C is for Courses



I love to learn and consider myself a life-long learner. Over my various career paths I’ve attended courses, and during twenty years of teaching, I’ve also helped students choose courses best suited to them. Hands up if you’ve either attended a course which you considered a waste of time and money or enrolled on a one and didn’t complete it (both my hands are up).  Whenever I choose a course now, I am SMART about it and ask myself the following questions:

Specific – does the course correspond to my aims and objectives? Being specific about what I want to achieve by the end of a learning programme is crucial.

Measureable – will the course be motivational and meaningful to my aims?

Achievable – will the course be achievable and offer the appropriate experience. The key to success is setting agreeable goals and having clear purpose.

Realistic – am I being realistic in my expected outcomes upon completion of the course?

Timely – will the course coincide with my life at the moment? Choosing the right time in which to embark on a new venture is crucial to success.

Have you been on a course lately? Were you SMART in choosing it? Have you ever not completed a course?

Comments

  1. Yup, I've been to courses and never completed some and completed others. But the dropping out happened due to life changes, not because it was a waste of time and money.

    Personally, I do believe that nothing in the universe, not even a disappointing course, goes waste. There are lessons in every experience, some immediate, some long term, some measurable, others not so quantifiable. It's okay just to do my best and leave the rest :) and I'm rubbish at measuring things anyways :D

    Good C-choice!

    Nilanjana
    Madly-in-Verse

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    1. Thank you for popping over the share your views! Even though I try to gain something from every learning experience, the courses I've started yet haven't finished (only two over 47 years)have left me disappointed with myself. I still cringe when I think about them, so I don't often think about them :)

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  2. I took an internet course on the American Blood System to help me understand the background of my job as rare blood courier. I took many courses in obtaining my Bachelor's degree in English education and Master's in Psychology. Whew!!! Great post.

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    1. Thanks, Roland. Master in Psychology - oops, I'd better choose my words very carefully in future :)I did my Master's in Educational Leadership and Management; often found myself phycho analysing people :)

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  3. Great post, Nicola - SMART is such a good idea. I love learning new things - at the moment I am learning Spanish and I recently did a screen writing course. Must admit I put both my hands up too - the waste of time and money and the one I didn't complete, but they were way back in the past :-) xx

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    1. Thank you for popping over to comment, Teresa. Well done you for learning Spanish! I did Spanish, French and German at school. I was rubbish at all three - and where do I end up? In Germany :):) Should have paid more attention and stopped myself from staring out the window and thinking up stories :)

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    2. Never stop staring out of windows and thinking up stories :-) xx

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    3. [whispering: I don't think I could do that even if I tried, Teresa - ssshhhh don't tell a soul :)]

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  4. Hi Nicola,

    What a SMART choice for C. :) And a definitely a SMART strategy to pick a good course.

    Seena from
    Thinking Aloud

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  5. Feng Shui (can't even remember how to spell it). Not finished. In fact, barely started. Creative writing -never finished as I didn't want to write plays or poetry and they had to be done before I reached the stuff I wanted to do. (Now I teach creative writing but only in the subjects I've been successful in.) Art- gave up. Short-hand - gave up. Typing - gave up. See the pattern. I even gave up school. Actually, that was the other way around. School gave me up when I was 15. I think the giving up was down to trying things that seemed like a good idea at the time and discovering I wasn't really interested in them. Now I'm a writer and I can't give that up, even when, at times, I want to.

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    1. Thank goodness you didn't give up the writing, Lynne. School never really let me in to start with. Hated every day, up until I left with my hand full of O levels :) But I found my own way later in life and now can't stop learning - but only the things that interest me. Thank you for sharing, Lynne. I can always count on you making me giggle.

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  6. interesting perspective. I booked a writing retreat for June, way back in January and as I make practical plans re travel etc, am wondering if it was a good idea.
    i still plan to go and do expect there will be a gem for me
    zannie rose A-Z visit

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    1. The best course I went on was a residential writing course. Like you I booked it early and was very nervous as the day approached. But it was well worth it. I hope you enjoy the experience.

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  7. I haven't been on a course lately. I'd like to try a writing retreat/convention. I've never been on one.

    I always tell my learners that learning never ends...and I'll learn until the day I die.
    Some look at me quite strangely...well, I suppose they can't wait to get out of school. LOL
    Writer In Transit

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    1. I've had those strange looks from students, Michelle. If only they knew... Thanks for popping over.

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  8. We've discussed SMART goals at my job. They apply to other things as well. I've become more selective about courses, conferences, and workshops over the years.

