, analyse, integrate and apply knowledge. Research shows that learning actually shapes our brains, and knowing this means you can design learning experiences to support transformation. Neuroscientific studies have shown that the brain responds to learning through neurological activity as it takes in new information. This activity activates our cognitive networks.

Knowing this, it’s important when creating an online course to use strategies, activities, tasks and challenges that activate cognitive learning. 

Using cognitive learning to create an Intelligent course

Educational psychologist Jean Piaget developed the theory of cognitive learning in which learners are active participants in the learning process – rather than passive vessels waiting to be filled with knowledge,  According to Piaget, learners arrive with their own skills, knowledge and experience which they use to construct and assimilate their understanding of new material in a way that is relevant to them. 

Unlike passive learning, cognitive learning is active, emphasising comprehension and application. Learners need to understand the reason for learning a particular concept and the role that new knowledge will play in their personal or professional life. Cognitive learning encourages learners to reflect on the material, and apply and integrate it into existing knowledge structures. The goal is to understand a concept on a deeper level and relate it to existing information and experience. 

With this in mind, experts considering creating an online course should look to develop material that encourages cognitive learning through reflection, problem-solving, critical thinking and application.  Such a course will stand out from the crowd of online courses, offering higher quality, greater integrity and a truly transformative learning experience.   

For a deeper dive into how to translate your knowledge into online learning experiences of impact, Download the 5Qs of Knowledge Alchemy eBook.

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