• Home
  • >
  • Blog
  • >
  • How to Design and Instruct a Successful Course


Approx. Reading Time:  minutes

How to Design and Instruct a Successful Course

In subscriber surveys, I heard from a high percentage of folks the desire to build a better course for instruction.

Let’s tackle that head on by identifying two (2) of the most common instructional design methods.  

Then, I’ll share a simpler and more universal approach that I’ve had great success with.

Gagne’s 9-Steps of Instruction:

  1. Gaining the learner’s attention
  2. Informing the learner of the objectives
  3. Stimulating recall of prior learning
  4. Presenting the learning stimulus
  5. Providing learning guidance
  6. Eliciting appropriate performance
  7. Providing feedback
  8. Assessing learner performance
  9. Enhancing retention and transfer

Or …

ADDIE method for instructional design:

  1. Analyze
  2. Design
  3. Develop
  4. Implement
  5. Evaluate

There have likely been many, many successful course deliveries built on the backs of one of these methods. Therefore, they may certainly be worth evaluating.

However … even applying those methods can be a bit daunting for someone who doesn’t naturally or comfortably think in ‘sequences’.

Anyone have a friend, colleague or family member that has a planning sequence that looks like this?

  • Let’s go to Disney World!
  • Let’s ride the Dumbo ride!
  • Let’s look for airplane flights!
  • Let’s remember to take our swimming suits!
  • Let’s find a hotel near the resort!
  • Let’s also look at going to Europe!

(Any similarity to an actual person is strictly a coincidence!)

Of course, all of those instructional methods have more than a sequence in common. They also answer 4 important questions:

WHY … are we teaching this class (priorities)?

Ex. To improve the ability for the student to staple a stack of papers together.

WHAT … are we trying to accomplish (the objectives)?

Ex. Demonstrate the stapling of 10 pieces of paper together within 5 attempts.

HOW … are those objectives going to be met (strategies)?

Ex. Arrange for table surface, stapler, staples, and paper for each student.

HOW … are the strategies going to be executed (tactics)?

Ex. Explain, Demonstrate and Enable the student to press stapler together without paper.

Ex. Explain, Demonstrate and Enable the student to press stapler together with paper.

As you can see, the steps to build a course are nary different than the steps to staple paper, to fly to the moon or plan a vacation.

To help you put together your own, simple plan of attack … I’m giving you a free worksheet to guide you through each step. Just enter your name and best email below for a free, pdf download to simplify your mission.



Thoughts or comments? Who else needs to see this?


Mike McKenna

About the author

Mike McKenna is the founder and president of TEAM Solutions. He helps public and private sector leaders improve their outcomes before, during and after a planned event or unplanned crisis.

Please contact Mike via the Contact page.

You might also like

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Find your next solution by browsing The Ultimate Leadership Guide