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    1. SMART has been key terminology for the past few years over this side of the Atlantic, Medeia. It's nothing really new - just a smart acronymn for making sensible choices :) I do like it though and have referred to it a lot whilst planning my marketing strategy.

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  9. The worst courses were those you were required to take to complete your program--I can think of a few duds in my Bachelor of Education coiurses that bored me to tears. Some courses may seem ideal when you look at them and meet all of your SMART goals, but if the professor isn't a good one, that can ruin it for you. Good post. https://mhsusannematthews.wordpress.com/

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    1. I totally agree, Susanne. It's a sad fact but a reality. I really looked forward to one of my chosen Masters courses and was quickly hating it due to the professor. But I did it - albeit reluctantly. Thanks for stopping by.

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  10. I haven't taken any courses outside of college. And those I did complete because it was my parent's dime and they might have killed me if I dropped out or did poorly.

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    1. I feel the pressure :) Thanks for sharing Alex.

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  11. What a great post, when they taught us the SMART objectives a marketing lesson all I could think of was how these objectives could easily be applied to every single aspect in life. I've signed up for classes that seemed like they were not very useful, but they made for interesting conversations later on, so not a waste. LOL.

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    1. Thank you for sharing your experience Maggie. Lovely to see you.

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  12. I'd love to take a course in something if I had the time and money. It's not timely in my life right now. I do have four degrees, so I do finish courses! *LOL*

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    1. My mouth is wide open - 4 degrees? Wow! Thanks for coming over, Christine. Always lovely to 'see' you.

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  13. I've been on a few terrible workshops and one day events. By far my best move was my MA in Creative Writing. Still paying off the loan but it's helped in so many ways. I'd like to teach one day.

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    1. Teaching is fab! It's hard work and exhausting but rewarding. Thank you for dropping by, Fran.

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  14. I remember dropping a lab when I was an undergraduate. I didn't need it to graduate and as a bio major, I had done plenty of labs already.

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    1. Thanks for commenting, Tamara.

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  15. I've taken many courses on writing and enjoyed them all.

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  16. GREAT acronym! I too am a life long learner and addicted to taking courses - especially online since they are so prevalent and convenient! I want to learn anything and everything, but that is not realistic. These questions certainly help keep me focused and able to make wise decisions.

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    1. It's a pity I didn't enjoy learning throughout school. So what did I do? Became a teacher - LOL! Thanks for popping by.

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  17. You're making me think back, Nicola. I'm not sure I ever quit a course, but I do remember not getting much out of a couple. In fact, I think I took naps during one. I considered it my relax and recoup hour. :-)

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    1. :) I have giggled reading this, Lee. Thank you for visiting.

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  18. funny you should post this - I've been thinking I need to take a course at the local college - not for credit, just to expand horizons. Something different and challenging.

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    1. It's also a good way to meet new people, Joanne. Do let us know what you decide. Thank you for popping by.

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  19. I have been to some workshops lately that weren't really worth my time and money but I blame myself for not asking those questions you provided.

    Susan Says

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    1. That's a shame, Susan. Hope the next course you do is more rewarding.

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  20. It's great that you are still taking courses. It keeps your brain young. I like your advice on choosing classes. SMART is a good acronym to remember.

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  21. I'm with you--I love to learn--picking out my fall courses right now.

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    1. That's great, Melanie. Do let us know what you choose.

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  22. It's been a while since I've taken a course. I certainly don't think I was SMART about it. Usually I just took whatever I was instructed to take for my major. And whatever fit in my schedule!

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    1. As a trainer, I can always tell who has been 'sent' rather than 'chosen' to attend. It generally works out in the end though and the 'senters' get something out of it :)

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  23. I have to take certain courses for my job to keep my financial counsellor status. Right now, I am taking a course about mental health awareness since I see many people who have mental health issues. I have seen the SMART method before and it does work.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by to comment Birgit. Thanks for sharing.

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  24. I haven't taken a course lately but I did take one on Astrobiology a while back which was very interesting.

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  25. Fantastic measuring tools to use when weighing the best course to take for one's current needs. Thanks a bunch!

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  26. learning is surely lifelong process but about courses my experience was not very encouraging

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  27. Yes. In fact, I am in two courses right now. One - learning how to speak Italian and the second is a writing course. I love learning and will continue to be an active learner as long as I live.

    Visiting from the A to Z Blog Challenge.

    Shalom,
    Patricia @ EverythingMustChange

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  28. Your SMART criteria are equally relevant to committing to, and determining, our priorities, and yes, both hands up.

    @cassmob from
    Family History Across The Seas



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